International News from the UUA (iNews)
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I. Hunger Strike in Bolivia
Bolivian lawmakers have voted to declassify archives containing information on disappeared victims of junta-ruled dictatorships between 1960 and 1980. Relatives of the disappeared are currently holding a hunger strike, seeking release of the archival documents.
In an attempt to get Bolivian President Evo Morales to take effective action regarding activities of Bolivian junta authorities and their role in disappearances of individuals throughout their period of rule, Olga Flores Bedegal and two other women are now entering week four of their hunger strike.
Olga Flores Bedegal (from MediaMouse.org): "Right now we think it's a clear sign that the government intends to clear up this dark time in Bolivia's history and answer our questions about where our relatives are. Once we see the results and it's what we want we will lift the strike. If not, we are willing to die. What we are asking for, no less or no more, is that they follow the law, that they comply with the Inter-American convention against the disappearance of people."
In an act of solidarity, the UUA, ICUU, UU-UNO, UUSC, UUPCC and ICUUW have all sent letters on behalf of the women, urging President Morales to take action.
Olga has created a website (in Spanish) with a wealth of information regarding how to help their cause, including suggested addresses to contact and a video clip of the women.
The ICUUW has information available in English, including sample form letters and contact information for Bolivian and U.S. government officials:
Get involved and support these women during this critical time!
II. A Salvadoran Resurrection
UUSC President/CEO Charlie Clements has an op-ed in today's Boston Globe.
Reflecting on the turbulent history of El Salvador's presidential elections, Clements writes about the country's arduous shift towards a progressive movement over the last decades and remembers thousands of innocent civilian casualties.
III. UU World: Unitarian Universalism in Africa
In this month's UU World, guest columnist Scott Kraft reports on the growth of Unitarian Universalism in Africa.
Originally introduced in 1857, Unitarian Universalism existed as a handful of UU congregations in South Africa and Nigeria; within the last ten years, numerous congregations have emerged in Uganda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, and Kenya. Read more here!
IV. General Assembly 2009
Be sure to visit the International Organizations Booth (#1014) at General Assembly this year! The space will host the following international UU organizations: International Resources (UUA), Project Harvest Hope (PHH), UU Partner Church Council (UUPCC), International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU), International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), UU United Nations Office (UU-UNO), and the UU Global Aids Coalition (UUGAC). There will be numerous events held at the booth from each organization; stop by the booth for more details!
GA Workshops from the Office of International Resources
Faithful International Engagement
Thursday, June 25
10:45 AM-12:00 PM
The UUA's Office of International Resources provides tools and consultation to congregations that are developing or expanding their international engagement. This workshop will highlight recently developed resources.
Rev. Eric Cherry
A Theology of International Engagement
Saturday, June 27
11:00 AM-12:15 PM
Join UU and Interfaith leaders from Japan, Transylvania and the United States in an international theological dialogue. It is an honor to welcome Rissho Kosei-kai Chairman, Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe and the newly installed Bishop of the Transylvanian Unitarian Church, Rev. Bálint Benczédi Ferenc to this conversation.
Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe
Rev. Bálint Benczédi Ferenc
Rev. Eric Cherry
A Pilgrimage to Africa
Saturday, June 27
5:15 PM-6:30 PM
In November 2008 President William G. Sinkford and 3 companions embarked on a 20-day pilgrimage to visit 6 African countries: S. Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria. The workshop will share the lessons, relationships and opportunities emerging from the Pilgrimage. UU leaders from African countries will also share their experiences.
Rev. Eric Cherry
Pastor Fulgence Ndagijimana
Rev. Mark Kiyimba
V. News from Project Harvest Hope
PHH Spring Newsletter Now Online
The Spring edition of the Project Harvest Hope newsletter is now available online for download! Read updates from projects in Transylvania, the PHH Board, and other recent organizational developments.
PHH at General Assembly
Project Harvest Hope cordially invites you to our booth at General Assembly (booth #1014).
For the first time, internationally oriented organizations are coordinating their booths and will be sited together. Please visit us at the International Organizations Booth (#1014) in the exhibit hall.
We look forward to sharing our stories and enthusiasm for current projects in Transylvania!
Project Harvest Hope Annual Dinner
Oasis Café, Salt Lake City, Saturday June 27, 2009
5:00-5:45pm: Social Hour, 5:45pm: Dinner>
Tickets: $50 per person (A cash bar will be available)
The Project Harvest Hope Board cordially invites you to its annual dinner in association with General Assembly. A special Hungarian menu is being prepared (vegetarian options available) at locally owned and operated Oasis Café. Rev. Endre Nagy and his wife Eva Patko will provide live Transylvanian music, and Leon Dunkley will lead us in festive American and Transylvanian folk song. Purchase your tickets early as this dinner always sells out!
To purchase tickets, please contact:
Julie Draper, PHH Volunteer Coordinator, at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-531-9366.
VI. UU Church of the Philippines
The UU Church of the Philippines (UUCP) has embarked upon a Sustainability Program that seeks to build a Dormitory in Dumaguette City. Congregations and individuals can find out more about this exciting program by visiting the project website.
