April 27, 2012
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In preparation for Justice GA in Phoenix, Ariz., (June 20-24, 2012) the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) have jointly organized three Service Learning trips to the U.S.-Mexico border with our partner organization, BorderLinks.
The most recent trip took place from April 20th - 23rd. Trip participant Chris Rothbauer reflects:
"It’s easy to read about border issues in abstract, but this trip has put a very human face on the people directly affected by the crisis on the border. I was able to talk with recently released detainees staying in Tucson, listen to deported migrants in Nogales, Mexico who are seeking medical attention after their arduous trip and trying to figure out what to do next, and take a pilgrimage through the Sonora Desert, retracing the steps of countless migrants..."
The first trip, led by UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, took place successfully in January; the third trip is scheduled for May 25-28 and there are still a few open spots left. You can view photos and read blog posts from previous BorderLinks trips on the Faith Without Borders blog.
Through education, meetings with partners, service opportunities, and theological reflection, participants will grow in understanding the human rights issues at stake on the U.S./Mexico border and return to their homes informed and inspired to be leaders for Immigration Justice.
Consider joining the May delegation! There are scholarships available for youth and young adults; please contact email@example.com for more information!
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) on a joint volunteer trip to Haiti, April 28–May 5, 2012. Trip communications specialist Nicole McConvery of the UUA writes in anticipation of a week filled with learning and growth in a pre-trip dispatch:
"We’re excited to welcome our diverse group of 14 Unitarian Universalists from all walks of life and all corners of the United States. They will be joining us for a week of service with members of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), located several hours outside of Port-au-Prince in the Central Plateau. It’s hard work, but it’s invigorating, giving us a chance to step outside of our relatively comfortable lives and make a difference for others."
Participants on the trip will be blogging throughout the week on the Faith Without Borders and UUSC blogs; be sure to follow their journey online!
Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to connect firsthand with social justice leaders on the ground in Africa November 10-20, 2012!
First, you’ll visit the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP), a Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) partner working to overcome gender inequality and secure the human right to water. Experience TGNP in action, meet their grassroots affiliates, and visit the area’s natural and historic sites. Then spend a weekend in Burundi meeting with Rev. Fulgence Ndagijamana and the Assembly of Unitarian Christians of Burundi (ACUB), a Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) partner. There, you will witness the new congregation’s local justice work and discuss refugee reintegration and conflict resolution.
Don’t pass up this exciting opportunity to delve into the following:
- Collaborations between UUSC and TGNP that are empowering women and families in Tanzania
- TGNP’s efforts to advance the human right to water and sanitation in the new constitution
- Local activists’ efforts to shape their communities in Zanzibar
- ACUB-initiated projects that help build civil society in Burundi
- Ways that ACUB is raising the visibility of liberal religion
- Effective organizing and transnational movement building in the Global South
Learn more about how you can participate in this unique social justice learning experience!
Celebrating Flower Communion 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 UUA's International Resources Office has Flower Communion resources available online. Find a few suggestions for bringing Sixth Principle Ministry to life in relation to your Flower Communion service in the seven areas of the Faith Without Borders program.
Czech Unitarians Celebrate 90th Anniversary
This year the Czech Unitarians will celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the founding the Prague Unitarian Congregation on April 9th.
Upon its founding in 1922, over a thousand people proclaimed out loud: "In love of truth and freedom, and in the spirit of the greatest revivalists of humankind, we join to the service of God and humanity. In the shrine of my conscience I sincerely promise to strive to be a good member of Free Brotherhood." After the proclamation they welcomed each other into membership by shaking hands. This was the official beginning of the organization known today as the Religious Society of Czech Unitarians.
The celebration of the Czech Unitarians emphasizes 90 years of liberal faith in the hard times of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia (1939-1945) followed by forty years of Communist regime (1948-1989). We are also reminded of the movement‘s powerful mission, which emphasizes tolerance and acceptance of each other over differences which put boundaries between us. This notion was put into practice with the creation of the Flower Communion ritual in Prague in 1924 and has since been adopted by many Unitarian Universalist congregations around the world.
This year the Czech Flower Communion was international and to highlight this interconnectedness, all Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists from around the world are invited to join the Czech Unitarians in this special service. The International Flower Communion will take place in the Unitaria building in Prague on June 10, 2012. A special Flower Communion composition was created for the event by Czech composer Karel Loula, and the service will be recorde/streamed on the web.
If you cannot attend in person, the Czech Unitarians invite Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists from all around the world to send a "virtual flower" – it can be a group photo or a photo from a special event, but the picture should contain a flower, symbolizing the group or individuals. These pictures will be presented during the Flower Communion service together with the flowers brought by participants.
Have your congregation send a virtual flower to the Czech Unitarians as they celebrate their 90th anniversary and view our Flower Communion resources online!
The UU Holdeen India Program (UUHIP) is a powerful expression of Unitarian Universalism’s commitment to social justice. Since 1984, UUHIP has supported organizations of India’s most vulnerable groups as they seek to advance empowerment and promote equity. It is committed to enabling these groups to transform their social and economic conditions in directions of their own choosing.
Derek Mitchell, Director of UUHIP, will be on a trip to the United States this summer to share stories of social transformation at the grassroots level in India.
Find out where the UUHIP Roadshow will be visiting this summer!
From April 12-14 the UU United Nations Office hosted its annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar; this year's theme was "Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration." Check out this recap from the UU-UNO Office:
"We achieved both diversity in our speakers and participants, and, greater understanding and communication across that diversity. There was a clear message from our constituents that immigration must be decriminalized. We heard how important immigration is to the life of any great nation; population growth is to be feared less than we thought. It had been predicted that India and China would decline due to their massive populations, but instead they enjoy amazing economic growth; meanwhile Japan, which has severely restricted immigration, is suffering economic decline." Continue Reading
Related: UU-UNO Director's monthly report (April)
The Spring newsletter from the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Woment (ICUUW) is now available online. Included in this edition are updates on: Initiatives for women and their families in the Philippines; a message from ICUUW President Barbara Beach; updates on the upcoming women's convocation in Transylvania; updates on the Doldol-UU Church of Annapolis livelihood project; and more!
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 104th 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 Unitarian Church of South Africa. It is to be used during April 2012.
We kindle this light in the centre of our circle.
May it symbolise the light and life and warmth
In the centre of our beings.
May it mirror the light of fellow Unitarians here
And around the world.
submitted by the Unitarian Church of South Africa