A non-profit organization that supports women through worship, learning, leadership, community and social justice, SWUUW addresses women’s issues, explores feminist theology, promotes friendships and celebrates the diversities that make us unique women on our individual spiritual paths. SWUUW is an organization open to all UU women, particularly those women in the Southwest District of the Southern Region of the UUA.
SWUUW aligns itself with the spirit of Welcoming Congregations as depicted by the UUA. All who identify as women are welcome. Our definition of “women” is expansive and includes anyone who feels that they belong in this space, including those who identify as nonbinary.
The First annual Southwest UU District Women’s Conference was held in Midland in February of 1987. The conference was the brainchild of Margaret Weddell who also served as chair.
A district lending library was begun with curricula from the Unitarian Universalist Association, Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation and Women and Religion for local societies and women’s groups. The SW district W&R took its turn publishing Matrix, a newsletter for District W&R Chairs in its sixth year published on a rotational basis. In the district, W&R committee members served on SWUUW committees beginning what was to become a long and successful collaboration between the two groups in the district.
In 1988, the SW W&R committee had begun compiling a Conference Planning Guide to assist women’s groups in planning the annual district conference. Quality programming for women at the three annual district gatherings (SWUUSI, Fall meeting, and Spring Conference), and support of the SWUU District Women’s Conference had become well established.
Women Create, a brochure outlining activities and events for women in the Southwest District, and WomenWeb, a directory of UUWF units and UU women’s groups in the SW District were in publication by 1990 in addition to SWWIRL. Cooperative and long-range strategic planning sessions with the SWUUW Executive Board and SWIRRL Steering Committee resulted in strengthened commitment of each to sustained and inclusive programming on women’s issues. This collaboration became a model for other districts across the continent.
It was in 1993, through the vision of Shannon Cooper, then SW W&R Convenor, that the working relationship between W&R in the SW district and SWUUW became formalized. With Marty Robinson’s term as president of SWUUC ending and the SWUUC committee budget being reevaluated, it was expected that the SW W&R budget would be facing more and more critical scrutiny by SWUUC board members. Fran Faris, then president of SWUUW, was concerned with funding the numerous projects proposed by women to be undertaken by SWUUW. Shannon reflected that there should be a more efficient way of channeling funding from SW W&R to SWUUW for specific projects.
There had been an informal working relationship between the groups for some time, with the SW W&R Convenor participating in the SWUUW Planning Committee meetings and helping to fund and implement specific projects that would benefit members of SWUUW. The relationship was ultimately formalized by SWUUW expanding its Planning Committee to include a permanent position for a SW W&R liason in 1993. The financial resources of SW W&R and the human resources of SWUUW were formally integrated with W&R continuing to support specific projects.
Severe cuts in the SW District W&R budget came in 1997, though through the efforts of women at the District annual meeting it was not eliminated entirely. The 1997/98 fiscal year was the last for SW W&R. SWUUW took over the services that W&R had been providing. Connie Nolen in the SW District office continued to maintain the Film Library for us, and when the time came for our Ft. Worth District office to close, Connie brought the resources to be given away at that year’s Women’s Conference.
Our board is elected every year at our annual conference.
SWUUW is a 501(c)(3) organization. Read or download our bylaws.