Or, check out a recording of the UU Partner Church Council's most recent "Virtual Conference" during which Rev. Nihal Attanayake (Chair of the UUCP Faith in Action Department) and the UUA's Ambassador to the Philippines, Rev. Fred Muir discuss this project and others.
Additionally, the UU Church of the Philippines held its Annual Meeting in late April and Bob Guerrero was kind enough to share some wonderful photos from the event.
VII. News From the UU-UNO
The Spring 2009 UU-UNO newsletter is now available online! Learn about what the office has been up to for the past several months and find out ways you can become more involved. Read updates from the UU-UNO's LGBT initiative, ending gender based violence in Darfur, the Every Child is Our Child program and more!
Support payment of US dues to the UN!
Read more about what you can do to help strengthen America's global leadership!
VIII. Sharing Global Faith
Grounded in the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, Sharing Global Faith invites Unitarians and Universalists from around the world to deepen and enrich our shared global faith.
The international devotional will be distributed on the second Monday of every month starting in April, 2009 and running through September, 2009. Each publication will address a central issue in the development of faith-life and will include thoughtful responses from a diverse geographical selection of U/U spiritual leaders. Topics range from freedom to fellowship, justice to hope. Alongside the monthly e-resource, the devotional's webpage will host additional information about the project and each of the contributors.
The May devotional is now available!
IX. International Opportunities for UU Clergy
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!
X. News from the ICUU
March 2009 ICUU Newsletter
The March ICUU newsletter "The Global Chalice" is now available online for download.
In this quarter's edition: a call for participants at the upcoming ICUU meeting in Koloszvar, an update about the ICUUW, an executive summary from the ICUU, a news item about increasing Chinese interest in Unitarian Universalism, an update from John Clifford about Kenyan UU's, and much more! Click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.
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!
XI. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for June 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 70th 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 many languages, was written for the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women and is to be used during June 2009.
We light our chalice, recognizing that our bodies and our beings, our insights, actions, and hopes all come from the essential elements of existence. In our worship today, we honor the elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
Meggyújtjuk a kelyhet, és érezzük, hogy testünk, létünk, ösztönös megérzéseink, cselekvéseink és reményeink létezésünk alkotóelemei. A mai áhítaton a föld, a levegő, a tűz és a víz elemét tiszteljük.
- Zsofi Sztranyiczki
Iluminemos nuestro cáliz, reconociendo que nuestro cuerpo y nuestro ser, nuestra perspicacia, acciones y esperanzas provienen de los elementos esenciales de la existencia. En este día de adoración, honoremos los elementos tierra, aire, fuego, y agua.
- Maria Romero y Angeles
Tunamlika wema wetu, tukifahamu kuwa miili yetu na ubidamu wetu, undani wetu, matendo yetu na matumani yote hutokana na mambo muhimu ya maisha.
Katika maombi yetu leo tunaheshimu ulimwengu, mazingira, moto na maji.
- Alice Kemunto
Ating iniilawan ang chalice na ito bilang simbulo sa pagkilala na ang ating katawan, pagkatao, pananaw, kilos at pag-asa ay galing sa mga payak na elementong bumubuo sa ating pagkatao. Sa ating pagsamba sa araw na ito, ating binibigyang pugay ang elementong lupa, hangin, apoy at tubig.
- Lenna D
Watashi tachino karada to jitsuzon, satori, koudou, to kibous subeteno sonzaiga juuyouna youso toshite ninnshiki shinagara, kono chalice ni tomoshibi o ataeru.
Kyouno reihai dewa dewa tsuchi, kuuki, hi, to mizu no yousoni keiiwo.
- Kathy Matsui
translation project coordinated by Dorothy Emerson
International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women
- June 17, 2009: Liberation Beyond Borders: Dalit Feminist Hermeneutics and Four Gospel Women, Silver Spring, MD
A conversation with Surekha Nelavala and Mary Kate Birge
Learn about Dalit theology from a feminist perspective. Surekha Nelavala, author of "Liberation Beyond Borders: Dalit Feminist Hermeneutics and Four Gospel Women," received her doctorate from Drew University. Her thesis provides a starting point for conversation with Mary Kate Birge, a New Testament scholar who received her doctorate from The Catholic University of America.
These colleagues will discuss Dalit feminist theology, how it shapes feminist scriptural studies, and its implications for feminist ministry. You are welcome to be here for their conversation on Wednesday, 17 June 2009, at 10:00am at WATER. It will be video-recorded for future use.
For more information, contact Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
- June 24-28, 2009: General Assembly, Salt Lake City, UT
- September 1-5, 2009: ICUU Council Meeting in Koloszvar, Transylvania
- October 16-26, 2009: UUPCC Pilgrimage to the Philippines
- October 22-25, 2009: Conference of IARF European & Middle Eastern Region and the European Liberal Protestants Network
at Mannheim and Ludwigshafen (near Heidelberg, Germany)
- December 3-9, 2009: Parliament of the World's Religions, Melborne, Australia
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.