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Faithful International Engagement
General Assembly 2009 Event 2026
Speakers: Rev. Eric Cherry, Claudia Kern.
Do you know how many Unitarians or Universalists (U/U) there are in India, Africa, or Asia? Do you or your congregation want to become more engaged with international U/Us? You can get help and guidance from the Rev. Eric Cherry and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) International Resources Office (IRO).
Do you want to keep up to date on international news? Sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter: I-News.
Do you want to keep in touch with the UUA staff who are working on social justice issues? Check out their blog.
If you are a worship leader, you could begin in a small way by selecting some of the global chalice lighting opening words. These are contributed by U/U congregations throughout the world: Kenya, the Khasi Hills, and more. There are many such international resources.
When making international contacts, Cherry emphasized the importance of being in right relationship with the people you work with. This means our international engagement must emerge from a place of deep humility and must intentionally seek relationships based on equality and mutuality.
During the comment time, one person said she felt she could do more from her desk at home than by traveling and working with her hands alongside less privileged people. In response, Cherry said the process can be more important than the result.
Contacts and communication are important. A visitor from the Spiritual Seekers Society of Hong Kong described how difficult it is to explain the UU religion to Chinese people because it does not fit their preconceptions of a religion. Afterwards, she was contacted by several Chinese-speaking UUs with offers of assistance.
Claudia Kern exemplifies faithful international engagement. She decided she wanted to understand how others live, and if possible to give back a little. Through the UU Holdeen India Project she made contact with the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA). SEWA works to improve the status of poor women in India through education, which in many cases includes the basic skills needed to avoid being exploited. Claudia inspired us with a slide show of her work and the many friends she made in Gujarat, India.
For more information on international engagement, contact the Rev. Eric Cherry (international [at] uua [dot] org) at the UUA IRO.
Reported by Mike McNaughton; edited by Jone Johnson Lewis.