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United Nations Sunday

What is UN Sunday?

United Nation (UN) Sunday celebrates the work of the United Nations and your Unitarian Universalist (UU) United Nations Office. Each year we encourage congregations have a service and/or event to celebrate!  We create a UN Sunday Resource Packet (available for download under "Print Ready PDF's" on the right side of this browser window) which highlights our suggested theme and provides readings, an RE curriculum, planning meeting agenda, order of service (including hymns) and more!  Additionally, there are suggested readings on the International Resources blog page.  Our UN Sunday theme is based on our April Intergenerational Spring Seminar topic.  Our 2013 theme is: Sex, Love and Violence: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Globalized World.  Please address lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT) human rights issues on local and global scales.  

As UN Day is October 24th, we invite you to hold the 2013 service and/or event on October 20th.  If this date in unavailable, try another weekend in October and if October is booked feel free to contact the Envoy Coordinator for alternative dates supportive of the theme.  

Learn more about UN Day and how you can celebrate below.  

What You Can Do

We encourage Ministers, Lay Leaders as well as Youth and Adult Envoys to take advantage of our prepared materials and/or develop your own ideas for a UN Sunday service. We especially encourage a multigenerational service, so be sure to include children and youth in UN Sunday! Check out our UN Religious Education curriculum for some inspiration on how to get all ages involved. Often, a UU-UNO Envoy or even a special UN speaker presents the sermon. Sermons can be submitted to our Dana Greeley Award competition for a chance to be featured on this website, receive an honorarium, and present the sermon at a United Nations Office event during the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (see more information on this below).

Additionally, we ask congregations to dedicate their UN Sunday offering to support the work of the UU-UNO, and to inform their members of the benefits of membership. The UU-UNO exists to provide a unique UU perspective at the United Nations. We depend on individual and congregational support. We hope to receive your support, your involvement, your engagement and your enthusiastic membership to change the world so that every person can enjoy a safe and dignified life. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office thanks participating congregations for their time and commitment to the values shared by both the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the UN. As the activist Dorothea Dix said, “Where there is so much to be done, there must be something for me to do.”

Our UN Sunday theme follows our Intergenerational Spring Seminar topic. Our 2013 focus was on LGBTQ Human Rights. Find your Envoy for assistance and to learn more. Don't have an Envoy yet? Contact our Envoy Coordinator for assistance and materials.

  • Contact Envoy Coordinator,
  • Download our 2013 UN Sunday Resource Packet (see right side menu under "Print Ready PDF's") to get started today! This packet includes a suggested planning meeting agenda, suggested readings (with more suggestions available on our International Resources Blog), an example Order of Service with suggested hymns, religious education materials and more!
  • UUA Worship calendar
  • Find out more about our Intergenerational Spring Seminar

May each UN Sunday be inspiring to all.

Dana Greeley Award

The UU-UNO invites submissions of sermons or addresses that speak to building a more just international community. The award honors the memory of Reverend Dana McLean Greeley, the first president of the Unitarian Universalist Association and a strong support of the United Nations. Winners receive a $500.00 honorarium and the opportunity to deliver their winning address at Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly.

The sermon theme should follow the topic of the most recent Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Papers highlighting the work of the UN and the UU-UNO will enjoy priority consideration.

Winner of the 2012 Award—Beyond Borders, Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration—Dylan Debelis, Originally from Portland, OR

Dylan Debelis is a first year Masters of Divinity student studying at Union Theological Seminary and is currently an Aspirant for Unitarian Universalist Ministry. He is a politically oriented spoken word poet who performs around New York City living out an ever-present goal of giving voice to the voiceless. Dylan has been an intern for the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office for over one year and currently serves on the UU-UNO's Ministerial Outreach Committee. He is also the New York Outreach Coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist organization Promise the Children that uses congregational advocacy to fight for children's rights locally and nationally.


2013 theme: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Globalized World

  1. Sermons must be the original work of the individual submitting and must not have been published previously. Though copyright of the sermon will remain the property of the preparer, the UU-UNO will have initial rights to publish and print the sermon and any further use of the sermon in print will acknowledge the UU-UNO’s Rev. Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition as the source of inspiration.
  2. All quotations must be documented. The sermon should be 2,500 words or less.
  3. Submissions will be accepted electronically in Word or pdf format. The text must be typed, double-spaced, and in Times New Roman, 12pt font.
  4. Submissions should include a brief cover letter about the author, including contact information (telephone, mailing address, email address). Do NOT include your name on the typed pages of the sermon entered, as all entries will be judged anonymously. Do number the pages sequentially. Send submissions to
  5. Content of the sermon: While all submissions will be considered, those highlighting the work of the United Nations and the UU-UNO will be given consideration. Be sure to read our mission and programs.
  6. Submit your sermon:


Following World War II, the United Nations (UN) was founded on  October 24, 1945. The UN is a global association of governments that facilitates cooperation in international law, security, economic development, and social equality. With aims to protect human rights and achieve world peace, it is a center for governments to communicate and develop strategies to reach these ends. Since its founding, October 24 has been called United Nations Day. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending that the day be observed as a public holiday by Member States.

In celebration of this annual event, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) invites congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists to deepen their understanding of the United Nations by devoting one service in October to reaffirming the connections between Unitarian Universalist (UU) principles and vital issues dealt with at the UN. Usually, congregations organize a UN Sunday for the last Sunday in October, but any Sunday in October would work.

For a brief and insightful history of United Nations Day and the UU-UNO, check out "They called it UN Day (PDF)" by Frank B. Frederick, a UU lawyer who was involved with starting UN DAY and the UU-UNO.


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Last updated on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

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Dana Greeley Award Winner Dylan Debelis for his sermon focusing on the 2012 Spring Seminar topic and UN Sunday theme Beyond Borders: Breaking Barriers of Race and Immigration.  

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