uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

Inheriting a bold magazine

Share your dreams for Unitarian Universalism and its magazine with me.
By Christopher L. Walton
Winter 2006 11.1.06

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Tom Stites, who edited this magazine for ten years, is a hard act to follow. He was a visionary editor, transforming this magazine into an unmistakably religious expression of Unitarian Universalist values. (The “Reflections” section, for example, was an idea he hatched with contributing editor Rosemary Bray McNatt.) He also launched several bold UUA initiatives, including InterConnections, the newsletter for congregational leaders, and WorshipWeb, the online worship resource center now managed by the UUA’s Lifespan Faith Development staff.

Tom hired me as the WorshipWeb’s first editor as I was completing my master’s degree at Harvard Divinity School in 2000. I joined the UU World staff as a senior editor six months later. I thought I was going to be a UU minister, but my path has led me into religious journalism instead. I may not have to come up with a sermon every week, but I do have to come up with a magazine that interests you and enriches your experience of Unitarian Universalism—and that’s a thrill.

I could say that my own change of course is another example of Tom’s boldness, but I prefer to think that he saw an ideal way for me to put my talents to work in service to our larger religious community. For that, I thank him.

I hope you’ll share your dreams for Unitarian Universalism and its magazine with me. In the coming year, we’ll be asking for your input on new directions UU World might take. What moves and excites you as a Unitarian Universalist? What do you find most inspiring in your congregation? And what solutions do you see for problems that confront liberal religion today? If you’re a writer, please read our Submission Guidelines http://www.uuworld.org/about/submissionsguidelines.shtml. If you love Unitarian Universalism, I want to hear from you.

This issue reflects two unsettling realities. The Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz, who launched this magazine during his UUA presidency twenty years ago, broods on his twelve years at the helm of the human rights group Amnesty International USA. Torture, he says, has changed his views on the “inherent dignity and worth of every person” (page 30; see link in the sidebar). And contributing editor Michelle Bates Deakin returns to the Gulf Coast to see how the $3.6 million given to the UUA-UUSC Gulf Coast Relief Fund is helping marginalized communities rebuild in Mississippi and Louisiana (page 45; see link in the sidebar). Each story shows Unitarian Universalists stepping up to confront profound wrongs.

You’ll also find a new feature in this issue. The number of letters to the editor we get has been slowly dropping in the last year—but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t talking about the magazine. Instead, many of our readers are writing about the magazine on their blogs. So we’ve carved out part of the Letters section to highlight some of the more interesting blog posts about UU World and uuworld.org articles (page 10; see link in the sidebar).

See sidebar for links to related resources.

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