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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 (PDF, 25 pages) which highlights our suggested theme and provides readings, an RE curriculum, planning meeting agenda, order of service (including hymns) and more! Request a materials box by contacting the Envoy Coordinator.  Our UN Sunday theme is based on our April Intergenerational Spring Seminar topic. Our 2014 theme is: Sacred Roots: Indigenous Rights, Resistance, and Reclamation. Please address Indigenous human rights and environmental issues on local and global scales.

As UN Day is October 24th, we invite you to hold the 2014 service and/or event on October 19th. If this date in unavailable, try another weekend in October. If October is booked, check the UN Sunday Resource Packet for alternate dates or 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

Here is the 2014 UN Sunday Packet:

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 have updated our packet to better assist those involved with the planning and execution of the service or event.

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. Many congregations invite UU-UNO staff to speak. 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 becoming supporters. 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 financial donations 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 2014 focus was on Indigenous Human Rights and Environmental Justice. Find your Envoy for assistance and to learn more. Don't have an Envoy yet? Contact our Envoy Coordinator for assistance and materials.

May each UN Sunday be inspiring to all.

UN Sunday's on record as of 10/17/14 

UU Church of Surprise, AZ—September 28 

Kingston Unitarian Fellowship—October 5

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church—October 5

Fourth Universalist Society—October 12

Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax—October 19

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick—October 19

First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco— October 19

First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee—October 19

Central Unitarian Church of Paramus—October 19

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Salisbury—October 19

First Unitarian Toronto—October 19

Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation—October 26

First Parish Church of Fitchburg—October 26

First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa—October 26

Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo—October 26

South Fraser Unitarian Congregation—October 26

First Unitarian Church of St. Louis—October 26

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Watertown—October 26

First Unitarian Society of Plaifield—November 2

Grand River Unitarian Congregation—February 8

The Unitarian Church in Westport—February 22

Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica—February 22

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship—March 8

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 or Canadian Unitarian Council Annual Conference Meeting (CUC ACM).

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 2013 Award—Sex, Love and Violence: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Globalized World— Morristown Unitarian Fellowship congregants George Hays, Gabor Kiss, Shari Loe, Sarah Matsushima, and James McCormack 

This winning team attend the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morristown, New Jersey. Shari Loe and Sarah Matsushima are part of the envoy team at the congregation.

George Hays, an engineer who studied at Starr King, then worked in industry until retiring in 1999 after 34 years, has filled numerous leadership roles at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, and pursued a variety of projects with other non-profits as well. George and Beverly, his wife of 43 years, live in Morristown, NJ, and run a divorce mediation practice.

Gabor Kiss is a software engineer, married father of two, and a first generation Hungarian immigrant. An active member of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship who is fluent in Hungarian, the language of the Transylvanian Unitarians, he is particularly involved with the Partner Church Movement. Per Gabor, "UU is where you go to get your answers questioned."

Shari Loe is an attorney at AT&T and married mother of three children (including Sarah Matsushima). A lifelong UU, she has served as UU UNO Envoy to the Fellowship for five years, teaches middle schoolers in the Religious Education program and has been on the Board of Trustees.

Sarah Matsushima is a 2014 graduate of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ, as well as the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college Division. A 2013 summer intern at the UU UNO, Youth Envoy for two years, on the Spring Seminar 2014 Planning Committee, and co-Head HOTY (Head of the Youth) for the same Seminar, she plans to attend Berklee College of Music

James McCormack is a rising junior at Morris Knolls High School in New Jersey. James has attended many UU cons, Camp Unirondack and for the past 2 years the UU-UNO Spring Seminar. He is now a Youth Envoy for the Fellowship. Being a UU motivates him to keep going and living to the fullest.


2014 theme: Sacred Roots: Indigenous Rights, Resistance and Reclamation

  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 unitednations [at] uua [dot] org.
  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: unitednations [at] uua [dot] org.


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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