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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This week at Seminaries' funding cut.

Kimberly French tells the story of the Women and Religion Resolution, which transformed the Unitarian Universalist Association thirty years ago.

In the news, Tom Stites reports that the UUA Board of Trustees approved 10 percent funding cuts to the two UUA-affiliated seminaries last week and launched an 18-month process to set a strategy for funding excellence in the ministry. (The Panel on Theological Education's proposal [pdf] will zero out the direct grants to Meadville Lombard and Starr King over the next three years.)

In other news, Michelle Deakin profiles new UUA treasurer and vice president of finance Tim Brennan, who is a vigorous proponent of socially responsible investing. Jane Greer tracks Unitarian Universalists in the media and Tom Stites files updates from the plenary sessions at the UUA General Assembly for's blogs.

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 26 June 2007 at 9:25 AM

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Next: UU Christian 'Revival' features John Dominic Crossan.




Rev Daniel:

June 27, 2007 10:49 PM | Permalink for this comment

Some the reportage referenced is a bit skewed in a fundamental way.

For example, it is more accurate to say that the feminist movement affected the women's movement in our congregations rather than the other way around.

It was feminism in the mainstream culture that led to the interest and acceptance of women ministers more than the 'Women in Religion Committee' or the UUWF.

It was feminism in the mainstream culture that got more women interested in ministry, which has led to the majority status of women in our UU ministry, and has increased the number and percentage of women ministers in mainline Protestant traditions.

Also, when it was reported on a minister's chat list several years ago that the UUWF had "invented" water communion, chalice lighting, sharing of joys & concerns, and a few other things, several ministers-- including me-- related as to how youth gatherings had previous instances of these same rituals, years in advance of this 'discovery.'

The claim that "Women and Religion" invented these things one day at a conference is simply not true.

I am not trying to say that the women's movement in our Association is not important. Quite the contrary. Women in Religion have traditionally led the way-- since the 19th century-- in bringing important social issues to the forefront of denominational concerns. There is no doubt about that.

I am a little concerned though, about the traditional habit of claiming authorship and ownership of ritual and processes that have a more interesting and organic authorship than the assumed dogma sometimes suggested.

(Rev) Dr. Daniel OConnell
Lead Minister, Eliot Unitarian Chapel
St. Louis, Missouri
President, Central Midwest District of the UUA
ex-UUYAN, ex-LRY

One of the most visible changes spawned by the Women and Religion movement has been the rapid increase in women UU ministers—from about 5 percent in 1977 to about 50 percent today. That trend is expected to escalate, as 70 percent of UU retired ministers are men and 75 percent of those preparing for fellowship are women.

Along with more women in the pulpit, feminist theology has reshaped the tone of both UU worship and religious education. Many of the new worship forms designed by Women and Religion groups—such as the water ceremony, chalice lighting, and sharing of joys and sorrows—have been so wholly embraced by churches that UUs are often surprised to discover their relatively recent, and feminist, origins.


June 28, 2007 08:39 AM | Permalink for this comment

Sounds like a letter to the editor! Please send a copy to


August 17, 2007 08:02 AM | Permalink for this comment

Meadville Lombard President Lee Barker writes to the school's supporters about the Panel on Theological Education's recommended funding cuts to the two UU seminaries:

While I was at GA, I was approached by many people who wondered what this might mean for Meadville Lombard. Although I can’t say I know how this will unfold, at Meadville Lombard we will be concentrating our energies on our future. The recommendations of the Panel on Theological Education are, I think, consistent with how our school is working to create a theological school that is focused on excellence in ministerial formation as well as in offering opportunities for lay leaders and ordained ministers to broaden and deepen their own theological education.

("From Lee,", Summer 2007)

Starr King President Rebecca Parker's letter to her school's supporters, released prior to GA, is quoted in the news story; you can find her letter in the June Starr King Journal (second item).


October 11, 2007 06:45 AM | Permalink for this comment

Trustee Linda Laskowski writes at her blog about a conversation with Rebecca Parker, president of the Starr King Theological School for the Ministry, about the funding cuts the board and its Panel on Theological Education are enacting on Starr King and Meadville Lombard.

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