Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where are the UU saints?

One of the reasons that Unitarian Universalism is such a small denomination is because there is nothing in it to catch the imagination of the common folk.

The Roman Catholic church has all its Saints. They are a wonderful panoply of people to imagine, pray to, call upon for wisdom, example, support.

I think the UUA should start a liturgical calendar which has a celebration every day of the year in memory of a great Unitarian Universalist or an important event.

God knows we have plenty of our forebearers who it is easy to look up to and draw wisdom from such as Susan B. Anthony, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Olympia Brown, and Boston Unitarian regularly features sermons and writings of inspiring preachers of the past.

Unitarian Uiversalists with our tradition of drawing from many sources would have even more great human beings to celebrate and emulate. Last week Boston Unitarian had some clips from sermons by Nathan Parker. It was good stuff. It made me think.

I don't think Unitarian Universalists would feel comfortable with the word "Saints" attached to these people, but maybe they would. I have been using the word "Luminary" instead thinking it might be more acceptable to people. A Luminary is a bright light, a shining example of people we might want to celebrate and emulate. They are good people who have lead the way and continue to lead the way in their example. There values, beliefs, and actions are kept alive in the stories we tell about their lives.

Can't you see a bobble head of Susan B. on the dash board of your car? How about a relic of some fabric of a dress she wore encased in a suitable monstrance for remembrance?

One of the practices and traditions of the Catholic Church which I treasure and miss is the celebration of the saints. I don't think it is hard to import this practice into Unitarian Universalism.

The UUA needs to construct a liturgical calendar of UU celebrated saints and events. It would even be nice to have some of our own Holy Days and observances. Flower communion is a start.

This is article #5 on UURC.


  1. I rather agree with you David, but it seems that there might be a lot of people who would be resistant to what they might regard as "idolatry" - what with having relics and all.

    Would there also be martyrs in this calendar you propose? People who died for some kind of spiritually liberal cause?

    Just askin'

  2. Oh, and PS: Some UU churches have "gone pagan" and some of them use, as their liturgical calendar, the pagan or Wiccan Wheel of the Year, which involves the eight holy tides of:

    Yule (Christmas)
    Imbolc (early Feb)
    Ostara (Spring)
    May Day
    Loafmas (early Aug)
    Harvest Home

    Just sayin'

  3. Dear Tracie:

    Absolutely there would be martyrs people like Francis David, and Viola Liuzzo and James Reeb and I am sure there are others.

    Also, I think the inclusion of Wiccan and Pagan festivals and people is very desirable.

    At our newly formed Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship we have just started talking about the possibility of forming "affinity groups" and the two which have been suggested so far is the Unitarian Univeralist Roman Catholic, and the Unitarian Universalist Wiccan/Pagan. I don't think that the Unitarian Universalist Jews, and the Unitarian Universalist Buddhists will be far behind. We of course would welcom Unitarian Universalist Muslims, and Unitarian Univeraists Hindus, and Unitarian Universalist Humanists/Atheist, and of course just good ole fashion cradle born Unitarian Universalists and other mainline Protestants.

    The Unitarian Universalist is a big and inclusive church. Plenty of room for everyone.

    At our last Steering Committee meeting on 02/19/10 one of BUUF's steering committee members mentioned that she celebrated Imbolc.

    I want to learn more.

    All the best,

    David Markham

  4. Everyday a celebration of something or someone. Wouldn't that be fun?


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