January 28, 2011
I. UUA/UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund
Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato, who sued a Ugandan newspaper which outed him as homosexual, was beaten to death in his home yesterday.
The UU Church of Uganda and Eddoboozi Human Rights Defenders Network have issued a statement in condemnation of this tragic killing.
Kato's murder is a devastating reminder of the dangers facing those in Uganda who support the struggle for LGBT rights.
As UUs, we are called to promote human rights and respond to threats to our liberal religious values at home and abroad. After two years of partnership with the UUA and the UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO), the UU Church in Uganda has asked for our help to address the increasing violence and oppression that LGBT individuals are experiencing in their community.
In response, the UUA, in partnership with the UU-UNO, has launched the UUA / UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund to help the UU Church in Uganda and their partner organizations fight for social justice and equality for LGBT citizens living in Uganda.
In light of this recent tragedy, your support is needed now more than ever. Please give to the UUA UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund.
II. UUA, UU-UNO Consider Closer Ties
Over the past several months, leaders of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the UU United Nations Office (UU-UNO) have been investigating the possibility of working more closely together. Though the UU-UNO has been an independent organization since 1971, it was originally a department of the UUA, and its mission aligns very closely with the UUA’s International Vision Statement.
Collaborative work between the two organizations has been increasing steadily during recent years, and the mutual benefits of re-integrating the UU-UNO into the UUA have become apparent. These benefits include a simplified UU international engagement infrastructure for UU congregations, increased coordination of UUA and UU-UNO programs, and numerous administrative cost-savings.
Discussions between the organizations are ongoing, and there is optimism that an agreement will be reached during the current fiscal year. The UU-UNO Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to pursue this direction and hopes to invite its membership to approve a merger agreement at its annual meeting in April, 2011.
UUA President Peter Morales expressed his hope for the ongoing negotiations. “We have an historic opportunity to bring our various capacities together in order to more effectively pursue a peaceful, just and sustainable world community on behalf of Unitarian Universalism,” said Morales.
For more information, please contact the International Resources Office!
III. American-Nepali Students' and Women's Educational Relief
American-Nepali Students’ and Women’s Educational Relief (ANSWER) is a nonprofit, non-partisan, non-religious organization that empowers low-caste children through education.
Supported largely by UU congregations, ANSWER makes a commitment to each child it works with through academic and career counseling, offering continued support for upwards of 15 years.
Learn more about ANSWER and consider getting your congregation involved in the support of Nepal's future!
IV. IARF US Chapter - World Interfaith Harmony Week
The United Nations has proclaimed the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Please join the IARF US Chapter for an afternoon program on Sunday, February 6th, at 2 pm at the Reading UU Church in honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Learn about the international multi-faith organization, IARF, the International Association for Religious Freedom, and its recent Congress held in Kochi, India where 600 participants from all corners of the world and different faiths came together to share worship, beliefs and traditions.
The IARF Congress was also host to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Meet the new chairperson of the U. S. Chapter, Hal French, and other Chapter members.
Learn more about World Interfaith Harmony Week and the IARF US Chapter!
V. Sermon Competitions
The UU United Nations Office invites you to submit the sermon or address from your UN Sunday service for the 2011 Dana Greeley Award.
Consisting of a $1,000 honorarium and the opportunity to deliver the winning address at General Assembly 2011, the award honors the memory of the Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, first president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and a strong supporter of the United Nations.
Sermons highlighting the work of the United Nations and the UU-UNO will be given priority consideration for this award. Submissions are due by February 1, 2011 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and submission guidelines, visit www.uu-uno.org.
UU's for Justice in the Middle East - Annual Sermon Competition
UUJME (Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East) views the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the defining legal and moral issues of our time, with wide-ranging ramifications for the future of global interfaith relations and human rights.
For UUs to contribute meaningfully to this cause, we must first openly and honestly discuss the issue amongst ourselves. The 2011 UUJME Sermon Contest gives us the opportunity to better understand the barriers that prevent these important discussions from taking place and explore ways to move past them toward an active contribution, in collaboration and fellowship with other faith communities, to a just peace in Israel-Palestine.
Eligible sermons must have been delivered, either by clergy, seminarians, or laypersons, in a UU church service or church-sponsored event, between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2011.
The winner will be awarded a $400 prize and given the opportunity to deliver his or her sermon at an event during the 2011 UU General Assembly in Charlotte, NC.
For more information and submission guidelines, visit www.uujme.org.
VI. Traveling and Connecting with U/U’s Internationally
Unitarian Universalists who are planning to travel internationally, whether permanently or temporarily, are invited to consider including a visit with a Unitarian, Universalist or Unitarian Universalist congregation while abroad.
There are UU congregations and groups in nearly 30 countries around the world—some are very small, and some are quite large. And, most of these congregations deeply enjoy having visitors and new members.
With several professional opportunities abroad for UU ministers and seminarians, as well as opportunities for non-clergy to make international connections, there are numerous ways to find community with Unitarian, Universalist or Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations or groups abroad.
VII. Upcoming IARF Events in the UK
The British Chapter of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) has several upcoming events:
February 19, 2011, 10:00-3:30pm:“Ethics, Ecology, and Interdependence,” featuring BBC Presenter Rev. Peter Owen-Jones and Datuk Leslie Davidson, world authority on Palm Oil. (Datuk is an honour from the Malaysian Government similar to Knighthood). Location: Croydon Unitarian Church
Learn more about IARF and The General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches online!
March 8-10, 2011: Interfaith Retreat at the Brahma Kumaris World Retreat Centre. Further details will be available online.
VIII. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting - February
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 90th 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 submitted by the Scottish Unitarian Association. It is to be used during February 2011.
To celebrate our gathering together this morning we light our chalice
as we do each time we meet for worship.
It is good to embrace this familiar ritual.
It is good to know that through this action we are united with Unitarian and Universalist sisters and brothers throughout the world.
But let us try to ensure that our understanding of this familiar and comforting ritual does not become dulled through repetition.
The symbol of a flaming chalice stood initially for a life of service.
Its designer had never seen a Unitarian church or heard a sermon.
What he had seen was faith in action in the form of the Unitarian Service Committee.
As we reflect upon our flaming chalice let us remember this commitment to service – which comes in many forms.
But let us also remember that the flaming chalice, like our faith, stands open to receive new truths that pass the tests of reason, justice, and compassion.
Let us take a moment to call to mind what special meaning this symbol of fire, of light and of warmth might have for each of us this morning, and for our lives in the week ahead.
—Rev. Maud Robinson
Scottish Unitarian Association
- February 15-March 7, 2011: Sacred Places: A Pilgrimage to India with Rev. Abhi Janamanchi
- February 19, 2011:“Ethics, Ecology, and Interdependence,” British IARF, England
- March 8-10, 2011:Interfaith Retreat at the Brahma Kumaris World Retreat Centre, British IARF, England
- March 11-24, 2011: UUPCC Pilgrimage: Meet the UU's of the Philippines
- April 28-30, 2011: UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar, New York City
- May 14-26, 2011: UUPCC Pilgrimage to Transylvania