Introduction of International Guests, General Assembly 2018

UUA General Assembly Off-site Participation: Kansas City, Missouri | 2018

Part of General Assembly 2018 Event 303: General Session III

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions of General Session III (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.

Elandria Williams: [Slide #1] We welcome UU leaders from around the world to General Assembly each year, and extend our gratitude to them.

Many have traveled a long distance to share their experience, their wisdom, and their faithful solidarity during challenging times.

To introduce them to you, please welcome Rev. Eric Cherry, the Director of the UUA International Office.

Eric Cherry: Thank you. We say these leaders are “Guests” as a reminder to American Unitarian Universalists that hospitality is our privilege and responsibility when people journey here. In fact our “Guests” are leaders of our global faith: your leaders. As we welcome them, please note the commitment they bring to our faith every day. And, we hope you will be inspired to explore how your local UU community can find itself within the global U/U story and engage supportively.

[Slide #2] Dr. Rica Lamar is a physician and social activist, focusing her energies on issues relating to drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and the health and welfare of women and children. She is the co-founder and Chief Functionary of Manbha Foundation, an organization working in the field of Drug Abuse, HIV and Women/Children’s empowerment. She is also a leader of the Unitarian Union of Northeast India’s Women’s Wing: Seng Kynthei. Dr. Rica is focusing on a project to adapt and teach the Our Whole Lives curriculum in North East India.

Prof. Rupaia Lamarr is a church elder of the Unitarian Church of Jowai, North-East (NE) India, which is the pioneer church established in 1887 by founder Hajom Kissor Singh. He was born to a second generation Unitarian mother and an indigenous religion (Niam- tre) practicing father. Professionally he has taught Political Science in Government Colleges for 30 years and recently retired. Rupaia is the Vice-Chairperson of the Church and the chairman of the Hymnal Committee. And he is one of the 5 U/U theologians from around the world who are leading a year-long theological dialogue inspired by the 450th Anniversary of the Edict of Torda.

Dr. Diptymoyee Das is a retired principal of government college, Jowai. She has done her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy and her doctoral thesis ‘Gandhi’s Doctrine of Truth and Non- Violence: A Critical Study’ has been published as a book. She has an interest in the Philosophy of Religion. She belong to ‘Ek Saran Naam Dharma’ faith a school of Hinduism in Assam. Through her marriage she came into contact with the Unitarian faith. She is an active participant in church activities and has also participated in UU conferences and pilgrimages abroad. She lives with her husband Rupaia and daughter Kheinkor.

[Slide #3] Reverend Norbert Zsolt Racz is the Minister of the Central Unitarian Church in Kolozsvár, Transylvania. He is a graduate of Hungarian Unitarian Church’s John Sigismund College and the Protestant Theological Institute In Kolozsvár. Before being called to serve the Church in Kolozsvár he worked for the Hungarian Unitarian Youth Association: ODFIE. He is married to Reverend Mária Racz. Norbi, as he prefers to be called, is also one of the 5 U/U theologians from around the world who are leading a year-long theological dialogue inspired by the 450th Anniversary of the Edict of Torda.

Rev. Lidia-Emese Bodor was born and raised in Cluj- Napoca/Kolozsvár, Romania. She finished her high school years at the János Zsigmond Unitarian High School. After that she studied at the Protestant Theological Institute and became a Unitarian minister. At the end of her studies she returned to the János Zsigmond Unitarian High School and started work as a religious teacher and school chaplain. For the last eight years most of her work has been related to children, youth and a variety of educational issues. She believes in the importance of education and loves working with students. This year Emese has been the Starr King School for the Ministry Balazs Scholar.

[Slide #4] Paul Niyonizigiye is a member of the Allen Avenue UU congregation in Portland, Maine—but he is originally from Bujumbura, Burundi and served as a leader of the Unitarian church there before coming to the US. In Bujumbura he worked as a high school teacher and administrator, and supervised community-based grants on behalf of the Unitarian church. He continues to be involved with Burundian Unitarians, especially those who are refugees in Rwanda due to dangers in Burundi—and we introduce you to him today at his request that we all remain in faithful solidarity with Burundian Unitarians in whatever country they may be living in.

[Slide #5] Rev. Dave Clements is excited to be serving as the Interim Minister to the Cape Town South Africa Unitarian congregation. Cape Town is a beautiful place to be serving and the Unitarian church is celebrating all this year their 150th anniversary. Ministry is a second career for Dave, he was a organizational and fundraising consultant and he is finding those skills very useful in his ministry calling. Home base for Dave is Cleveland Ohio where his partner Jerry resides. Dave is a Meadville Lombard alumni and in his spare times enjoys painting and quite walks along the beach. If you have never been to South Africa come and discover the Unitarian church and the people. You will have a life changing experience.

[Slide #6] Visit us online to find doorways into the Global U/U Story, including ways to join the global UU celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Edict of the Edict of Torda and the upcoming Reimagining Interfaith Cooperation event that will take place in Washington DC from July 29-August 1.

Welcome into the Global U/U Story. And, please welcome global U/U leaders around the world at GA this year.

Thank you.