The L.R.Y. Memorial Room

conga line?

Where have you gone, Joseph Taco?
Suzy Creamcheese hitchhiked here for you
woo woo woo
What's that you say Jo Taco?
The LRY Room's now on the world wide web
yes it is

So, long time no see.

Pull up one of those old chairs the UUA threw out, pour yourself a cup of the really bad coffee, and take a look around. The conference is just getting started and you're one of the first to arrive. Look out, the organizers are a bit harried, so they'll probably talk you into leading a workshop or two if you're not careful. And the People Soup editor just wandered in all wild-eyed (having already been into the bad coffee for a few hours now). Face it, you're probably going to be talked into writing or drawing something before the night is through.

We've got issues of People Soup for your perusal (or, Ed has them, actually... He's around here somewhere). Feel free to rant in the housebook (I think it's on that table down there). And people are putting up mailbags here over the fireplace. Would you like some paints to customize yours?

You'll have to excuse me for a moment -- apparently someone from the Church is here with some questions, demanding to speak to “Whoever's in charge.” Sigh. I guess I'll have to go talk to them. Unless you want to?

LRY Press -- People Soup button, from kathryn's vest, where it's been rusting these past 19 years

Carrying the Bright Flame of Spirit

As teenagers, LRY (Liberal Religious Youth, a Non-Creedal Youth Organization Affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association) was a huge influence on many of us, spiritually, politically, socially and culturally. Now, as adults, some of us have been looking back at that key formative experience and evaluating how it has influenced who we are today. We've wanted to have some place to post reflections on our LRY experiences, as well as an alumni sort of contact site for former LRYers to be able to stay in touch if they choose.

This site has been up for almost four years now. Thanks to the housebook, lots of people have checked in and reconnected. There's now a former LRYers message board and listserve, chatroom, and other goodies.

There have also been a number of (in-person) reunions and people are planning more. Relationships have been re-kindled, and much healing has taken place for those who had unresolved issues from that time. We are awed, humbled and amazed at some of the changes that have happened. And grateful to have this community once again be a vital force in so many of our lives.

At some point we hope to edit together some highlights of the many discussions that have taken place. They're an important part of our ongoing history, and we look forward to sharing them with the whole group.

Sincere apologies to anyone whose articles have not been posted yet, or that were lost in the shuffle - during the summer of '00 we were swamped in the process of moving this site, and all our others, to a new server and new domains. Then in the summer of '01, with the help of a stalwart group of old LRY friends, the webcrafters undertook the challenge of relocating their physical household and archives. It's still taking us awhile to settle into the new place. In the long run, we feel the new situation will better serve all our needs, but it has kept us so busy that for awhile there we didn't have the time or energy to update the pages themselves in a timely fashion. And, truth be told, now that we're living closer to a number of our friends, making some new ones, and your intrepid webcrafter's health has improved enough to enjoy these things, sitting in front of a computer just doesn't hold the same appeal it once did. But we're slowly getting around to it and trying to get caught up. Translation: “Bear with me... I've got a life now.” :-)

Oh, for what it's worth, this is an unofficial site. I don't think it's possible for anyone to have an official site, since LRY was formally dissolved, but might as well say it, in case anyone out there thinks they have the sole rights to the story.

So, we're cooking up a bunch of stuff, but for now...

If you'd like your contact info --and maybe a note about what you're up to now-- published here, please write it in the housebook, or e-mail us. Ditto for any articles, images (maybe some “then and now” pictures?) or links you'd like to see here. Preferred submissions: personal reflections on how LRY influenced who you've become, intro stuff that will explain LRY to the uninitiated, and minority viewpoints that you think have been left out of the official UUA history. The links below should give you a sense of what's out there right now -- what do you think needs to be added to the story?

Housebook entries will be visible to others right away, e-mail submissions will be posted as soon as we get around to it. If enough of us have websites, perhaps we can do a former LRYers webring. Also consider posting your info on the LRY Online Reunion Sites - lots of room for pictures and reflections, if you can stomache dealing with YahooGroups.

check out who else has been here: view the housebook

let us know you've been here: please sign the housebook

view the occasionally-updated and somewhat-illustrated housebook archives

chapter one
Sep.'98 - Sep.'99
chapter two
Oct.'99 - Nov.'99
chapter three
Dec.'99 - Mar.'00
chapter four
Apr.'00 - Aug.'00
chapter five
Aug.'00 - Nov.'00

carrying the bright flame of spirit

Mel Tower - It is with great sorrow that I announce that Melanie “Mel” Tower, beloved LRYer of the Central Midwest Fed, died on May 10, 2001.

To any of her old friends who don't yet know, I apologize for your having to find out in a public forum like this. The funeral was held on May 18, 2001, at the Racine Unitarian Church. For more information, you can contact Trace DeHaven at, or call Brian Oelberg or other Chicago/Wisconsin LRYers.

