The Shelter of Unitarian-Universalism

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Tom Vandeberg explains why the Northern Shenandoah Valley Pagan Alliance is holding their Pagan Pride event in a UU church.

“Holding the event at the Unitarian church is also a plus, Vendeberg said. “They are able to accept other people’s views,” while the church setting makes people feel more comfortable and “mainstream.” Information booths, vendors, entertainment, Earth-centered ceremonies, and other activities are part of the celebration of the autumnal equinox, a time of thanksgiving in many Pagan traditions.”

While close to 20% of Unitarian-Universalists* identify themselves with some sort of “Earth-Centered” or Pagan spirituality, I question the idea of holding such an event in a UU context. The whole notion of Pagan Pride Day was to expose Paganism in a public setting, to show pride, and hopefully educate a few people in the process. Here is what the Pagan Pride site says about event guidelines.

“Pagan Pride events will be held in a public place…public place means park, town hall, community center, or something similar. The goal is, if at all possible, to locate your event near the public and near foot traffic.”

It could be that this local UU church is indeed often used as a community center, but in my past experience, the only people who come to UU churches are Unitarian-Universalists and their friends. If anything, this is the one time Pagans should perhaps avoid the security UUs provide us and engage the general public.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a member of two Unitarian-Universalist churches and worked as an office manager for a UU campus center before I moved to Milwaukee. I have no problem (generally speaking) with Pagan involvement with UUism.