Religious Exploration


RE Outdoors to return September 24th at the Keene International Festival!

One of the best ideas from COVID times, (that Jill began but I hope will continue),  is RE Outdoors. As one KUUC mom recently put it, “that was how my family first got to learn about the church, and get to know people when my kids were too young to attend services [due to the lack of approved vaccinations for young children].

So, why don’t we make a plan to meet at the church at 11 A.M. on Saturday, September 24th and walk up together to Fuller Park and enjoy the Keene International Festival as a group. The fest itself lasts from 11 A.M.-3 P.M. so lets plan to attend as group from 11-1 and individual families can choose to stay longer if they wish. Contact Rev. Michael if you plan to attend.

DRE Search:

Our plans for the DRE search have needed to be adjusted due to summer and other unforeseen things. As reported last month, Rev. Michael is now placing ads in various publications, Facebook groups and e-lists to prepare for interviews that will be held in September & October [or last until we find the right candidate for the position, given what we have to offer]. It is our hope to have a candidate in place and ready to begin training by mid-October, so that they can begin taken on their full responsibilities in November. If you know of anyone that would make a good DRE, or if you were interested in the position itself, (the DRE is the only staff position that is open to current church members), please contact Rev. Michael (508) 821-6092 or .

UU History – Explore More!

During the August 9, 2021 worship service, I shared the episode in UU History that is often called “the Empowerment Controversy.” I learned about this period, roughly 1967-1970, during the online Unitarian Universalist History course I took this summer. Here is a list of resources I used while preparing this service. When available, links to purchase through inSpirit, the UUA’s bookstore, are provided. Starred works are required texts for the course and are easy to read, informative and highly recommended.

** Morrison-Reed, Mark. Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism. Skinner House Books, 2011.

Morrison-Reed, Mark and Jacqui James, editors. Been in the Storm So Long. Skinner House Books, 1991.

Carpenter, Victor H. Long Challenge: The Empowerment Controversy (1967-1977). Meadville Lombard Theological School Press, 2003.

Morrison-Reed, Mark. Black Pioneers in a White Congregation. 3rd ed., Skinner House Books, 1994.

Ross, Warren R. The Premise and The Promise: The Story of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Skinner House Books, 2001.

** Peterson, Polly. Stirring the Nation’s Heart: Eighteen Stories of Prophetic Unitarians and Universalists of the Nineteenth Century. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2010.

** Peterson, Polly and Gail Forsyth-Vail. Missionaries, Builders, and Pathfinders: Unitarian and Universalist Stories from the Midwest, West, and South, 1830-1930. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2014.

As I mentioned in my reflection, to me an essential take-away about the Empowerment Controversy is that Unitarian Universalists keep trying to improve. Tangible proof is the recently released volume (also available in its entirety online) Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2020.  From the back cover: This report “represents the culmination of the Commission’s work analyzing structural and systemic racism and white supremacy culture within Unitarian Universalism and makes recommendations to advance long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism.”

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU)

Click the link above to go to the home page for BLUU, an organization “committed to: expanding the power and capacity of Black UUs within our faith; providing support, information & resources for Black Unitarian Universalists; justice making and liberation through our faith.” (from BLUU’s home page). Click here to go to the donate page.

Resources for talking about race in your family

This blog post by “strivingshannon” cites a recent survey that only 6% of well-meaning white parents talk to their kids about race “often”. The author lists the top 5 reasons (from her work with parents in Atlanta) why this is so. Among the reasons she listed the one that resonates most with me is “fear of getting it wrong.” Her response to this is “you will.” Which is why we need to keep educating ourselves, growing in our understanding, recommitting to the work, and trying again. I encourage you to read her whole post. Here are some resources from the UUA and BLUU (Black Lives of UU) to help you educate yourself, recommit to the work, and talk to your kids.

2015 article, Talk about Race: Starting the Conversation, by Aisha Hauser, MSW and long-time religious educator.

Race, Class and other Complexities resource list, from the “Growing Young Justice-Makers” section of the UUA website.

Family Discussion Suggestions: Identity and Race

Our Whole Lives

Our Whole Lives (O.W.L.) is the values-based lifespan sexuality education curricula developed jointly by the UUA and UCC (United Church of Christ)*. In recent years KUUC has offered the segment designed for youth in grades 7-9 (or homeschool equivalent) in alternate years and so that means we probably won’t offer that curriculum until 23-24. In the meantime, we will also need to get some new facilitators trained up—which is in itself a two-day commitment.

Participant meetings are traditionally held on Sunday afternoons; the actual schedule is flexible and will be determined with input from the facilitators.

Description from the UUA website: “Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.” ( If you feel called to serve your community by facilitating this program, please contact Rev Michael, or Barbara Bryce (RE Committee chair). If you’d like more information before deciding, please check out the UUA O.W.L. info page.

For the time being, please contact Rev. Michael ()  with questions, for more information or to be added to the preliminary registration list. This class fills quickly.

*while the program was developed by two religious denominations, the curriculum is secular – no doctrine or dogma is included, just honest, factual information and the core values of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility and justice and inclusivity.



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