I will always remember Mel, aka Brigadier General Kali Amazon of the 51st Airborne Division, as a charismatic and generous presence. I remember her at my first conference ever (at, yes, the Racine Church), sitting on the stage, singing A.E. Blues and making sure everyone had birth control. I was so impressed. She made this conference virgin feel welcome and loved. And though we only saw each other occasionally over the years since, I have always thought of her with fondness and gratitude. We are poorer as a people for her absence. Go in peace, dear Mel. May you find rest and healing, and reunion with your beloveds who have gone on before. In sorrow, - kathryn

carrying the bright flame of spirit
conferences and reunions

Shindig at the Quarry! Rufus, of LRY, SRL, and COG, is living in a bucolic setting and having some conference-sort-of-camp-out-happenings down there, usually twice a year. There should be one on Memorial Day Weekend. He is also gathering addresses and distributing info about conferences and other events in all parts of the country. E-mail Rufus to see what's going on.

WUUNDER Camp at Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts. May 19-24, 2002. “A Young in Spirit Camp for 18-108 year olds and their children. We hope to bring back some of the summer camp magic we remember and offer it to those who never experienced the joys of places like Rowe Camp, UU Conferences, Ferry Beach, Star Island, and Summer's End.” For more info, go to the Rowe website at the URL above, and follow the “summer camps” link - it's at the top of the list.

Star Island Liberal Religious Adults Conference: Tuesday, June 11 to Friday, June 14, 2002. And the Star Island Young Adults Conference: Friday, June 14 to Monday, June 17, 2002. Both at beautiful Star Island, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Read all about conferences past and future at these two sites: Liberal Religious Adults - The Digital Star and The Star Island YAC.

Camp Ferry Beach Reunion: August 23-25, 2002. Reunion Camp for any LRYers/Campers from 50s/60s/70s. Held, of course, at Ferry Beach, Saco Bay, in Saco, Maine. For more details, check out the publicity flyer. Conference co-directors are Heidi Hertel-Therrien, Joe Thompson, and Nancy Hewitt

COG Conference: Labor Day Weekend, usually at Camp Mishnoah in Holland, Massachussetts. Link above is to last year's flyer. I'll get this year's info posted when someone sends it along (hint hint ;-))

carrying the bright flame of spirit
online stuff to check out

Pictures!!! A few of our linked sites below have LRY pictures, but here are some with lots of photos:

LRY Photos - this site is now brimming with pictures from the 60's through the present. Chances are you or your friends are in here somewhere. And there's still plenty of space for anyone to upload pics.
The Vault (aka LRY Files) contains many of the original photos from the LRY Online Reunion site.
LRY Large - overflow site with more photos and other scanned memorabilia.
ursula's LRY photos -- ursula shea-borneo's lovely images from 1980 and on.
LRY pictures from the semi-ancient past (circa 1981) -- david caputo's pages, with photos of early 80's LRY folks.
pictures from kathryn's LRY archives currently features 29 photos from spring and summer of '81. I kind of started in the middle, so I'll be adding the surrounding chapters as I get around to it. But I wanted to post what I have for now. (And if you know the names of some of the unidentified people in the pictures, please let me know.)

LRY Members Online Reunion. Laura has set up a message board, chat room and listserve. Check in and say hi to other LRY alumns, groove on the pictures in the files, explore the links members of the group have added. If you join the group you have four options. You can have each posting emailed to you, you can get a daily digest, a daily summary, or you can read the postings on the web. Hope to see you there.
NOTE: Since some members of the LRY Online Reunion wanted to make the group "members only," you now have to join YahooGroups and get a Yahoo ID if you want to participate. Sorry, folks, this was not my decision. However, joining is relatively painless. If and when you join us, please make sure to reset your "Delivery Options" to "Web Only" or "Digest" unless you want to get all the LRY-related messages sent to you individually.

carrying the bright flame of spirit
stuff to get

Ed Inman has archived People Soup. The entire collection, 1973 - 1982, is now available in a high-quality xerox, ring-bound edition. E-mail Ed for info.

carrying the bright flame of spirit
miscellaneous additional announcements

Keith (Kneith) Knost - of Summit, NJ LRY, Star Island, People Soup, Summers End and Boulder, CO - was in a very serious car accident on Oct. 31, 2000. After almost a year he is now out of the hospital and continuing his rehab and recovery in New Jersey.

Keith had no insurance at the time of the crash. For more information, general updates, contact info for Keith, and how you can help, please check out The Keith Knost Special Needs Trust Fund page.

“The UUA is now renovating Skinner House in Boston, to make it part of the adjacent UU Bed and Breakfast in Pickett and Eliot houses. (Note: The basement of Eliot house is where the LRY office was from the mid-seventies till the end.) There is a two page center spread ad soliciting donations -- for a price, you can name one of the rooms. The new facility will have a youth suite for visiting youth groups. All we have to do is raise $15,000 and we can christen a dorm room ‘The LRY Memorial Room.’ I bet that would go over like a lead balloon.....”

Anyone care to take on organizing this?

Of the handful of people whom we've talked to, most think it would be fabulous, funny, and gleefully appropriate to have an actual LRY Room. OK, who's got the money? So far we've had one offer of $100, and another suggestion of a Bake Sale.

