International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. Last Chance to Register for the ICUUW!
The International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women will be held on Thursday, February 26 to Sunday, March 1, 2009, in Houston, Texas USA.
This is an international gathering of women from all walks of life, including youth (ages 14 and up), adults, and elders from around the world. We are inviting representation from laity and clergy, religious educators and other professionals, plus participation from all UUA districts. Participants will be enriched through our diversity, shared knowledge and experiences. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity: Register today!
For more information, please visit www.icuuw.com.
II. Upcoming Faith Without Borders Workshops
The International Resources Office staff is available to lead International Engagement workshops for Districts and Clusters, please contact the office for additional information.
The next workshop, "Bringing the Unitarian Universalist Sixth Principle to Life, will be held at the First Parish UU Church in Duxbury, MA for Ballou Channing District Congregations on Saturday March 14, 2009 from 8:30 - 1:00pm. Participants will explore the history of Unitarian and Universalist International Engagement, the Theology of International Engagement, and begin strategically planning international engagement ministries. All are welcome. (Workshop Flyer)
FWB Workshops at District Annual Meetings:
February 21, 2009 Salem, OR
March 27, 2009 Cleveland, OH
April 25, 2009 Albany, NY
May 2, 2009 Jersey City, NJ
III. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for February 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 66th 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 February 2009.
With malice toward none, with charity for all,
with firmness in the right,
as God gives us to see the right,
let us ... achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves, and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address
submitted by European Unitarian Universalists
IV. International Resources Office Now on Facebook
The latest pervasive, must-have technology since the invention of the cell phone, Facebook is everywhere. And it's growing.
Combining the best features of email, MySpace, and other Web 2.0 technology, 374,000 people join Facebook each day to connect, reconnect, and interact.
So, it's about time the International Resources Office joined the (page) ranks of the Facebook-o-sphere (or maybe it's Facebook-o-verse?)!
The versatility of the Facebook layout allows for our office resources to be neatly listed and easily navigable. You can find out about upcoming events, learn more about the Faith Without Borders program, and hear announcements about new resources available at our uua.org home.
V. New International Opportunities for UU Clergy and Seminarians
Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship Program
The Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship is available to Unitarian Universalist seminarians (in candidate status) attending non-UU theological Schools who have an interest in international and interfaith engagement. Scholarship recipients will be provided with expenses for travel to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine (TGS) in Suzuka, Japan, as well as room and board at the Shrine for two to three weeks. Starr King School for the Ministry has a similar program, and Meadville/Lombard is in the process of developing one.
TGS is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, dating back to the first century BCE. The long-standing relationship between Unitarian Universalism and TGS has its roots within the International Association for Religious Freedom.
This scholarship was established by Guji Yukiyasu Yamamoto, the 97th guardian priest of the shrine, to:
- promote international and interfaith understanding,
- provide opportunities for Unitarian Universalist seminarians to develop a deeper understanding of shrine Shinto tradition, customs, and practices, and
- further develop close relationships between the Tsubaki Grand Shrine and Unitarian Universalists.
Find out more information about the scholarship and its application process!
UUCP Sabbatical Program
Experienced UUA ministers are invited to consider applying to spend 3- 4 months of a sabbatical with the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines (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.
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.
Read more about the UUCP Sabbatical Program and how to apply!
VI. News from the UU-United Nations Office
Registration for the UU-UNO's Intergenerational Spring Seminar ends February 15!
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!
DC Area UU-UNO Members:
"The Daunting Challenge of Human Rights Today" with Amb. Southwick
The Board of Directors of the UU United Nations Office invites you to a reception and special presentation by Ambassador E. Michael Southwick on "The Daunting Challenge of Human Rights Today".
To be held in the new Fellowship Hall
River Road UU Congregation
6301 River Road
Bethesda, MD 20817
Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Come and hear how the UU-UNO is effectively representing you and our UU values at the UN. Light refreshments will be provided.
Take the River Road exit south from Rt. 495 (the beltway) and turn left on Whittier Blvd. This location is accessible. Parking available on site and on adjacent streets.
New Envoy Coordinator -- Holly Sarkissian
The UU UNO has offered the position of Envoy Coordinator/Community Organizer to Holly Sarkissian, made possible by a grant from the Veatch Program of the Shelter Rock Congregation on Long Island, New York.
The UU UNO has about 450 Envoys who were appointed at the suggestion of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson to UUA President Dana Greeley. Holly Sarkissian's job will be to coordinate and invigorate the UU UNO's envoy network. The Veatch grant calls for the office to begin in one district to train and motivate envoys; and to build strong networks dedicated to international social justice issues.
Holly was a UU UNO intern in 2006 and she is a graduate (Cum Laude) from Brandeis University in International Global Studies. She also studied at the School for International Training in Cameroon. Please welcome Holly to the new and growing team at the UU UNO!
New LGBT Associate at the UU UNO -- Diana Sands
The UU UNO has offered the position of LGBT Associate to Diana Sands, made possible by funding from the Arcus Foundation. Diane has been working at Amnesty International, USA in their LGBT unit. She comes to the UU UNO with a great deal of experience, a large contact base and boundless enthusiasm.
Every Child is Our Child
More than 14 million children under 15 in Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS. According to the United Nations, that number will rise to at least 35 million children by the year 2010. The scope of this human tragedy is overwhelming. What can one person, or one congregation, do? Plenty! The UU United Nations Office members have begun by making these children our priority.
As part of UU-UNO mission, Every Child is Our Child Program focuses on children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and works toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of universal primary education, fighting HIV/AIDS, reducing hunger and poverty, and promoting gender equality. This effort is guided by our partnership with the Queen Mothers Association in the Manya Krobo region of Eastern Ghana.
Read more by visiting www.uu-uno.org.
VII. IARF January Newsletter Now Available
IARF's January e-newsletter is now available online for download. News items include recent chapter activities in South Asia, the Young Adults program gathering in Jordan during the summer of 2008, and the ongoing Human Rights Education programs in India and Philippines.
VIII. Churches for Middle East Peace Action Alert
Churches for Middle East Peace issued an Action Alert on January 30th, 2009. The alert includes:
IX. 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.
X. 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.
XI. 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!
XII. 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.
- 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 9, 2009: "Ten Years in Transylvania/Tiz estendo Erdelyben
"Budapest - Through My Lens"
Over a decade of unique and life changing experiences journeying through this fable folk landscape since the fall of Communism, a discovery of Unitarianism, and life in Budapest for over a decade.
7:00pm, at the Cooperative Harvard Bookstore
- 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
XIV. 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 - Effective Action blog. Visit the blog for postings on a wide variety of issues. Or, subscribe to an rss feed of international-related posts.
XV. 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.