Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

Just Saying August 2022


I believe we would be getting along much better if we acknowledged the deep connection with our fellow humans and the entire universe. Like the wood cutter, we would be less inclined to saw the tree limb off, if we realized we are standing on it and less inclined to dismiss the hole because it is at the other end of the boat.

Alan Wilson Watts says, “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between a causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation.” We seem to flee the present in an incessant search for a narrative that confirms our opinions, or predictions about our dire and uncertain future. To increase our challenge, those providing us with news, seem more intent on catching our attention with sensational or shocking headlines, than striving to report events in an accurate manner with minimal editorializing. Private corporations build or buy publishers and electronic news sources, attempting to control the perception of the masses regarding reality. Aldus Huxley’s dystopian future with its enforced NEWSPEAK is our growing reality as we are flooded with words that oppress and obscure.

We struggle to distinguish between science revelations that seem literally incredible, and the babble of commentary less interested in the truth than in our monetary potential. Albert Einstein said, "Our separation from each other is an optical illusion… The greatest tragedy of human existence is the illusion of separateness.” "Everything is determined, every beginning and ending, by forces over which we have no control. Einstein was convinced, “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It will transcend a personal God and avoid dogma and theology.” “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” “Everything is energy and that is all there is to it. “This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

If we want to bring about meaningful change, we must comply with the fundamentals of the universe. If Oneness is reality; acting otherwise will not end well. This is not simply philosophy or even ethics, it is physics. May we align with the Oneness, no matter how challenging it seems. There is no other!


Legislative Update


The Right to Clean and Healthy Water


The importance of a campaign for an Amendment to the Florida state constitution is very important as evidenced by the loss of a suit in Orange County that sued to stop a fill–in of wetlands for a development based on a local Charter Amendment that gave rights to waterways. The judge summarily dismissed the “rights-of-nature case because the state’s laws preempt Orange County’s charter and further said: “The state Legislature last year approved a measure that bars local governments from granting legal rights to ‘a plant, an animal, a body of water or any other part of the natural environment that is not a person or political subdivision’.” The judge further said that this umbrella statement means that there is no point in pursuing this issue-the state trumps local.

Until state senators and representatives choose to listen to their constituents, Amendments to the state constitution are one of the only ways the majority of Florida voters can be heard on state issues.

UU Justice Florida supports this proposed Amendment to the Florida Constitution establishing the Right to Clean and Healthy Water. Encourage members of your organization or congregation to circulate petitions to place this amendment on the 2024 General Election ballot. Become a Key Ambassador in your County.


Legislative Agenda

The Florida Legislature passed legislation to assault our personal freedoms, preempt local control, undermine rights of transgender people and women, and stifle efforts to teach critical thinking in Florida's public education system. Thus, this fall  we will be updating the Legislative Advocacy section on the UUJF website so that you can start communicating with the nominees and elected officials about issues you care about  in advance of the 2023 session.   Submit your thoughts and suggestions to




*Each county can have more early voting days.

Primary Elections: In each year in which a general election is held, a primary election for nomination of candidates of political parties shall be held on the Tuesday 11 weeks prior to the general election. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast in each contest in the primary election shall be declared nominated for such office. If two or more candidates receive an equal and highest number of votes for the same office, such candidates shall draw lots to determine which candidate is nominated.

Can independent voters cast a ballot in the Florida primary? Florida is a closed primary state. However, voters who are not registered with a political party are still able to vote in the Florida primary, but their ballots will include non-partisan races only. Non-partisan races are often School Boards, judges, commission seats and local referendums. These last few years we have learned the importance of qualified and thoughtful people on School Boards, heading our courts and planning for growth. If you are Independent, investigate your local choices and VOTE. The trip to the polls or the mailbox is important.



News and Events from Congregations

Presenter: NAACP Tri-City Branch’s Environmental and Climate Justice Committee
On-line Forum Subject: Lake County’s Population Explosion, Part 3: Citizens Town Hall
Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.

UU Congregation of Lake County is continuing their Climate Justice outreach regarding growth planning in Lake County. Come if you live in Lake County to learn how cities, Lake County and the state are planning for the future. Come if you live nearby and want to learn how growth is viewed.

This NAACP is a free, online forum. Public officials will respond to questions and comments from Lake County citizens, including our youth. Participants include: Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks, MPO Director Michael Woods, Groveland City Manager Michael Hein, Leesburg Commissioner John Christian, Eustis Mayor Michael Holland, Clermont Mayor Tim Murry, and Mount Dora Mayor Crissy Stile. Dr. Beverly Ward will be the moderator.

When you register below, you will find details to join the online forum in the confirmation email. For more information, contact



Nature Coast UU Fellowship, 7633 N Florida Ave. Citrus Springs 
September 4 at Sunday Service at 10:30 am 
Contact for link to service. 

