Advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth

News – March 2018

2018 UUWF Justice for Women and Girls Sermon Award Winner

The Justice for Women and Girls Sermon award panel of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation is pleased to announce that the 2018 winner is Clare Fortune-Lad, the Director of Religious Education at the UU Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Her sermon “#Me Too, Now What?” will be delivered at this year’s UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri , as part of a program “Women are Called to Preach.”

In addition to Clare Fortune-Lad’s sermon and the awarding of a $500 prize, there will be an interactive dialogue on ways that “all are called” (the theme of this year’s GA) to build a movement for gender equity through a spiritually-sustaining lens.

This program is scheduled for 11:15 AM-12:15 PM on Friday, June 22.

“It was such an honor to receive the UUWF Sermon Award,” Fortune-Lad says. “It will be gratifying to spread this message to so many more folks from across the country.”

It will be her first GA.

This is Clare’s second year with the Haverhill UU congregation and she has been energized by her work expanding the OWL program and engaging in racial and immigration faith federation work “for young and old alike.”

Clare was a leader in helping her family to decide to join the Sanford, Maine UU congregation when she was three years old, and was an active member there until her recent move to Massachusetts.

Clare worked for many years as a community educator at a Domestic Violence Center in Southern Maine. She earned her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver with a concentration in Gender-Based violence.

The 2018 sermon award judges were UU ministers Beth Dana, Marti Keller and Theresa Ines Soto; director of music Amber Fetner; past UUWF Board president Kirstie Lewis, and congregational leader and social justice activist Debra Greenwood.

The UUWF sermon award is a project of the New Prophetic Sisterhood UU (NPSUU), a network of UU woman-identified religious professionals who covenant to affirm and promote justice and equity for women and girls, and to lift up diverse feminisms through awareness building and public witness.

#TimesUpWendys – Mobilization Against Gender Violence in the Fields

In the last few months, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have exploded across the United States and around the world, bringing attention to the sexual harassment and violence that has been concealed behind closed doors. Voices that were once only whispers have been amplified and in unison, women have mobilized together, shouting across rooftops, that they will no longer allow these abuses and violations to continue.

One powerful group of organizers that have also been reclaiming their voices are the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Based out of Immokalee, Florida, the CIW is a self-described, “worker-based human rights organization” that has been “internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence,” directly impacted the lives of farmworkers for over 20 years.

Most recently, the CIW has been working on a program, the Fair Food Program (FFP) in Florida to end sexual harassment for farmworker women who have endured sexual violence in the fields. Through this program, the CIW was able to “put an end to sexual harassment and assault for tens of thousands of workers by harnessing the purchasing power of more than a dozen of the world’s fast largest retail food companies, including all of the major fast-food brands.”

Despite these great victories, Wendy’s remains one company that has refused to be part of the FFP and continues to honor the human rights of farmworkers, by shifting its Floridian tomato suppliers and purchases to Mexico. For this reason, the CIW is leading a massive campaign and mobilization from March 11-15th, the Freedom Fast: Breaking Our Silence to Stop Sexual Violence in the Fields. In New York City, on March 15th, farmworkers will participate in the #TimesUpWendys March for justice, asking for an end to the sexual violence experienced by women farmworkers in the field.

Given our mission to advance justice for women and girls, the UUWF has decided to help amplify this powerful event led by the women who are directly impacted by these grave women’s rights violations. In order to support to directly support, we ask you to consider the following actions:

  • Learn more about this movement and take direct action, by visiting:
  • Share this information with your own congregation, organization, school, or workplace
  • If you live in New York City, join the march on March 15th at 5pm, starting from Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.
  • Donate directly to help sustain the campaign:

UUWF Justice and Advocacy

Our mission includes advocating for women and girls. We do this through adding our name and our voice to statements, letters, legal briefs and other acts of public witness. We do this as the organization of UU women in this country and we do it to model for UU congregations and groups of women within them, the ways in which they can amplify the call for gender justice and equity.

Recent actions:

On February 20, under the auspices of the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition and the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, we signed on to a letter to Congress “expressing our deep concern about proposals to undermine Americans’ basic living standards” by imposing working requirements on essential anti-poverty programs. These programs: Medicaid, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and housing vouchers assist millions of Americans on the path to self sufficiency.

“Onerous requirements,” the letter declared, “would only create barriers for America’s most vulnerable to receiving medical treatment, nutritious meals and living in safe homes. Among those impacted would be millions of women and their children.

“While our religious traditions and practices vary enormously, we are united in the dignity of every human being.”

On February 27, we joined Planned Parenthood Federation of America and more than 85 faith based and secular organizations in a letter to the US House and Senate Appropriations committees  to  “strongly oppose attaching ‘ideological policy riders’ to ongoing funding resolutions. These attachments to appropriation bills have been used by opponents to comprehensive, accessible women’s health programs include :

  • Sweeping new religious refusal  language allowing employers, insurers and health care providers to deny others’ access to abortion.
  • A rider blocking patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
  • A provision to block ongoing and potentially life-saving research involving fetal tissue.
  • A provision barring all multi-state plans under the Affordable Health Care Act from covering abortion.

