International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. A Response to the Current Violence in Gaza
Over the past 10 days people of faith around the world have been shocked and saddened by the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. In addition to urging the US President and Congress to diplomatically bring about an immediate cease fire and secure the access of humanitarian relief efforts in the region, the UUA also urges its congregations to get involved.
II. 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!
III. 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.
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.
IV. 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.
V. News from the UU-United Nations Office
On February 7, 2009, Ambassador Michael Southwick will present "The Daunting Challenge of Human Rights Today"
Ambassador Southwick, a lecturer and consultant on global issues, was our Ambassador to Uganda (1994-1997). He has special expertise in the area of human rights, conflict prevention, and humanitarian relief. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, he managed U.S. policy in over 40 UN organizations.
The presentation will take place at the River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD (begins at 7:00 p.m.).
For more information, contact the UU-United Nations Office.
Registration for the UU-UNO's Intergenerational Spring Seminar is now open!
Save the Date - April 16-18, 2009 (Youth program begins on the evening of April 15)
"All in the Name of Faith: Rights, Religion, and Responsibility"
Join the UU-UNO in exploring the role religion plays in our global fight for Human Rights. Attend to hear excellent speakers, leave empowered with tools to create substantive change in your communities.
Click here to register!
VI. 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.
VII. Religions for Peace International Youth Committee
Statement of the 3rd Meeting
of the Relgions for Peace International Youth Committee
"Confronting Violence and Advancing Shared Security"
December 19, 2008 | Nairobi, Kenya
We, the Religions for Peace International Youth Committee (IYC) are the multi-religious youth leadership body of Religions for Peace, the world's largest representative coalition of religious communities working to advance common action for peace. Read more
VIII. Unitarian Orphanage in the Khasi Hills
Catie Scudera from the UU Congregation of Fairfax (UUCF), VA has been working on the development of a Unitarian orphanage in the Khasi Hills of India since August 2008. You can read about her experiences here: Beginning the A. Margaret Barr Children's Village
The orphanage will start accepting the first group of children in early February 2009.
The UUCF is currently working on a sponsorship program with the UU Partner Church Council (UUPCC) and is currently seeking sponsors for the incoming children. Anyone interested in sponsoring or co-sponsoring a child can contact Dee Idnani, UUCF member, for more information.
IX. 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.
X. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for January 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 65th 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 is to be used during January 2009:
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
-from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
The November Global Chalice newsletter is now available for download.
- January 19, 2009: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- January 20, 2009: Inauguration Day
- February 7, 2009: "The Daunting Challenge of Human Rights Today," Presentation by Ambassador Michael Southwick at the River Rock UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD.
- February 7-8, 2009: Unitarian Union of North East India Annual Conference
- 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
- June 24-28, 2009: General Assembly, Salt Lake City, UT
XII. 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.
XIII. 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.