International News from the UUA (iNews)
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I. Transylvanian Bishop Balint's Installation
On Friday March 6, 2009 Ferenc Balint, former minister of Kolozsvár I, was installed as bishop of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church. He replaces Bishop Arpad Szabo who has just completed the second of 2 six-year terms and therefore was not eligible to serve as Bishop anymore.
Bishop Balint's installation was attended by about 500 people. The service was held in the church formerly served by Bishop Balint - Kolozsvár I. There were 16 guest speakers including representatives Romanian and Greek Orthodox Churches, The Roman and Greek Catholic Churches, the Lutheran Church and the Reform Church.
Rev William Sinkford represented the UUA and spoke during the installation. Joyce Gilbert represented the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches from Great Britain. Bishop Laszlo Tokes, Bishop of the Transylvania Reform Church and member of the EU Parliament spoke as did several other government officials.
After the service guests attended a lunch to honor the new Bishop. All the Unitarian ministers in Transylvania and Hungary were invited as were family and friends.
In his opening remarks to his sermon, Bishop Balint said: "I am delighted to greet on this festive occasion all our invited guests arriving from near and far away……It is a special joy to me that we can share with each other our thoughts and feelings in the belief that the only God of love and goodness will bless our lives and work. By our common prayer God provides us with the spiritual richness by which our thoughts and feelings find each other and we grow stronger in our faith. By encouraging handshakes and by finding each other's eyes we can become true builders of the kingdom of God."
Report from Cathy Cordes, UU Partner Church Council
Photos from the installation are available online for viewing!
II. Karsten Urban of Deutsche Unitarier Visits the UUA
On Thursday, March 12, 2009, Karsten Urban, President of the Deutsche Unitarier visited the UUA to discuss exciting new plans for the future of German UU's. While here, Mr. Urban met with members of the UUA staff, UU Funding Program, and President Sinkford.
Deutsche Unitarier, short for Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft (which translates to "German Unitarian Religious Community"), was founded in 1876. Consisting entirely of lay-led congregations, Deutsche Unitarier is the only German Unitarian group that is a member of the ICUU (International Council of Unitarian Universalists).
III. 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.
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
IV. 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!
V. News From the Interfaith Youth Core
The Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) is excited to announce its first summer workshop, "Religious Pluralism in Your School: A Two-Day Workshop for Educators."
While many educators feel that they must avoid topics of religion in school, religious diversity plays an obvious and important role in local and global contexts. The Interfaith Youth Core and Global Youth Leadership Institute invite educators from secondary schools to a two-day working group examining the best way to address religious diversity in secondary schools. The workshop will take place at the Francis Parker High School in Chicago, IL on June 18-19, 2009. The trainings will be facilitated by IFYC and GYLI staff and will include assessments to analyze religious pluralism in schools, creation of an individual action plan, networking and sharing best practices, and a special presentation by Dr. Eboo Patel.
Click here for more information or register now! The registration deadline is May 17, 2009. Please contact Mary Ellen Giess with any questions.
March 2009 Newsletter Available
The IFYC's March newsletter is available to read online. You can also subscribe to their newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox. This month's issue includes an update from IFYC's Eboo Patel, reflections from a participant of the Fellow's Alliance and information about the IFYC's Western Europe Training Tour.
VI. News from the ICUU
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!
Job Posting: ICUU Executive Secretary
The ICUU is looking for a new Executive Secretary to manage their operations and programs. The full details of the job are available here.
The Executive Secretary position would have a somewhat flexible start date in late August. It is a half-time work from home position involving a substantial amount of electronic communication work. Excellent computer, business and language skills in English are necessary and a second language could be an advantage. The position may grow to more than half time as ICUU resources allow. The salary range is $15,000-$20,000 US. Some expenses for travel and office set up are also covered.
Applications and resumes may be sent to Pauline Rooney
Completed Applications MUST be received by April 15, 2009
VII. 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!
VIII. 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!
IX. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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
- 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.