We also oppose the “draconian and ideologically driven funding cuts” proposed in bills passed by the House Appropriations Committee, including to the Title X family planning program, the Teen Pregnancy prevention program, and international family planning and reproductive health initiatives.

Positions Open on UUWF Board

Two positions on the UUWF Board will be open as of June, the VP of Communications and the VP for Funding Programs. The UUWF Board of Trustees is a dynamic, committed group of people. We meet in person twice a year, and attend General Assembly.

Think about joining! And share this link with people who might be interested:





General Assembly Events

Here’s the list of events UUWF and UUW&R will be sponsoring at General Assembly in Kansas City, MO. Stay tuned to our GA page for more details!

UUWF Annual breakfast
Thursday 6/21/2018 – 7:15:00 AM – 8:30:00 AM
Crowne Plaza — Salon B

UUW&R breakfast
Friday 6/22/2018 – 7:15:00 AM – 8:45:00 AM
Marriott — Truman A

UUWF/New Prophetic Sisterhood Sermon Award Winner
Friday 6/22/2018 – 11:15 AM-12:15 PM
Location TBA

Workshop co-sponsored with IWC: #Me Too: Called to Challenge Systemic Patriarchy
Time and location TBA

Report to the General Assembly (time TBA)

Exhibit Hall Booth: Information, UU womxns bookstore, and The Red Tent!

Also, keep your ears peeled for an announcement about a fall gathering of representatives of UU women’s organizations.

2018 General Assembly Booth Staffing Opportunity

As part of our work, the UUWF is committed to presenting engaging and empowering workshops and programs each year at the UUA General Assembly. In 2018, the UUWF is dedicated to making the UUA a more accessible experience for all individuals, in particular individuals who identify as women and/or women of color. For this reason, the UUWF is offering a limited number of small stipends for three individuals to help offset the costs of attending General Assembly in return for their support of the UUWF during the week.

Expectations: Each year, the UUWF hosts a booth at General Assembly in the Exhibit Hall as a way to share information on the UUWF’s work and cultivate new members for the organization. Over the course of GA, the selected candidate will be expected to staff the booth for approximately ten hours, in shifts of at least three hours. The preference would be for a candidate to help set up on the Wednesday morning of General Assembly and/or dismantle the booth on Sunday morning. Each candidate will receive support and a brief training in order to support their work within the booth. Each candidate will be awarded a stipend of $150 for their ten hours of service, upon completion of their work at General Assembly. Please fill out an APPLICATION and email it to by May 1.

New Clara Barton Sisterhood Honorees

Honored recently are Peggy Montgomery and Maureen Marwick by Women’s Alliance of All Souls Unitarian Church, Inc in New York City. You can read their stories and learn how to honor a woman over 80 in your congregation, on our Clara Barton Sisterhood page:

UU Women and Religion News

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven Curriculum Facilitator Resources

In response to a recent request, UUW&R has added downloadable graphics, sample newsletter text, and flyer templates to be used to publicize Cakes classes in your congregation. Revised in 2007-8, this groundbreaking curriculum has been going strong for 30+ years!

Featured Gatherings: UU Women’s Connection Retreat – Pilgrim Park IL

We’re getting all sorts of excited about our keynote speaker, Carley Mattimore! Carley’s keynote will be “Awakening Shamanic Consciousness: A New Birth.” Carley teaches shamanic breathwork. She is a reiki master. How best to honor our element of Air than with Carley who will share with us her knowledge of becoming an important part of this element.

Our element for the Spring Retreat will be Air and the direction honored will be East. Registration information is found on page 5 of Voice of Women Newsletter 2018 Spring and at

UU Women’s Connection holds three retreats each year, in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. – Janet Adams

Pacific Central Women & Religion 2018 Retreat

Our 2018 Retreat was a great success with about 55 women attending. We had a variety of workshops and opportunities to share with each other, both ideas and some of our belongings through the silent auction and book swap.

Workshops included a me too circle where women could share their experiences without interruption or comment. Often it is good to just have someone to listen.

We held a discussion on how language impacts our lives, including the use of “guys” and “girls.” Also violent language, like deadline, cut-off, etc.

We honored the work of Allan Johnson, inspiration for the curriculum Unraveling the Gender Knot. Allan passed away in December 2017.

This was our 40th year – established shortly after the Resolution passed and was originally titled Women & Religion Task Force. There have been more than 40 retreats, though, as we used to gather twice a year. Women traveled from places as far as Eureka and Gilroy – about 350 miles apart!

There was also fun – these are the collected mandalas created. – Geri Kennedy

From the Archives:

Geri Kennedy sent us some more of Rosemary Matson’s W&R archives. There is A 1979 booklet on Recommendations for Implementation of the 1977 General Assembly Women and Religion Resolution. It was so intriguing, we scanned it right away so we could share it. Read the PDF.

What’s in *your* basement? Any old UU W&R or UUWF materials gathering dust? Let us know,

Leaping From Our Spheres

Rev. Marti KellerDon’t miss the “little gems full of both passion and facts” in the Blog of UUWF’s Affiliated Minister, Rev. Marti Keller.

UUWF’s Affiliated Ministry