UU Faith in Action: Prominent UU Women in the Struggle for Universal Suffrage

We Unitarian Universalists should be gratified and motivated by our heritage of leadership in social, economic, cultural and political reform. Speaking truth to power and challenging inequality and injustice is in our DNA, a core feature of our liberal religious faith and spiritual practice. This essential feature of our identity manifested itself widely and deeply in the struggle for universal suffrage, a struggle culminating in the passage in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that accorded women in the United States the right to vote. On this first Sunday of Women’s History Month, in this the centennial year of the Amendment’s ratification, we’ll honor some prominent UU women leaders of the Suffrage Movement, among them Mary Wollstonecraft, Judith Sargent, Margaret Fuller, Lucy Stone, Mary Livermore, Julia Ward Howe, and Rev. Olympia Brown. Their work on behalf of human rights in general, and women’s rights in particular, was firmly grounded in a faith which held, as its highest ideal, the liberation of the human spirit from narrow thought, lifeless creed, and social codes that fail to serve human needs, including the deeply experienced need for self-determination and spiritual fulfillment.

Using Your Voice to Ignite Change

As one of only 15 women in the 50-member Pennsylvania State Senate, as the only state senator who does not accept corporate or special interest donation dollars, as a working class/non-traditional elected official, and as a rape survivor representing all survivors in the PA General Assembly, newly elected state senator Katie Muth will share her insight on using her story, and the story of others, to ignite change. She will discuss the moral obligations she believes are imperative to public service and how the legislative efforts of our government need to become people-centered instead of profit-or special interest-centered. Senator Muth will share insight on how we must unify to “fight the good fight,” even if we can’t be certain of victory, and how empowering others to join this fight for human dignity and fairness is imperative to every member of our society. 

Wisdom of the Body

When we listen to our own thoughts about our body, we recognize that we live with attitudes we’ve absorbed, some from our culture, some from our religious traditions. One of these attitudes is that our body is separate from our spirituality. What if we came … read more.

Retelling the Story of Rev. Lydia Jenkins

For the past several years, Reverend Dr. Barbara Coeyman has been researching and writing a biography of Lydia Jenkins.  Jenkins, a Universalist minister ordained three years before Olympia Brown, is generally accepted as our first woman minister, not only in Universalism but in all American … read more.

The Enduring Wisdom of Louisa May Alcott and Her Unitarian Connection

Many of us have become reacquainted with Louisa May Alcott through the recent remake of a film based on her classic book, Little Women. Alcott’s father was Bronson Alcott, “ a painfully idealistic Unitarian educator and activist.”  Louisa May Alcott, as the film demonstrates, has some timeless wisdom to offer our contemporary lives. For example: “Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us—and those around us—more effectively. Look for the learning.” In this service, we will have a conversation with her: soul to soul.