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New UUA logo

New UUA logo part of outreach effort

Logo is first step in a broader initiative to promote Unitarian Universalism.       new UUA logo
By Donald E. Skinner

A new logo for the Unitarian Universalist Association is only part of an initiative to help congregations reach out to the millennial generation and others who are unchurched.

The Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, the UUA’s Program and Strategy Officer, said the new initiative developed out of a growing realization that the UUA and its congregations have been sending “inconsistent” messages about Unitarian Universalism into the larger world.

“We have not been very good about speaking to people who don’t know anything about Unitarian Universalism,” said Cooley. “We’ve never come up with a succinct way to share our faith.”

“We want congregations to think about the messages their congregations are sending out to the world that doesn’t know anything about them,” she added. “That includes thinking about how their building looks to guests, the structure of their services, their programs, whether they’re inward-oriented or serving the community, and what their online presence is like.”

A study guide will help congregations explore how they present themselves to the larger world. Cooley said individuals can use the study guide to think about their relationships to Unitarian Universalism and to become more fluent in explaining it.

This spring, the UUA is introducing its new logo, which congregations may also use. UUA.org is being redesigned to focus more on religious seekers. And the UUA is developing other resources for congregations, regional groups, and the national association to use. This effort is about much more than a new logo and a new look for the website, Cooley said. “We have to figure out how we live out this faith of ours, not just how to sell it. We need to get clearer about the ways the culture is changing and the ways we serve that culture.”

The UUA hired Proverb, a brand development company, last year. “We asked them not simply to design a new logo for us, but to help us look at ourselves differently,” Cooley said. The consultants, who researched the UUA’s image in the larger community, found that the UUA is known for progressive and inclusive behavior. At the same time, non-UUs found it hard to differentiate from other religions because of its Protestant-style worship, unclear messaging, aging membership, lack of clarity about beliefs, and a lack of consistency in congregations.

“We’re trying to reach a generation of people who are not coming out of religious backgrounds,” Cooley said. “They have no pattern of church and they have many other choices on Sunday morning besides church. We have to get really clear on what we have to offer.”

She emphasized that the UUA, while focusing on millennials, will not overlook others. “We’re not turning our backs on people already in congregations, or people over fifty. We’re speaking to everyone.”

A Holiday Message from UUA President Rev. Peter Morales

Peter(Video) http://www.uua.org/news/pressroom/pressreleases/292414.shtml

Almost 40 years ago, when I was teaching in northern Spain, my wife, our small son and I took a trip to Andalucia during the university Christmas vacation. Our son, because of a medical condition, needed to have a stroller. While in Granada, the stroller broke and needed to be welded.

Here we were, two young adults in a strange city over the holidays needing to get a stroller repaired. I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t even know the Spanish word for “weld.”

I saw a policeman at a corner and decided to give him a try. I explained what I needed as best I could and showed him the stroller. He was polite, but he had no idea where I could get it fixed. A bystander overheard our conversation. He interrupted and said that he thought he knew where I could get the stroller repaired.

He asked me to follow him. We walked a couple of blocks and descended into an underground garage that had a repair shop. He was a regular customer there and knew the staff. He explained to them what I needed. They had welding equipment there.

The fellow at the shop took a quick look and said that he could not do it because the stroller was aluminum and it needed special welding equipment. He referred us to a shop several miles away in an industrial park. The man who had taken me to the garage without hesitation offered to drive me there. We jumped in his car and drove to the metal shop.

A man at the shop took a look and said that yes, he could repair it. He dropped the project he was working on and welded the aluminum so that it was stronger than new. He would accept no payment. The middle aged Spanish Christmas angel then drove me and the stroller back to our hotel. A couple of hours had passed since he overheard me talking to the policeman.

I have no idea what we would have done without his help. He could not have helped more had he been a supernatural angel of mercy. When I thanked him profusely, he dismissed my thanks by saying he was certain I would have done the same for him in my country. I want to believe he was right. And I wonder how many times I have not helped simply because I was preoccupied by my own concerns and not paying attention.

The holidays are typically time for family and friends. They are a time of feasting, reunion and celebration. We gather with those we love. During the holidays we cherish precious memories and create new ones.

The holiday season is also a time of generosity, a time when traditionally we take special collections to help others in our community. We act out of love for those we may not even know.

Love, the deep compassion that all faith traditions teach and nurture, is not just for our family and friends. A deep religious love is not limited to an inner circle. And this love is also not passive. Love reaches out. Love acts. Love is aware.

The man who helped me and my family in Granada could easily have ignored my plight. I would have never known. He could have chosen to mind his own business. He could have given up when the first shop could not fix the problem. Instead, he reached out to a stranger. He continued to help until the problem was resolved.

Just imagine how many people around us need a simple act of kindness. Imagine the difference we might make in another’s life.

May each of us delight in the company of family and friends this holiday season.

May each of us open our awareness and open our hearts to opportunities to act out of compassion. May each of us find time to be a little miracle in someone’s life.