Our Labor Day speaker Prof. Jeff Nall brings Nature Coast UU a unique program about Bell Hooks, a major black feminist lesbian theorist.

Forget the suffragettes who were racist and classist and sought to imitate the power structure of white patriarchy. Get UpToDate on feminism. Starting her first book at 19, until her recent death, Bell wrote about 30 including some children’s books, Bell choses Love as a theme, a goal, a desire, a verb, an action. What could be more UU? 

So update your feminism beyond  Florida’s own Zora Neale Hurston who gets  coverage with festivals in nearby Eatonville, and poet Fran Harper. 

Belle is what today’s young people are studying and reading and quoting. Don’t miss your chance to catch up and catch on… 


News and Events from UU Wider World and UUJF


Southern Region

If you want to support the work of the leaders of your congregation or want to learn more about what makes UU congregations tick, consider taking Leadership classes with the Southern Region. Learn from the leaders of Southern Region and attendees from other congregations during Breakout sessions.  

Check with your Board members, minister or Council to see if others are attending. UUJF will reimburse up to four members from each congregation.  

Leadership Experience Track for 2022-23 

 The Southern Region Leadership Experience (LE) is a three-part, nine-month, online course designed to support leaders at all levels. The sections of the Leadership Experience must be taken in sequential order. Learn more about our Leadership Experience track here

  • Primer LE - a self-paced experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and one live processing session. The topics covered in the Primer LE are UU Theology, Covenant, and UU History. The next live processing session for the Primer LE will be September 14.  Register for the Primer LE here
  • Essentials LE - a three-session experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and activities between three live processing sessions. The topics covered in the Essentials section are Congregational Foundations, System Theory, and Dimensions of Faith Development. The Essentials LE will run from September to December 2022. Completion of a prior Primer LE processing session is a prerequisite for participation.Register for the Essentials LE here
  • Breakthrough LE - a three-session experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and activities between three live processing sessions. The topics covered in the Breakthrough section are Incarnational UU Theology, Covenant Beyond Walls, and Justice is what Love Looks Like in Public. The Breakthrough LE will run from January to April 2023. Completion of the Essentials LE track is a prerequisite for participation. Register for the Breakthrough LE here

Martha on the UUJF Board took the series last year. She says the following:  Basic information offered that is important for every congregation. And, it was so motivating and helpful to listen to attendees as concerns are issues are shared.  


Side with Love 

Side with Love Action Center has created a newly designed initiative called UPLIFT Action for Reproductive Rights

UPLIFT Action says:

From the rising tide of “Don’t Say Gay” laws, to the criminalization of life-saving gender-affirming and abortion care, our bodies and our identities are being targeted in deadly ways. Rooted in our Unitarian Universalist affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of all people—including all bodies, and all identities—Side With Love is proud to introduce UPLIFT Action, our new campaign organizing for LGBTQIA+, Gender, and Reproductive Justice. Together, we commit to growing our skills, deepening our spiritual grounding, honing our analysis, and fighting together for a world in which everybody is sacred.

To learn more, click here.

UUJF Funding Announcement
Congregational Member Funding Opportunity

UU Justice Florida (UUJF) is offering a funding opportunity to kick start, energize or supplement your Unitarian Universalist inspired outreach work.

What we are offering

UUJF is offering grants of up to $1,000.00 to aid a UU group’s work that supports UU Justice Florida’s major goal of promoting justice, equity, and compassion in public policy in Florida. UUJF’s core issues are Democracy in Action, Environmental Justice, Public Health and Safety, Immigration Reform, LGBTQ+ and Gender Justice.

Request an application here.

Applicants need to complete the Google Application form to receive funding for your UU group’s work and submit it to UUJF for review and acceptance.  Once your request is approved by the UUJF Board, you, your minister or/and Board president will be sent the approved application and they will be asked to acknowledge your grant and plans. Please remember, your project’s purpose(s) must align with UU Justice Florida’s goals and core issues as described above. 

Your responsibilities

You will be responsible for saving receipts of expenditures and writing a simple narrative report regarding the results of your project within 6 months of grant acceptance. If the project continues past six months, a preliminary report and receipts collected to that point needs to be submitted, with a final report and receipts by the end of 12 months.

More detailed information will accompany the application.


Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the September newsletter to in time for publication August 25.

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Visit the UUJF website and UUJF Facebook group
View archived UUJF newsletters.
Does your congregation have an online sermon or event that addresses a Justice issue?
Is your congregation involved in upcoming social justice initiatives in our area? Send us a note to for more information or to publicize your programs and actions.

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
P.O. Box 1310 | Orange Park, Florida 32067

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