UUA International Office: United in grief, we get strength from our allies - Archived


Quick News from the UU@UN
Act Globally Spring 2021
Engaging with global Unitarian/Universalism in action
Dear First Unitarian Church of Honolulu,
When any of us in India look back at the past two months, one feels blessed to still be on this side of life, in existence, a part of this world. As the country witnessed the pandemic’s deadly second wave, the sense of fear, loss, and trauma have been palpable in every household.
Unlike last year, this time Covid made no distinction between rich or poor, the powerful or the common man, the urban city dweller or the villager residing in a remote hamlet. The irony is that in a country highly divided by caste, class, and religion, the pandemic has united us, in grief.
As government failed us, we turned to citizen helplines and social media for leads on available oxygen cylinders, drugs, and hospital beds. The worst of that may be over now in bigger cities, but the reality is different in rural areas, where infections go unreported and health facilities have long been crumbling.
The sudden crisis left the UU Holdeen India Program’s partners scrambling to mobilize humanitarian assistance, forcing them to innovate overnight. Some converted their training premises into Covid care centres, which are now being used by community members who have no way to quarantine in their homes or the means to visit hospitals. Other organizations linked up with doctors to provide telemedicine services for the sick. Now that cases are going down in some areas, our partners are focusing on mass vaccination campaigns, fighting hard to dispel myths about the vaccines.
Over these past few months, civil society in India has lost several grassroot leaders and young team members, while many others are still struggling to cope with the loss of loved ones.
Now, we must collectively start the process of healing to address this mass trauma and grief. In this healing, we get strength from our allies. The solidarity expressed by the global UU community has lifted our hearts during these unprecedented times.
Your support has helped our partners to sow more peace, liberty, and justice in India.
With gratitude,
Shreya Bhattacharya
Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program
Holdeen India Program
P.S. If you would like to make a contribution toward our Covid-19 response in India, please donate here.
2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
Leadership positions and save the date
The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations’ annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar will build off of the prior two Seminars’ theme “All In for Climate Justice,” this time focused on climate-forced displacement. In collaboration with UU Ministry for Earth and UUSC, the 2022 Seminar is expected to take place April 22-24, 2022 in New York City, with opportunities to participate online. Join the team to help plan an incredible event! The UU@UN is currently accepting applications for Youth Deans (due July 7), and for members of the Planning Committee and Chaplain team (all ages 14+; due August 9).
Apply w/ UU@UN
Exploring Pathways to Gender Equality

IWC’s Virtual Annual Gathering June 15

Join International Women’s Convocation on June 15 for their Virtual Annual Gathering, where they will create space to connect members and supporters in a dialogue to explore pathways to gender equality! This gathering will unpack some of the inequalities that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated while giving you the opportunity to voice your ideas, questions, and concerns. A short presentation on Advocacy at the UN: Engagement with Global Women’s Rights will be followed by conversations in four facilitated focus groups:

  1. Women and Climate Change (Presenters: Erin Beasley, executive director of Ecosystem Restoration Caps USA; Carmen Capriles, founder of Reacción Climática, Bolivia)
  2. Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights for Young Women (Presenters: Justyna Borusinska, Unitarian leader, Poland; Noel Lutomia, project coordinator, Acacia in Kenya)
  3. Women, Children, Immigration Justice (Presenter: Katia Hansen, President & CEO, UU Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education, USA – UURISE)
  4. Domestic Violence, the “Shadow Pandemic” (Presenters: Gizella Nagy, Unitarian leader, Transylvania; Elgiva Shullai, White Ribbon Campaign Coordinator for the Women’s Wing of North East India Unitarian Union).
Register w/ IWC
United Nations Sunday: Food Equity and Sustainability

Recommended date: October 24, 2021

United Nations Sunday celebrates the work of the United Nations and the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the UN (UU@UN). Each year, the UU@UN encourages congregations to dedicate one service, around United Nations Day on October 24, to celebrate our interdependent world community. The 2021 UN Sunday theme is “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” A collection of UN Sunday resources will be available this month, highlighting the suggested theme and providing readings, a religious education curriculum, a sample order of service, and more.

UN Sunday

An Important Message from International Council of Unitarians and Universalists President Inga Brandes

Dear Leaders of ICUU member groups,

Today I am writing to you in order to share that in yesterday’s EC meeting we received the information that our Executive Director, Revd. Sara Ascher, has been offered and accepted a new job. Sara will leave her position with the ICUU at the end of June 2021.
In the name of the ICUU and our global faith community, I would like to thank Sara for her engaged service to the international community. We wish her all the best for her next career step.
As you all know, we are in a time of transition, collaborating with the UU Partner Church Council to create a new international organization that will meet the needs of our global faith family in new and better ways. We will keep you closely informed and count on you to be willing and ready to consult with us and with each other, in order to chart a way forward together.
Stay safe and healthy!
In faith,
Inga Brandes, ICUU president
Read full message
Global Chalice Lighting June 2021
From the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists
These words are offered by Justine Magara, leader in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kenya.
Swahili Original/Kiswahili
Tunawasha huu mwanga kwa kukaribisha Roho wa uhai katitka maisha yetu Leo na ata milele. Hebu na huu mwanga ufanye upya Imani, uaminifu, amani na upendo ambao ndio picha harisi ya Roho wa uhai. Hebu na huu mwanga utukumbushe kutoa shukurani Kwa Roho wa uhai. Hebu na huu mwanga utukumbushe kwamba tumeumbwa kwa ustadi nasi ni koto Cha muumbaji. Mwenye Siri njinsi ya kuongea na watoto, viziwi, na vipofu. Mwenye amri juu ya mawimbi wakati wakuinuka na kutulia. Hebu na huu mwanga upeleke Dua zetu kwa roho wa uhai, Kwa kumpa utukufu na kuomba msamaha kwa udhaifu wetu.Tunawasha uhu mwanga kwa njia ya kipekee tukiomba uponyaji wa dunia. Hebu na uhu moto uwe ishara ya maombi yetu kwendelea kupaa mbinguni kuwa manukato. Vile uhu moto unaendelea kuungua na mshumaa kuyeyuka, pia na maumivu yetu yayeyuke. Vile uhu moto unaenda juu na mshumaa kuyeyuka, hebu man roho za wapenwa wetu walio lala zipae peponi. Hebu na haya yawe maombi yetu Amina.
English Translation

We light this chalice to welcome the spirit of life into our lives today and forevermore. May this light rekindle the faith, trust, hope, and love which is the true image of the spirit of life and we are made in the spirit’s image. May this light remind us to give thanks to the one and only source of our lives. May this light remind us that we are skillfully crafted and we are the masterpiece of our maker. The one who has great mystery on how to talk with the infants, deaf and blind. The one who speaks to the wind when to move and when to stop. May this light carry our prayers to the spirit of life in giving glory and seeking forgiveness over our brokenness.

We light this chalice in a special way to ask for a divine healing for the Earth. May this flame be the symbol of our prayers, burning continually to the Heavens as a sweet smelling aroma. As this flame continues burning and the wax melts away, let also our pain melt away. As this flame goes up and the wax melts away, let the spirit of our beloved ones who have transformed from this life go in peace and live in paradise. May this be our humble prayer, Amen.

Additional translations into Spanish, Turkish, French, Polish, Dutch, Italian, Danish, Portuguese, and German are available on the ICUU’s website.
Global Chalice Lighting
UUA International Office
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