Cakes for the Queen of Heaven  

Welcome! Here you will find information and activities related to the revised Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum and its use in Unitarian Universalist congregations and in other organizations. This site is a combined effort of Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion core group and various Cakes and W&R groups.


Theodora by elizabethcarefoot.comGaia by elizabethcarefoot.comCakes for the Queen of Heaven” is a woman honoring adult RE curriculum by Rev. Shirley Ranck, consisting of two interactive workshop series.  The first, “In Ancient Times” is a 5-week series which examines the archeological evidence of Goddess worship in prehistoric cultures. The second, “On the Threshold” is a 6-week series that reclaims the stories of powerful women in ancient Judaism and early Christianity.  In both series, participants are encouraged to share their personal experiences and beliefs. 

A threshold is a point of transition between two places, spaces or points in time.  “On the Threshold” explores several threshold stories.  Did the matriarchs of Genesis - Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel - live on a threshold?  As priestesses of an old Mesopotamian religion, did they struggle to maintain customs of matrilineal descent and powerful female influence at a time when newer patriarchal ways were taking over?  Did Mary Magdalene occupy a similar threshold in the very early days of Christianity?  The Gnostic Christians believed she was not only an Apostle, but a leader among the Apostles; yet their writings have been excluded from the New Testament.  The woman who came to be known as St. Brigit was the daughter of a pagan chieftain.  She too, lived on an historic threshold between the old Celtic religion and the new Christian religion which was taking over the land. 

Many of you have asked where to find recordings of the songs used in Cakes.

Part I features songs by Ann Forfreedom and Carole Etzler Eagleheart. You may order Carole Etzler Eagleheart's CD "She Calls to Us," which contains many of the songs in the curriculum. Sound samples are available on the MUSIC page in the UUW&R Store.

Nancy Vedder-Shults recorded her song from page 13, "Baking Cakes."

We couldn’t find any recording of “In Ancient Times” by Ann Forfreedom. In 2008, the Cakes facilitator training participants in Oak Park, Illinois recorded ourselves singing it so others could hear and learn the tune. Listen! In Ancient Times

Songs for Part II:

Carolyn McDade’s “Coming Home” is on the 1990 release “This Ancient Love.”


Carole Etzler Eagleheart’s “Sarah’s Circle” is set to the tune of Jacob’s Ladder. These lyrics are sometimes mis-attributed to Pete Seeger. A recording was made for the CUUPS “Singing the Promise” CD, which can be ordered through Nancy Vedder-Shults.

and “Standing Before Us” — We have finally gotten a recording of "Standing Before Us" from Carole's album "Thirteen Ships." Buy or listen. A women's chorus in Texas has posted a recording. You can also get permission to make copies:

Would you like to know more about the curriculum itself? Here are answers by Nancy Irons to a few of the most commonly asked questions:

In 1977 the UUA General Assembly unanimously passed the Women & Religion Resolution, calling on all individual UUs and UU organizations to examine and put aside sexist assumptions, attitudes, and language; to explore and eliminate religious roots of sexism in myths, traditions and beliefs.

The impact of this resolution has been profound; ranging from the establishment of women’s spiritual retreats, to the rapid increase in the number of female UU ministers. It has prompted incorporation of more ritual, such as chalice lighting and “Joys and Sorrows” into our services, as well as the review and revision of our Principles and Purposes. Curricula celebrating the female as divine have been developed, including Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.

Q. What is “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”. . . a cooking class?

A. “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” is a woman honoring adult RE curriculum by Rev. Shirley Ranck. It examines pre-Judeo Christian cultures that may have worshiped the female as divine. The concepts of equality and reverence for the female in a religious setting are eye-opening to many participants.

More than Goddess 101, this workshop series examines important elements of today’s women’s lives; personal, interpersonal and societal. It examines how our culture has been influenced by Judeo Christian values. The primary question raised is: How would your life have been different if, when growing up, the divine had been imaged as female? Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and beliefs, creating trust and strong bonds of friendship.

Q. Why is it called “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven?”

People have been asking where they can find out more about Cakes, so we have put together some samples of the first section of the curriculum:

Contents and Recommended Materials

Author’s Introduction

Rev. Ranck’s Statement of Feminist Thealogy

SESSION 1: The New Foreground

Sample session

Samples of slide shows

As a brief overview of Part II, Rev. Ranck’s address to the women of Central Midwest District, ON THE THRESHOLD, is available in text form here. You can buy the DVD HERE.

Look inside the Cakes book (not the curriculum):