International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. Join President Sinkford on a Live Webcast During his Pilgrimage to Africa
In November 2008 Reverend William G. Sinkford, President of the UUA, will embark on a pilgrimage to six countries in Africa. The purposes of the pilgrimage are:
- to meet with old and new colleagues among the Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa,
- to learn from the experience and wisdom of leaders in Truth and Reconciliation work in South Africa, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
- to learn from leaders of social justice and human rights organizations involved in diverse struggles, including: LGBT Rights, Fair Wages, HIV/AIDS, Women's Rights, and Socially Responsible Investing,
- to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site and symbolic center of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Île de Gorée.
Individual UU's and UU congregations can participate with Reverend Sinkford during the journey in a variety of ways:
- by following blogposts, reports, news items, photos and video posted during the journey,
- by using the "congregational participation" resource which describes each segment of the journey and the people/organizations Reverend Sinkford will be visiting with,
- by participating in the "Propose a Question" contest - Reverend Sinkford will present the most popular questions to people that he meets with.
Further information about each of these opportunities will be available soon at www.uua.org/sinkfordafrica. Or, for more information, please contact the UUA's International Resources Office.
II. Resources on International Religious Freedom
October 27th marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the International Religious Freedom Act, which made the promotion of religious freedom a basic aim of U.S. foreign policy. The Pew Forum has assembled a variety of resources on international religious freedom, including event transcripts, Q&As and news clips.
Go to the resource page
III. IARF Newsletter
A recent report on IARF member activities is now available in a downloadable newsletter. Click here to read the newsletter (PDF).
IV. Upcoming Rissho Kosei-kai Events
There are two Rissho Kosei-kai events in December:
Book Launch and Signing of New Translation of "The Lotus Sutra"
Introduction by Rev. Masamichi Kamiya, Minister of Rissho Kosei-kai of New York
Author Dr. Gene Reeves will give a talk, answer questions, and sign copies of his book, a new translation of "The Lotus Sutra" on Saturday December 6th, 1pm, at the East West Bookstore in New York City.
Celebration of the Shakyamuni Buddha's Enlightenment
Sunday December 7th, 9:00am - 1:00pm at Rissho Kosei-kai of New York
The program features: a Sutra Recitation, Dharma Talk by Dr. Gene Reeves, a reception and much more!
V. UUSC Celebrates the UDHR
Over the coming weeks, from today until December 10, 2008, UUSC will be featuring stories that highlight their ongoing human rights work, showing how all of our work flows directly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Click here to read more
As part of their celebration, UUSC is having two contests, one for professional religious educators and a photo contest for youth.
For more information, please visit www.uusc.org.
VI. Update from the UU Church of the Philippines
A UUPCC trip to visit the Philippines is scheduled for March 20-April 1, 2009, starting and ending in Manila. This tour will offer you an amazing opportunity to become acquainted with the people and the culture of the Philippines. They will visit many of the congregations of the UU Church of the Philippines and come to appreciate the courage and resilience of the UUs of the Philippines.
The UUCP has an international committee working on helping move forward their dream of building a dormitory for university women in Dumaguete that would serve several purposes. This project would provide a much needed safe and supportive facility for young university women while also providing a regular income for the UUCP which will help them be able to financially support their dreams and growth for the future. This very important project is also anticipated to include educational opportunities for the UUs of the Philippines as well as ministers from around the world.
Lastly, there is an audio file of a recent UUPCC virtual phone conference with Nihal Attanayake and several North American UUs available on the UUPCC website (MP3).
For further information, please contact Lee Boeke Burke, at 920-915-1667 or by email.
VII. Faith Without Borders
Introduced at General Assembly, the "Faith Without Borders" program invites congregations to integrate a commitment to faithful global citizenship into many aspects of congregational life.
Participants in the program will receive resources, consultation and celebration from the International Resources Office. For more information, click here.
VIII. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for November 2008
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 63rd in its monthly series of global chalice lighting readings. Congregations worldwide are invited to participate.
All ICUU-affiliated groups have been asked to submit brief chalice lightings for the project. Every month, a reading will be distributed to Unitarian and Universalist congregations around the world. We ask each congregation to use the reading for at least one worship service in the designated month, identifying it as the "Global Chalice Lighting" for that month and naming the group which submitted it. Readings will be circulated in English and, where different, in their original language.
It is hoped that the ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Project will enhance the worship experience in our congregations and raise awareness of the international dimensions of our religious movement.
This Global Chalice Lighting may be read responsively. Presented here in Spanish and English, it is to be used during November 2008.
Que este cáliz, que encendemos juntos aquí, impregne e ilumine este lugar, aclarando en nuestros corazones la dirección a tomar, que solemos olvidar durante la semana que va a partir.
Que sus haces de luz brillen profundamente en el alma, prendiendo en su interior sabiduría nueva y nuevos proyectos. Que simbolicen la luz del deber y el entendimiento y el esplendor de la justicia, la verdad, y que nos den calma.
May this chalice, that we are lighting here together, pervade and light this place, showing in our hearts the right direction to take, that we not forget during the following week.
May its rays of light shine deeply in our souls, kindling new wisdom and new projects inside us that symbolize the light of duty and understanding and the magnificence of justice and truth, and bringing peace to us.
-from the Coruña congregation
Unitarian Universalist Society of Spain
- October 31 - Nov 2, 2008: European Unitarian Universalists Fall Retreat-Traben-Trabach, Germany
- November 8-9, 2008: Tents of Hope for Darfur - Washington DC
- December 1, 2008: World AIDS Day
- December 6, 2008: Book signing of the "The Lotus Sutra" in New York City
- December 7, 2008: Celebration of the Shakyamuni Buddha's Enlightenment in New York City
- December 10, 2008: 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- February 26 - March 1, 2009: International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women
- April 16-18, 2009: UU-UNO Spring Seminar: "All in the Name of Faith: Rights, Religion, and Responsibility"
X. Inspired Faith - Effective Action blog
As part of the UUA's Advocacy and Witness Staff group, the International Resources office contributes to the Inspired Faith - Effect Action blog. Visit the blog for postings on a wide variety of issues. Or, subscribe to an rss feed of international-related posts.
XI. International Engagement database
The IRO maintains a database of the many varieties of international engagement that UU congregations are involved with. To date we have records from approximately 150 congregations in the database. Is your congregation one of them? If so, we'd love to update your entry. If not, we'd love to include information about your congregation's international engagement.
Contact Nicole McConvery to check/update your congregation's status in the database.
Or, if you'd like to be in contact with other congregations who are involved with international programs that are similar to yours, let us know and we'll provide you with a report.