the OUUC spark

February 9, 2023

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Advocacy as Faith in Action - Rev. Sara Lewis

We are currently in the midst of a legislative session of the state legislature, so there are many opportunities for us all to engage in advocacy at the state level right now. Advocacy is one of the main strategies we think of for faith in action, along with direct service and education. Being an advocate means to “publicly support”, so advocacy is a matter of publicly supporting actions in alignment with our values. And it is easier than you might think to find out about actions and advocate for them. In fact, easier than ever before.

Here is a story from Connie Ruhl:

In 1971, as a new member of the Olympia League of Woman Voters I became aware of the process for public to provide input to the Legislature during session. The process was time consuming, cumbersome and often required daily trips to the Capitol Building Bill Room for up to date information. Somewhat later a phone system was staffed by trained operators able to provide some of that information to callers. Few members of the public had the time or easy access for such focused activity. Some did. Notable among them was one of this congregations founding members, Gladys Burns.

Trained as a social worker, she never worked for pay one day of her life. She was a citizen activist. Gladys and her husband, Bart, shared Unitarian Universalist values and were dedicated to the welfare of their community. As she carried out the tasks of motherhood and house holding she also put on her 1 inch high heels, straight skirt, blouse and jacket and headed to the Capitol daily during the Legislative Session, tracking, testifying and reporting out to many others who were not in the position to do this work.

Gladys Burns

Gladys Burns

Now, you and I can influence legislative action with the tap of a few buttons on our computer keyboard. Do so and know that you are standing on the shoulders of legions of others. Those include the shoulders of Gladys Burns. By the way, as I said, she never worked a day as the social worker she was trained to be, yet was given the Social Worker of the Year Award by the American Association of Social Workers sometime during the 1990s!

Yes, you have policy making power with the tap of a few plastic buttons!!!

Connie shares how easy the process is, from step one when she receives a message, possibly through the Faith in Action Alert List, of bills to support or oppose right now:

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The emails have links right in them that take you to the legislative website.
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You can then just fill in your name, address, and phone number for the bill you want to go on the record about. That’s just fine.

Or you can create an account on the legislature website that will remember you, and you can log in to that account.

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If you create an account, you can see what bills you’ve signed in for and you’re remembered so you don’t have to fill in your address every time.

This allows testifying on a bill to be done even if you only have a few minutes! It truly is incredibly easy now to be a citizen activist and an advocate.

Bonus: you can go farther than just signing in “pro” or “con” and can also leave comments. There is some very helpful examples of language for advocacy here from the Faith Action Network’s legislative agenda:

FAN-2023-Legislative-Agenda-annotated1.pdf (

I hope you join us in bringing advocacy into the strategies of how you put your faith in action! If you’d like to join the Faith in Action Alert List, email me or our administrator to be added to the list.

Tiny Little News Show - February 6th

Feb 6th Tiny Little News Show
This week's episode of the Tiny Little News Show includes: return hymnals and receive a book in exchange; how to recycle with honor starring Marie Arensmeyer, OUUC's Caretaker; and info on fun and fellowship during Valentine's week.

Updates to Article II

The Article II Commission of the Unitarian Universalist Association has recommended updates to the UUA Bylaws that define the Association's purpose and principles. You can find more information here:

In this recording, the Commission members read the proposed changes:

Article II Study Commission Reads Its Proposed Changes
You can also watch the forum we recently held at OUUC on the changes to Article II here:
OUUC Article II Forum


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