July 30, 2010
I. Global UU Ministers Meeting and Theological Symposium
In mid-July the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) concluded two deeply inspiring global conferences in Kerkrade, Holland.
The first conference brought together more than 60 Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, and liberal Christian ministers from 15 countries to build collegial relationships and reflect on the subjects of "ministerial calling" and "vocation".
The second conference brought together a similar number of people to consider the topic, Belonging: Our Unitarian Identities and the Nature of our Relations.
In between the presentations at both conferences attendees gathered for worship, chalice circles, sightseeing, informal conversation, and plain-old fun. While international gatherings of U/Us are not so uncommon any longer, attendees seemed to agree that these two conferences were especially significant for their timeliness and the depth of relationship that they created.
Read more about and view photos from each conference!
II. Churches for Middle East Peace - Community of YES
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is working with the Community of Yes campaign to build broad bi-partisan support for balanced and determined U.S. leadership in working with Israel and the Palestinians to achieve a two state solution as part of a comprehensive Middle East peace.
Middle East peace is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. Supporting peace is not conservative or liberal. A negotiated peace agreement is essential for Israel, Palestinians, and U.S. national security interests. In a recent Zogby International poll, 81% of those polled agreed that the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a negative impact on U.S. interests. Achievement of a comprehensive Middle East peace is in the American national interest. This national imperative cuts across party and ideological lines. Now is the time for unified American action to achieve a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Be a part of the Community of Yes!!
Join the Community of YES!
III. Religions for Peace - Arms Down!
In November 2009, the Religions for Peace Global Youth Network launched the Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security.
The campaign - led by youth from the world's religions - works to engage religious leaders and believers around the world to unleash the power of multi-religious cooperation through shared action. It also reaches out to international organizations, governments, national assemblies and parliaments, municipalities, media, and all men and women of good will.
Through education, mobilization and advocacy, the campaign advances shared security by working to reduce nuclear and conventional weapons and to reallocate military spending to support urgently needed development, as set forth in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The upcoming North American regional campaign will hold: a Day of Awareness on August 9, 2010 and Day(s) of Advocacy on September 20-22, 2010.
Learn more about the Arms Down! campaign, how you can get involved, and sign the petition!
IV. Witness to a Return Home: A Trip to Uganda
In northern Uganda, more than 1.8 million people have been displaced from their homes for as long as 22 years. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) has worked for two years there with partner Caritas Pader, piloting a unique program that has empowered thousands of people displaced by war to return to their villages.
While UUSC has been working in northern Uganda, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has developed a relationship with Rev. Mark Kiyimba, leader of a Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation in Kampala, Uganda's capital. Kiyimba runs a 400-student school and 20-child orphanage near Masaka and has been campaigning against Uganda's draconian anti-homosexuality bill. On the second part of the trip, participants will meet with the UU Kampala congregation; talk with Ugandan leaders of the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's rights; and visit the school and orphanage the Kampala congregation supports.
Learn more about this joint UUA-UUSC travel opportunity!
V. NY Times: "From Untouchable to Businesswoman"
Last week's NY Times featured a great article about Kakuben Lalabhai Parmar, an Indian woman who, through the help of the UU Holdeen India Program's partner SEWA (Self-Employed Women's Association), has become a successful businesswoman and artisan of international acclaim.
"I already experienced the biggest change in my life," she said, speaking a Gujarati dialect through an interpreter, "when I first got the chance to come out of my house and participate in society."
Ms. Parmar's moment of liberation came roughly 20 years ago, when the not-for-profit Sewa Project formed a unit in her village to help preserve endangered handicrafts and, equally, to provide the people who make them a form of alternative employment.
"We never even thought of getting income from selling this stuff before," said Ms. Parmar, who sews patchwork embroideries that incorporate vivid threads and reflective shards laboriously cut by hand from mirror scrap she buys by the pound.
Continue reading the article and learn more about SEWA!
VI. Attend the IARF Congress in September!
The International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) will be hosting its 33rd World Congress September 4-7, 2010 in Kochi, India.
Held every four years, the theme of this year's congress is "Beyond Conflict to Reconciliation: the Challenge of the 21st Century" and the keynote speaker will be the Dalai Lama. Learn more about this special event!
