May 11, 2012
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The Rev. Peter Morales, President of The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), is currently with a delegation of Unitarian Universalists visiting the Every Child is Our Child program partners of the UU-United Nations Office (UU-UNO) in Ghana.
Follow the journey on the Faith Without Borders blog:
UUs partner with the Queen Mothers to provide education for more than 95 children – an important contribution when you consider the over 1000 children they are serving. These children attend three different schools. We were mobbed by what seemed to be a million smiling faces when we arrived at their schools the next day to see this project in action.
We learned of their struggles: one computer for more than 400 students, buildings made of mud that could be washed away in a heavy rain, teachers who do not live locally due to conditions of extreme poverty, the need for meal programs, local libraries and more. We met students who play soccer, who giggle and tell secrets., who want to be teachers, bankers, nurses, lawyers. They are bright, engaging and are just Iike the kids at our neighborhood schools in the US. Continue Reading
Haitian EcoVillage community center project in December '11 (left) and April '12 (right)
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) partnered with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) on another successful joint volunteer trip to Haiti, April 28–May 5, 2012.
Reflections from trip participants, and photos, are available online:
On this journey, we have been toiling away in the sun to build the foundations for homes in the second and third eco-villages, so for most of the group this was the first peek at the original village and at a vision of what their labors on the foundations will evolve into within the next few months. As we crested the ridge above the village, chills ran along my spine and my eyes moistened.
Eleven short months ago there was nothing in this valley but a few trees, and now it is a tapestry of colors — homes with bright pink and lavender flowers, dozens of tire gardens overflowing with everything from bok choy to tomatoes. It really looks like a kind of Eden. I thought to myself that if there exists something that is “the answer” to Haiti’s challenges, it is right here in this place and in these people.
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!
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!
The May newsletter from the UU Global AIDS Coalition (UUGAC) is now available online.
In this edition are updates on: Red Ribbon congregations; New Life School in Uganda; Communities Without Borders; AIDS advocacy efforts at home and abroad; and more!
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 105th 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 Unitarian Universalist Society of Spain. It is to be used during May 2012.
We light this chalice to remember that life is born again every day.
Encendemos este cáliz como recuerdo de que la vida nace de nuevo cada día
—submitted by la Sociedad Unitaria Universalista de España