International News from the UUA (iNews)
Warm Holiday Greetings and Blessings of the Season!
Happy Holidays from the International Resources Office!
Images from internationally engaged Unitarian Universalists and interfaith partners from around the world.
I. Reports From President Sinkford's Pilgrimage to Africa
Two new reports are now available on uua.org, detailing the experiences of President Sinkford and his companions during their Pilgrimage to Africa in November 2008.
An illustrated, eighteen page report is now available for download on the uua.org/sinkfordafrica homepage. The report describes in detail the journey's goals and how they were met, where the journey took them and whom they met with, and reflections from President Sinkford about his experience at Goree Island.
There is also a slideshow available for viewing on uua.org (42 pages, approximately 53 MB). The slideshow details places and organizations visited and reflections of the journey, framed within the general goals of the pilgrimage and how each of these goals was met. The slideshow also includes embedded video clips from various points on the trip. There is a low-bandwith version of the slideshow in PDF format, with hyperlinks to each of the videos.
The uua.org/sinkfordafrica homepage lists all resources related to the trip, including photos, videos, blog posts, news stories, and reports. Have a look!
II. UUCP Sabbatical Program
Experienced UUA ministers are invited to consider applying to spend 3- 4 months of a sabbatical with the UUCP providing skill development in these and other areas:
- Nurturance of the UU faith through teaching and articulation of theological concepts.
- Youth and Young Adult Ministry
- Project development, management and community work.
- Church administration, leadership and financial management.
Successful applicants should expect to be engaged in this ministry for approximately 20-hours/week. Contexts will include worship services, traditional classes and less formal discussion groups. The unique skills that a successful applicant brings to this ministry will also be integrated.
For more information, click here.
The organizing and implementing body for this program will be the UU Church of the Philippines' Religious Education Committee. The UUCP will provide sabbatical program participants with housing and local transportation. Other expenses will be the responsibility of the applicant, with some assistance available from the UUA.
III. UUPCC Student Sponsorships
Many Unitarian and Universalist families around the world live on less than $1 a day. Education is one long-term strategy to break out of the cycle of extreme poverty, but going to school often means walking several kilometers each way, buying uniforms, supplies and often paying tuition. This is beyond the reach for many families.
UUPCC has joined together with U*U organizations in the Philippines, India and Transylvania to identify potential students and to monitor and maintain the personal connections between student and donor(s). We have agreements in place to assure fairness in the selection process and accountability of the use of funds.
Every student who graduates from high school or college will be expected to pay back, over a number of years, 20% of the total received once they have a job. This will provide an additional source of funding for future sponsorships.
Read more about how you and/or your congregation can sponsor a student by clicking here.
IV. Urgent Action Alert: End Criminalization of the LGBT Community Around the World
We ask our U.S. and Canadian members to write your Congressional Representatives/Members of Parliament; the Secretary of State/Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President/Prime Minister to support the French/EU initiative end state-sponsored persecution of the LGBT community.
For our U.S. members we ask that you also contact President-elect Obama, Secretary of State-designate Clinton and any new congressional and senate members from your state to support the initiative to end criminal sanctions against the LGBT community.
For our Canadian members we ask that you push your government to not only vote in favor of the draft resolution, but to sign on as a co-sponsor of this important initiative and to lobby hard to get other nations to vote in favor, especially to convince the U.S. government to vote in favor.
Related: Tell Obama, Clinton: Act Now for UN Decriminalization
V. UUSC Celebrates UDHR's 60th Anniversary
From October 24 to December 10, 2008, as part of an organization-wide celebration, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) featured stories that highlight their ongoing human rights work, showing how their work flows directly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For example, you can read about how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relates to JustWorks and JustJourneys, UUSC's experiential learning programs, and how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relates to UUSC's Rights in Humanitarian Crises program.
Read more here!
VI. Interfaith Youth Core
Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World: The 6th Conference on Interfaith Youth Work
October 25-27 2009
The 6th Conference on Interfaith Youth Work will convene and equip a community of interfaith activists and advocates who inspire, teach, learn from and partner with one another across faith divides to build the interfaith youth movement. This Conference will convene distinguished guests and presenters from college campuses, faith communities, and civic organizations. Hundreds of academics, religious leaders, foundation representatives, policy analysts, interfaith student activists, media professionals and others will gather to explore new trends in the interfaith field, share best practices for interfaith leadership, tell the story of the interfaith movement, form inspiring partnerships, and build bridges that span cities and countries.
Conference sessions include round table discussions, interfaith service projects, a Day of Interfaith Youth Service Banquet, and over 50 skill-building workshops designed to share valuable tools, teach new models and explore emerging themes across the various sectors of the interfaith youth movement.
For further information please click here.
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.
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 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
The November Global Chalice newsletter is now available for download.
- 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
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.