International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. President Sinkford's Pilgrimage to Africa
In November 2008, President Sinkford embarked on a pilgrimage to Africa to meet with old and new colleagues among the Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Accompanied by Eric Cherry (Director of International Resources, UUA), Paula Cole Jones (JUUST Change Consultancy, UUA) and Maria Sinkford, the pilgrims spent nineteen days: learning from the experience and wisdom of leaders in Truth and Reconciliation work in South Africa; and meeting with and learning 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.
View this interactive map to see where President Sinkford and his companions visited.
Read reflections of the time spent in Cape Town and see video updates from President Sinkford and his companions as they share impressions of their pilgrimage to Africa, including participation in a worship service in Cape Town, as well as meeting and worshiping with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
While President Sinkford was in Soweto, South Africa and Nairobi, meetings were held with two of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's partners: The Coalition Against Water Privatization (CAWP) and the Kenyan Association of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (KENASVIT). View video footage from these visits and learn more about the amazing, inspiring and effective work these organizations are doing.
Read about HIV/AIDS contexts during the Pilgrimage and watch footage from discussions with the Ghana AIDS Commission.
Via internet technology, President Sinkford was able to interact with Sunday school classes around the United States, answering questions and speaking about his experiences during the journey, through a live internet video broadcast with an interactive chat component. Video from the second and third Sundays are available online.
View photos from South Africa, Soweto, Uganda, Kenya, Accra, and Lagos.
There is a wealth of information, from videos, photos, and blog posts, available on the Pilgrimage's blog: A Unitarian Universalist Pilgrimage: Rev. William Sinkford's Journey through Africa
II. Interfaith Youth Core: Faiths Act Fellowship
On September 25, 2008 the Interfaith Youth Core launched the Faiths Act Fellows, a partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to engage exceptional young people whose interreligious leadership will impact the lives of others.
Beginning in August 2009, thirty young leaders will come together as the inaugural class of Faiths Act Fellows and take up the task of mobilizing their communities to act. Fellows will participate in a month-long immersion program in Africa, learning firsthand about MDG related healthcare initiatives and the part inter-religious cooperation plays in these efforts. Following this fieldwork, the Fellows will be trained as interfaith ambassadors and sent into their communities where they will raise awareness and resources. Working in interfaith pairs, they will represent inter-religious work in action, demonstrating the positive impact faith communities can have in the world when they come together to affect positive change.
Applications for this incredible opportunity are due on January 15, 2009, so act now!
Read more about the Faiths Act Fellowship at www.faithsactfellows.org.
III. 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!
IV. UUPCC Upcoming Pilgrimages
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.
Read more about the pilgrimage here.
* There is an error in the cost noted on the introduction to the trip. The total cost is $1800 (starting and ending in Manila) which includes a $150 registration fee.
Related Information:Upcoming UUPCC Trips
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. 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.
VII. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for December 2008
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 64th 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, in Khasi and English, it is to be used during December 2008.
Ha kane jingiaseng jongngi,
Ngi ieng ban nguh ha kjat jong Phi;
Ai ba baroh jongngi ki mon,
Ha ka Mon jong Phi kin dem ngon.
Ha kane jingiaseng, A Blei,
Ai jingmut kin thanda, kin palei;
Da jingjemnud ngin iashahshkor,
Ia ki ktien Jingshisha kordor.
Ka spah bad jingsngewbha pyrthei,
Kim lah ai jinghun da lei lei;
Ka jingsuk batam eh iangi,
Long ban ieit bad shaniah ha Phi.
We rise to bow before You, Almighty,
With gratitude and in humility;
May our individual wills
Be one and bow before Your Holy Will.
As we congregate here this day,
May our thoughts be simple and noble;
With receptive hearts may we heed
The precious words of Truth.
Worldly riches and pleasures
Give but momentary satisfaction;
But everlasting peace for us will be,
When we love You and trust in You.
-Khasi hymn #56 by Hajom Kissor Singh
Unitarian Union of North East India
- 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 3-5, 2009: April European UU Retreat in SPA, Belgium
- April 16-18, 2009: UU-UNO Spring Seminar: "All in the Name of Faith: Rights, Religion, and Responsibility"
- April 15-18, 2009: British Unitarian GA in Chester, England
- September 1-5, 2009: ICUU Council Meeting in Koloszvar, Transylvania
- December 3-9, 2009: Parliament of the World's Religions, Melborne, Australia
IX. 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.
X. 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.