International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. International Convocation of UU Women
Nearly 600 Unitarians, Unitarian Universalists, and progressive people of faith from approximately 20 countries gathered in Houston, Texas for the First International Convocation of UU Women from Thursday, February 26th through Sunday, March 1st. The theme of the Convocation was "Weaving Global Partnerships to Enrich Women's Lives."
Read a blog post about the event from the International Resources Office !
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:
March 27, 2009 Cleveland, OH
April 25, 2009 Albany, NY
May 2, 2009 Jersey City, NJ
May 2, 2009 Mesa, AZ
III. UUGAC Newsletter
In this issue are updates about the UUGAC's newest red ribbon congregation in Juneau, Alaska, advocacy updates, and "A Global Perspective: AIDS in Africa and Us."
The UUGAC's February 2009 newsletter is now available online. You can read it online, or you can subscribe to their mailing list to receive updates directly to your inbox by emailing Ann Pickar at email@example.com.
IV. Darfur Postcard to President Obama Campaign Begins
During his Presidential Campaign, President Obama made very strong statements concerning the future of Darfur in Sudan. He said the United States must have "unstinting resolve" to solve the crisis there. So far, we have seen no movement on his part to act. The UUA, a member of the Save Darfur Coalition, is asking you to send a postcard to President Obama to help end the violence in Darfur. You can send your postcard electronically and request hard copies for your congregation by visiting the Darfur Action Center.
Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the UUA, encourages every UU to sign their postcard to President Obama. He believes this is an issue for all Americans, especially UUs should learn more about. President Sinkford says, "We felt called to speak out, to shine the light of truth into a region overshadowed by the worst form of government oppression… Neither innocence nor ignorance can excuse us from acting, but despite the outcries from the United Nations and much of the world community, the killing continues. We must do more." See his complete remarks here!
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. UU-UNO's Intergenerational Spring Seminar
Don't forget to register for the UU-UNO's Intergenerational Spring Seminar!
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!
VII. ICUU Council Meeting in Koloszvar, Transylvania
September 1-5, 2009
The ICUU Executive unanimously agreed to accept the invitation from the Transylvanian Unitarian Church to hold the next Council Meeting and associated International Gathering in Kolozsvár, the city of their Headquarters and College. On many western maps, the city is identified as Cluj, Romania.
The Council Meeting will run from Tuesday 1 September, 2009 (arrivals) to Saturday 5 September (departures). A full day pilgrimage to Deva, site of the prison where Dávid Ferenc (Francis David) died, is being planned -- this might be just before, just after, or during the Council Meeting (the dates of the CM might be adjusted slightly if the Deva trip is during the meetings).
All Member Groups are entitled to send one voting delegate to the Council; Groups with more than 3000 individual adult members are entitled to a second voting delegate. There will be a sponsorship fund to assist travel and accommodation for delegates from developing economies. Additionally, individual Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists may attend the International Gathering at their own expense; these individuals may observe the Council Meeting but not speak or vote at business sessions although they may participate in the other aspects of the programme.
Please click here for further information!
VIII. UUCF Congregational Profile
From raising substantial funds for its Ending Global Poverty Task Force efforts in Uganda to maintaining relationships with its two partner churches in Transylvania and the Khasi Hills, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (Oakton, VA) has been making incredible strides in the area of international engagement!
IX. 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.
X. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for March 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 67th 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 March 2009.
A truth worthy of complete devotion may not be provable by reason, but it will not insult our intelligence, nor will it be alien to our experience.
If God is, then there is no place God is not-be it in temple or telescope. May we take to heart the injunction to question, listen, respect, and understand, and live the beauty of our faith.
Unitarian Universalist Association
XI. UU World: "An African Pilgrimage"
Coming face to face and heart to heart with the reality of slavery, UUA President William Sinkford reflects on his experiences during a pilgrimage to Africa in November 2008. Read the article here.
- 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
- October 16-26, 2009: UUPCC Pilgrimage to the Philippines
- December 3-9, 2009: Parliament of the World's Religions, Melborne, Australia
- June 24-28, 2009: General Assembly, Salt Lake City, UT
XIII. International Resources Office 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 on our homepage.
XIV. 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.
XV. 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.
XVI. 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.