Rev. Peter Morales on the Connecticut school shootings

Rev. Peter Morales

Rev. Peter Morales

The Reverend Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, issued the following statement earlier today in response to the day’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut:

I am shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. My deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives today. I know of nothing more tragic than a young life cut short by violence. This is a time for embracing one another and helping each other find strength and solace.

This is just the latest horrific act of gun violence targeting innocent lives. Whether it’s the mall shooting in Oregon or the mass murders in Aurora, Colorado or the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Arizona or the Columbine school killings, these instances of violence continue to erupt in America. It is an additional tragedy that today’s killings occurred in an elementary school where our youngest and most vulnerable spend their day. All Americans must reflect humbly and work to change the conditions that allow such violence to take place.

We must rededicate ourselves to creating a society where differences are resolved without violence, where the mentally unstable do not have ready access to lethal force, where violence is not glorified, and where we can live, love, and work in safe places. Our task as a religious people committed to compassion and to peace is to show a better way.

UUs launch relief effort for Haiti

In the wake of devastation wrought by the earthquake that struck the island of Haiti on January 12, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association are launching a joint relief effort to bring aid to the impoverished island nation.

The Haitian Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance estimates 2.2 million people are immediately affected in this nation of 9 million people.

For more information, click here. Please contribute by clicking here.

Association Sunday

The theme of our October 4 service is Association Sunday, a day when churches throughout our denomination reflect on the greater Unitarian Universalist movement and contribute to the Unitarian Universalist Association.

In keeping with that, our minister, the Reverend Frieda Gillespie, will speak on the topic of “A Hidden Wealth.”

Three offshoots of the UUA that have a lot to offer to inspire, educate, and motivate us and our children to effective social action and liberal religious practices are the Church of the Larger Fellowship, the UU Service Committee, and the Tapestry of Faith programs. We will share the plate with the UUA.

The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by coffee and fellowship at about 11:30. Religious-education classes are offered, child care is available, and visitors are always welcome.

Forrest Church, 1948-2009

Rev. Forrest Church

Rev. Forrest Church

The Reverend Forrest Church, one of the best-known Unitarian Universalist ministers, died on Thursday at the age of 61. Reverend Church, who led the Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan, was a prolific author and a compassionate voice.

During his terminal illness, he continued to write and speak, publishing Love and Death: My Journey Through the Valley of the Shadow, in 2008.

Some resources on Reverend Church’s life and work:

Watch the UUA General Assembly

General Assembly, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual denominational meeting, is taking place in Salt Lake City right now.

There will be worship services, musical performances, workshops, award-winning sermons, the vote for the UUA president, study/action issues and much more.

Twenty-five hours of live, streaming video will be broadcast, and is happening right now.  Click here to start watching. Links to past video will be posted so that you needn’t watch it live.

This is a great way to participate if you aren’t able to be there. See our democratic process in action and experience the many ways you can learn or be inspired. It’s almost as good as being there.

Condolences for Knoxville UUs

The Unitarian Universalist Association has set up a blog so that visitors can offer their condolences to the UUs of Knoxville, Tennessee, following Sunday’s shooting at a local UU church. The blog, titled “Supporting Our Friends in Knoxville,” offers a way “to express love and support for members and friends of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and the Westside Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.” (Via Philocrites.)