IARF Council members recorded video greetings, welcoming all to this year's congress: 11 Reasons to Attend the IARF's 2010 World Congress
IARF CONGRESS | COCHIN, KERALA, INDIA
SEPTEMBER 1-7, 201O
The Dalai Lama will be keynote speaker for the 33rd IARF Congress, which takes place September 4-7.
UUA President Peter Morales will participate.
Pre-Congress/Congress events include:
- A tour the last week in August.
- September 1-4: International Assoc. for Liberal Religious Women (IALRW)
- September 1-4: Interfaith Issues - Joint program with World Congress of Faiths (WCF)
including worship, small group discussions, and excursions - To register, visit www.worldfaiths.org
- September 4-7: IARF CONGRESS - www.iarf.net
The 33rd Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom will be a very special occasion for participants. The theme is "Beyond Conflict to Reconciliation: the Challenge of the 21st Century."
An international list of speakers includes: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Dr. Karan Singh, President of the Temple of Understanding, Ms. Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Religion or Belief from the United Nations, Dr. Sheikh Ali, Muslim interfaith leader, and Rev. Peter Morales, UUA President.
Also, the International Association for Liberal Religious Women will be celebrating its 100th year with a special program for women. Don't miss these exciting events and of course, don't miss that unique welcome given by Indian hospitality to its guests!
Please contact Doris Hunter, chair of the US Chapter, IARF if you have questions about the coming 33rd Congress of IARF.
VII. Short Term Ministry near Lake Chapala, Mexico
The Lake Chapala Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (LCUUF) is interested in hosting a visiting UU Minister for two weeks in 2011, preferably between the months of January and April.
Lake Chapala is within an hour's drive of Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city. The LCUU Fellowship has been in existence since March, 2006 and has held lay led services every Sunday since its formation. With a membership of 68, it is governed by an elected Board and has several active standing committees. Completely volunteer run, the Fellowship employs no staff. LCUUF has Mexican not-profit legal status and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
The visiting minister would be expected to speak at two Sunday Services, provide consultative services to the board and committees, and facilitate lay leader training. In addition to an honorarium of 8,000 pesos (approximately $650 U.S.) the Fellowship would provide local transportation, some meals, and if desired, accommodation in members' homes.
Continue reading for further information! Applications for this opportunity are due by October 31, 2010.
VIII. Monthly Global Chalice Lighting
Monthly Global Chalice Lighting
This Global Chalice Lighting is to be used during August 2010.
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 84th 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 taken from Bless All Who Serve, the UUA's new publication for military personnel and their families. It is to be used during August 2010.
What words tell the truth? What balms heal? What proverbs kindle the fires and passion of joy? What spirituality stirs the hunger for justice? We seek answers to these questions-not only for ourselves, but for our communities and our society. What are the ways of being with one another that enable life to flourish, rich with meaning? When violence has fractured communities, isolated people, and broken hearts, how can life be repaired? We ask these questions not to arrive at final answers, but because asking them is fundamental to living.
Rita Nakashima Brock & Rebecca Ann Parker
Unitarian Universalist Association
IX. UUHIP: Partners for Justice in India Video
The UUA International Resources Office is happy to announce the release of "UUHIP: Partners for Justice in India," a great introduction to the work and philosophy of the Unitarian Universalist Association's Holdeen India Program.
UUHIP works with key leaders and organizations of India's most marginalized and disadvantaged peoples in their struggle to secure human rights and economic and social justice. The program supports the efforts of those peoples excluded or oppressed on the basis of gender, caste, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, especially dalits (untouchables), adivasis (tribals), migrant, bonded and child laborers, domestic and home-based workers, and scavengers, helping them to participate fully in the social, economic and political life of India.
Available online for free, as well as on DVD, the video features profiles of 5 Holdeen India Program partners as well as reflections by Program Direction Kathy Sreedhar, former UUA President Rev. John Buehrens and UU minister Rev. Abhi Janamanchi.
For those interested in obtaining a DVD copy of the video, please contact the International Resources Office.
View "UUHIP: Partners for Justice in India" online!