May this be a holiday season filled with blessings.

En Español

Hace ya casi 40 años, cuando yo estaba dando clases en España, mi esposa, nuestro pequeño hijo y yo viajamos a Andalucia durante las vacaciones navideñas de la universidad. Nuestro hijo necesitaba una carreola debido a una condición médica. Mientras estábamos en Granada, la carreola se rompió y necesitábamos que alguien la soldara.

Ahí estábamos, dos adultos jóvenes en medio de una ciudad extraña durante las fiestas, necesitando  componer una carreola. No sabía ni por donde comenzar. Ni siquiera conocía la palabra “soldar” en español.

Ví a un policía en la esquina y decidí preguntarle. Le expliqué lo que necesitaba lo mejor que pude y le enseñé la carreola. Él fue muy cortés pero no tenía la menor idea de donde la podíamos llevar a componer. Otra persona alcanzó a oir la conversación, nos interrumpió y nos dijo que creía saber donde la podrían componer.

Me pidió que lo siguiera. Caminamos un par de cuadras y descendió hacia un garage subterráneo que tenía un taller. Él era un cliente regular de ahí y ya conocía a los trabajadores. Les explicó lo que yo necesitaba. Tenían equipo de soldadura ahí.
El encargado le echó un vistazo y dijo que no podía hacerlo porque la carreola era de aluminio y necesitaría equipo especial de soldar. Nos refirió con otro taller a varias millas de distancia en un parque industrial. El hombre que me llevó a ese taller, sin dudarlo ni un instante, ofreció llevarme para allá. Brinqué en su coche y nos fuimos al taller de metales.

El encargado vio la carreola y dijo que sí, que sí podía componerla. Dejó de trabajar en el proyecto que estaba haciendo y soldó el aluminio de manera que quedó mejor que nuevo. Se rehusó a recibir pago. El ángel cuarentón de mi Navidad Española entonces me llevó a mí y a la carreola de regreso al hotel. Habían pasado un par de horas desde que me escuchó hablando con el policía.

No sé que hubiera hecho sin su ayuda. No podía haberme ayudado más si hubiera sido un ángel de misericordia sobrenatural. Cuando le dí las gracias profusamente, las descartó diciendo que estaba seguro que yo hubiera hecho lo mismo por él en mi pais. Quiero creer que estaba en lo correcto. Me pregunto cuantas veces no he ayudado, simplemente porque estaba demasiado ocupado con mis propios asuntos y no estaba poniendo atención.

Los días de fiesta típicamente son para amigos y familiares. Son un tiempo de festejar, de reuniones y de celebración. Nos reunimos con nuestros seres queridos. Durante los días de fiesta recordamos memorias inapreciables y creamos nuevas.

La temporada de fiestas también es temporada de generosidad, un tiempo en el que tradicionalmente hacemos colectas para ayudar a otros en nuestra comunidad. Actuamos con Amor hacia quienes ni siquiera conocemos.

El Amor, esa compasión profunda que todas las tradiciones de fe enseñan y fomentan, no es solamente para nuestros amigos y familiares. Un Amor religioso profundo no está limitado a un círculo pequeño. Y este amor no es pasivo. El amor se extiende. El Amor actúa. El Amor es conciente.

El hombre que me ayudó a mí y a mi familia en Granada bien podía haber ignorado mi dilema y yo nunca me hubiera enterado. Podría haber elegido preocuparse por sus propias cosas. Podía haberse rendido cuando el primer taller no pudo arreglar el problema. En lugar de eso, se acercó a un extraño. Continuó ayudando hasta que el problema quedó resuelto.

Imagínense cuantas personas a nuestro alrededor necesitan un acto de gentileza. Imaginen la diferencia que podemos hacer en la vida de otra persona.

Que disfrutemos la compañía de nuestros seres queridos en esta temporada festiva.

Que cada uno de nosotros se concientize y abra su corazón a las oportunidades de actuar con compasión.

Que cada uno de nosotros encuentre el tiempo para ser el pequeño milagro en la vida de alguien.

Que esta temporada de fiestas esté llena de bendiciones.

The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela

PeterThe Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued the following statement on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela:

“As we begin to grieve the death of Nelson Mandela, I am reminded of his words, ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’

As members of a faith community committed to equity and justice, we remember the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. He shines as an example of how one person can change the world and make it a better place.

Today and every day let us face our own fears of the unknown and the misunderstood. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words so that we may embrace that fear, conquer it, be courageous, and change the world.”

LAST CALL: Join Youth Caucus Staff

Youth_Caucus_GA_14You can be a leader at GA 2014.

In October, we let you know that applications were open for a variety of Youth Caucus Staff positions, for both youth and adults.
Applications close on December 1, so we wanted to remind you of the opportunity and to get your applications in. Youth Caucus Staff is a fabulous opportunity to meet new people, develop your leadership skills, and attend General Assembly for free.
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