International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. UU Ministry for Earth: 350.org
A Call to Unitarian Universalists from the UU Ministry for Earth: Participate in the October 24 International Day of Climate Action
The next weeks and months are critical for addressing climate change.
By late September, the Senate climate bill will have passed or failed. Passage is needed to send an empowered and credible US delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009.
The world's leaders must arrive at that conference with the voices of their people ringing in their ears, calling them to take strong action to lower atmospheric CO2 levels to 350 parts per million (ppm).
Why 350? Scientists generally agree that if we continue to allow the amount of carbon in the atmosphere to top 350 ppm, we can't sustain a planet similar to the one we know and to which life on Earth is adapted. Currently, the CO2 in the atmosphere measures well above 350 ppm.
350 represents more than just a benchmark for a safe climate - there are deep moral and spiritual reasons for getting back below 350. Guided by the 2006 Statement of Conscience regarding the threat of global warming/climate change, UU Ministry for Earth, the UU State Advocacy Networks, the UU-United Nations Office, the UUA Green Sanctuary Program, and the UUA Office for Advocacy and Witness call upon UU congregations to participate in the International Day of Climate Action, October 24.
People in more than 1000 communities around the globe have already announced plans: there will be school children planting 350 trees in Bangladesh, scientists hanging banners saying 350 on the statues on Easter Island, 350 scuba divers diving underwater at the Great Barrier Reef, and thousands more creative actions like these.
At each event, people will gather for a group photo that depicts 350 - and upload that photo to the website www.350.org. As actions take place around the world, all the pictures will be linked via the web-and by the end of the day, a powerful visual petition from the entire planet will be delivered to the media and world leaders.
Learn more about how your congregation/community can organize an action on October 24!
II. "Charter for Compassion"
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is one among a diverse group of interfaith religious organizations that have partnered with the "Charter for Compassion" community. This collaborative effort seeks to be a witness to the centrality of compassion in all of the world's religions-and to help build a more "peaceful and harmonious global community" through that witness.
In November 2009 the finalized version of the Charter for Compassion will be "Launched" in a major event. Religious people from around the world are invited to join in this launch by sponsoring special events and activities. UU congregations are welcome to participate in any way that they choose.
Learn more about how your congregation can participate. Congregations are welcome use and/or adapt an example lesson plan as a religious education (RE) activity related to the Charter for Compassion Launch: the lesson plan details a one or two-day opportunity for religious education classes to learn about the "Charter for Compassion" and create a work of Art that expresses their understanding of "Compassion."
III. UN Sunday
Celebrating United Nations Sunday is an excellent opportunity for Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations to express their commitment to our Sixth Principle: We Covenant to Affirm and Promote the Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty and Justice for All.
The UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO)'s theme for UN Sunday 2009 is: A Safe and Dignified Life for All.
The UU-UNO has put together an excellent packet of worship materials to assist congregations in organizing a UN Sunday service. The UUA's International Resources Office also has UN Sunday resources, which reference this packet, organized in the "Faith Without Borders" framework.
Learn more about how your congregation can participate in UN Sunday!
IV. UUA President in Transylvania for ICUU Meeting
UUA President, the Reverend Peter Morales (pictured left, with Bishop Balint of the Unitarian Church of Transylvania), is in Kolozsvar, Transylvania for the biannual Council Meeting of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists - ICUU.
Read more about his visit and check out photos from the journey.
Stay tuned for a full report from the ICUU meetings in the next issue of iNews!
V. A Ritual for Ingathering Water Communion Services: With an International Focus
Congregations are invited to make use of a new Water Communion liturgy from the UUA's International Resources office. The liturgy is adaptable to a variety of contexts.
Though Water Communion services vary greatly from congregation to congregation, they are generally an excellent opportunity to express commitment to our Sixth Principle: We Covenant to Affirm and Promote the Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty and Justice for All.
The International Resources Office also offers a general Water Ceremony/Communion resource (PDF), in the framework of the "Faith Without Borders" program, offering suggestions for Sixth Principle ministry in the areas of spirituality, education, advocacy, partnership, stewardship, pilgrimage & witness, and associational leadership.
Read more about the IRO's 2009 Water Communion liturgy here!
VI. News from the Interfaith Youth Core
October 25 - 27, 2009
Hosted by the Center for Civic Engagement, at Northwestern University
Interfaith Youth Core's (IFYC) 6th Conference, Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World, will engage participants in the question of how young people can be the architects of a global movement of interfaith service. This Conference will offer:
- Plenary sessions with dynamic speakers, including religious leaders, young people, activists, policy makers, academics and more;
- The debut of IFYC's premiere interfaith leadership training;
- Interactive workshops and trainings from best-in-class organizations and practitioners from around the world;
- Networking opportunities with leaders in the emerging interfaith youth movement.
IFYC welcomes faith leaders, educators, researchers, student leaders, community activists, civic leaders, media professionals, funding professionals, and policy influencers. Join interfaith youth movement colleagues from across the country as IFYC explores interfaith leadership in today's world!
VII. News from IARF
Save the date!
"Reconciliation with the Earth, Each Other and the Stranger" is the theme for the U.S. Chapter Conference, which will be held in Clearwater, FL, January 14-17th, 2010. Rev. Bill Schulz and Rev. Paul Rasor are two of the speakers who will be presenting. The work of IARF around the world will be shared along with preparations for the Congress in India in September 2010. Additionally we will have Circle Groups and time for renewing friendships. Registration information will be forthcoming.
VIII. "Long Live the Struggle"
The International Resources Office is pleased to announce the online availability of "Long Live the Struggle," an overview of UUHIP, focusing on Vivek Pandit, director of program partner Vidhayak Sansad.
Learn more about the work of the Holdeen India Program as it brings a sense of hope to the people it works with while providing a model for ending social injustice. "Long Live the Struggle" is available on YouTube in full. A limited number of DVD's are available for free from the International Resources Office (contact email@example.com for more details).
IX. 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.
Read the most recent devotional online!
X. 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!
XI. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for September 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 73rd 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 Visayan dialect and English, is to be used during September 2009.
Hinaot nga ang atong panagtigum mahimong usa ka malipayon kay nag-ambitay kita diha sa espiritu sa kinabuhi.
May our coming together be a joyful moment, because we share in the spirit of life.
Revs. Nihal A. Attanayake & Elvira Paras Sienes
Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines
- 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)
- October 25-27, 2009: Interfaith Youth Core presents: "Leadership for a Religiously Diverse World", Chicago, IL
- December 3-9, 2009: Parliament of the World's Religions, Melborne, Australia
- January 14-17, 2010: IARF U.S. Chapter Conference, Clearwater, FL.
XIII. 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.
XIV. 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.