International Unitarian Universalism

Pan African Cooperative Leadership Retreat

By Sara Ascher

In late July 2018, leaders from nearly every African Unitarian/Universalist community gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a 3-day retreat. This meeting was the culmination of a year-long process to connect our Unitarian/Universalist communities across Africa to one another; to share best practices, difficulties, successes, the wisdom of experience, and fellowship.

We gathered this summer in order to craft a collective African Unitarian/Universalist identity. The leaders from Burundi, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa spent several days discussing how their respective cultures influence their religious perspectives and beliefs. These deep and powerful conversations led to a complex and multifaceted understanding of how Unitarian/Universalist ideas interact with traditional African culture and a sense of urgency that there is great need for our liberal faith in Africa.

In order to help strengthen existing U/U communities in Africa as well as spread the word, the leaders decided to create an African Unitarian/Universalist Manifesto, in which they will express the diversity and power of the African U/U faith. Once the Manifesto is finalized and approved by the local African U/U communities, it will then be shared more widely and used to promote Unitarianism/Universalism in Africa.

Photo of participants at the Pan African Cooperative Leadership Retreat

U/U leaders and hotel staff at the Pan African U/U Leadership Retreat in Nairobi. Left to right: Roux Malan (South Africa), Magara Justine (Kenya), Niragira Francoise (Burundi), Mouanga Gur (South Africa), hotel staff, Rev. Sara Ascher (ICUU), hotel staff, Ndihokabwayo Jean Bosco (Burundi), Ndagijimana Jean Maurice (Rwanda).

About the Author

Sara Ascher

Rev. Sara Ascher has been a Unitarian Universalist her entire life. After graduating from Andover Newton Theological School in 2000 with a Masters of Divinity she spent the next 16 years serving Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States....


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