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denisetracyThe Women and religion Committee has had a very successful year.  We worked all year to revise our policies, create and set up a new Web site and move to a system of monthly telephone conferences.  We now meet face to face three times a year, in May, Oct and January.
This year’s conference in Milwaukee, at Unitarian Universalist Church West, was ably facilitated by Kathy Bradshaw, the local committee chair.  125 women attended and the Saturday evening concert attracted additional music lovers.  The District Committee worked for 15 months with singer Holly Near, who was to be with us for the weekend.  Unfortunately Holly was terribly ill and could not fly, per Doctors orders.  She sent in her place, Melanie DeMore, an African American Lesbian Feminist singer, who interprets spirituals and gospel music mixed with her own compositions to uplift the connections between people.  Melanie has performed with Pete Seeger, Odetta, Judy Collins, and Holly Near.  Ronnie Gilbert says of Ms DeMore.“She is Womanpower wrapped in velvet”.  Melanie was this and more.  Melanie was an unexpected gift given from a potentially terrible situation.  Everyone was thrilled with her performance and theology.  She says, “I use music to weave a tapestry of community.”  She was a blessing to all of us.  
Next year’s conference will be held in Naperville, Il, February 7-9, 2014.  Our speaker is the world famous feminist and spiritual writer, Sue Monk Kidd.  Author of “The Secret Life of Bees”, The Mermaid Chair”, Traveling with Pomegranates” , The Dance of the Dissident Daughter” as well as much writing on Spiritual Discipline.
The Conference Title is:  “WISDOM FOR THE JOURNEY:  A Weekend with Sue Monk Kidd.
This year the Committee will be expanding our membership.  We also will be evaluating our summer program.  This program has been undersubscribed and we have sent out a survey to past attendees to ask for feedback about future directions.   We want to have programs that meet our members needs and provide support  for  the variety of circumstances of women’s lives.
Respectfully submitted,

Denise Tracy (Rev Ms)