Rebecca Gavin sent this in over a year ago, so it's probably too late to actually do this at Eliot House. If someone knows what's up with this situation, we'd appreciate an update.

Update: March '00: I recently heard that zoning in that area of Beacon Hill does not permit a Bed and Breakfast in Eliot House. Apparently the neighbors complained. (The Karma! The Karma!) So unless they find a new site... But it just wouldn't be the same. I want the old LRY office to be the "LRY Memorial Room."

btw, for those who didn't know, it was this running joke about having an "LRY Memorial Room" at the UUA that led to the name of this website. --k

carrying the bright flame of spirit
additional links

LRY page by Colin Pringle. A personal account of LRY in the 60's, and links to lots of counter-culture stuff (Haight-Ashbury, Kesey, Pranksters, Rainbow Gatherings, etc).

Youth Sunday -- Colin's archive text of a UU Church service originally presented in 1968, and then cybercast on the 30 year anniversary this past March. It sure took me back to those Youth Day services we used to do.

The Star Island Liberal Religious Adults Pages. A small group that's been having yearly conferences at Star. At least a handful of the members are former LRYers.

Another LRA and Star Island page. This one is updated more frequently than the other one, with stories by conferees and plans for upcoming events.

A virtual tour of Star Island. Old Shoalers, click your way down memory lane. Hang out on the porch of Oceanic. Enter the chapel on the hill. Look out over the ocean from the rocks of Star Island. Sigh. (“I will come back. I will come back.”) "A web of webs dedicated to Unitarian Universalist Youth, past and present." Includes:

Unitarian Universalist Youth History: Index (Finally! It's up on a new server!) :

LRY: A Brief and Subjective Introduction

LRY from 1961 - 1969: LRY in the UUA

LRY from 1969 to 1983 An important historical correction needs to be made about this otherwise commendable link: Despite Jim's statement to the contrary, LRY did exist on the Continental level, and in the Central Midwest Fed (CMF), after 1979. Though I'm sure some locals were no longer active (or allowed in the church), others were. Some locals continued to meet and attend conferences together even after the church threw them out (!). In these cases it was often younger LRYers paying the price for activities that had happened way before they even joined LRY. I personally attended conferences in Illinois and Wisconsin during these latter years, and served on the '80 CMF YAC and the '81 LRY Continental Executive Committee. And LRY Con Cons took place up until '82. So, though activity during this period may have been reduced and less visible in some areas, we were most definitely still around. --k

YRUU on the web. Here you'll find some essential LRY archive materials and links, including:

YRUU 5 Year Review -- Introduction. A brief account/opinion of the SCOYP report and other issues that led to the dissolution of LRY.

The SCOYP Report (1977)

Common Ground 1 (1981): The Report of the 1981 UUA Youth Assembly Planning Committee to The Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees October, 1981. The official version of events.

Interview with Wayne Arnason (1989) on the end of LRY and the beginnings of YRUU.

YRUU, UUYAN and the Future of Unitarian Universalism by Jim Sechrest. Touches on some of the same issues from our Orcas discussion, like youth involvement (or not) in the church.

Your Children are not Your Own by Shava Nerad Averett. “... encapsulates exactly why I hated going to church after I left LRY, and why Paganism is bringing me back.” -- Carl Hommel.

Carl's Memories -- Carl Hommel was active in the New England area from 1976 to 1979. This site contains a number of essays on LRY, college, raising children, and Paganism.

how i wound up doing this site by the editor of The LRY Memorial Room.

Unitarian Universalist Roots - Ancient & Modern -- A long essay by Jeremy Taylor, a UU Minister and early LRYer. Recounts some obscure and fascinating UU history and personal experiences.

Why You Should Not Be A Unitarian Universalist By Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen. Reprinted from People Soup, Dec. 1981.

A Warm Fuzzy Tale by Claude M. Steiner. Just in case there are any LRYers who don't remember the story of the Warm Fuzzies.

ACLU Conference on Youth & Civil Liberties. Mainly personal stories, one mentions the influence of LRY anti-war activists in the 60's.

An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back On Life by Joyce Maynard. A personal account of youth in the 60's, and a brief membership in LRY. Originally published April 23, 1972 New York Times Magazine.

C*UUYAN, The Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network, is a grassroots organization fostering community and spirituality among UUs between the ages of 18 and 35.

CUUPS -- Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Another shore upon which a number of LRYers have washed up.

WHUUPS -- “Web Home of UU Pagans. A site devoted to explaining Unitarian Universalism to Pagans, and vice versa. Home of the Canonical List of UU Humor.” UU stuff, Pagan stuff, some former LRYers here and there. This is an exhaustive collection of essays and links. You'll find a bit of almost anything here.

The Emerson LRY Page. Despite the UUA decision to dissolve continental LRY, some churches independently continued to have LRY locals. Here's a page by a present-day LRY local in Houston.

Carrying the Bright Flame of Spirit

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The LRY Memorial Room - lots of links, photos, conferences, housebook and contact info for LRY alumns

a whole bunch of reminiscing old LRYers (and a few interested friends)
have wandered these halls since September 30, 1998

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Feel free to rant in the Housebook

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