International News from the UUA (iNews)
October 2, 2009
I. G20 Religious Leaders Summit
Bread for the World issued a call for interfaith religious leaders to gather in Pittsburgh for a two-day Religious Leaders Summit on the eve of the G20 meetings.
More than 25 prominent national religious leaders from Moslem, Jewish, Indian, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Sikh, and Zoroastrian traditions attended last week's gathering.
The main purpose of the gathering was to demonstrate the broadly shared agreement of the US faith community that global economic recovery can only be realized if the poorest and hungriest people of the world experience it.
Read more about the gathering, online!
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. Flooding in the Philippines
Reverend Nihal Attanayake, International Office Director for the UU Church of the Philippines shared the following message this morning regarding the Flooding in the Philippines:
I traveled to four congregations from Saturday to Tuesday ...and returned home last night. Heavy rain fall all the way with occasionally burning sunlight. The extremes of the weather was some thing I experienced during this trip. Because of the heavy rain fall most of the rice farms have gone under water. This means people are running short of food because some are not able to dry the rice from the farm, others cannot prepare the land for planting and some have lost the crop in the field. I was in Doldol and members complained of shortage of food.
IV. Shramajivee Mahila Samity Wins Freedom Award
Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS) - India, a partner of the UU Holdeen India Program, has received this year's Harriet Tubman Award from international human rights organization, Free the Slaves.
The Working Women's Association, Shramjibee Mahila Samity (SMS), fights slave marriage and other forms of domestic slavery in India on many fronts. The democratically governed organization of 28,000 women aims for self-empowerment of its members through organizing.
View a slideshow, read more about the incredible work of Shramjibee Mahila Samity and the other award recipients, and join us in commending this year's winners!
V. UUPCC Virtual Conference Call: "Do Your Youth Want to Partner, Too?"
Upcoming Virtual Conference Calls
- Tuesday, Oct. 6, 12:00 pm
- Thursday, Oct. 8, 2:00 pm
Partnership youth pilgrimages, for high school teens, have a powerful and lasting impact on many participants. Participants engage with their partners. They learn about each others values, religion, history and daily life; often perform service work to help the partner community; and frequently form deep, long-term personal relationships. During this call, we will discuss planning, financing, preparing for and participating in a pilgrimage; health and safety issues, including those of alcohol and sex; resources available to planners and participants; and options for running your own pilgrimage, cooperating with other congregations or going with one of the UUPCC-run youth pilgrimages.
To register, email your name, congregation and participation date and time to the UUPCC office or call 781-275-1710.
Visit www.uupcc.org for more information!
VI. 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!
VII. 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!
VIII. New ICUUW Newsletter Available
The International Convocation of Unitarian and Universalist Women (ICUUW) has released its fall newsletter, "Global Sisters".
In this edition, you can read about Global Sisters Initiatives, the upcoming SWUUW Conference, a report about the ICUUW at the recent ICUU meeting in Transylvania, news from the Philippines, and much more! This newsletter is free and online.
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 October 2009
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 74th 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 October 2009.
The light of life shines through the eyes of each and every person.
The light of truth shines through each life.
May the light of this chalice remind us that our search for truth and light is ongoing, and is enhanced and nurtured by every person we meet.
May we honor the light in each other.
Rev. Jill McAllister
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
- 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, 2009: UN Sunday
- 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.
- March 5 -16, 2010: UUPCC Pilgrimage to the Philippines
- July 9-13, 2010: U-U Ministers Conference, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (details forthcoming at www.icuu.net)
- July 13-17, 2010: The Third ICUU International Theological Symposium, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (details forthcoming at www.icuu.net)
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.