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United Nations Sunday
United Nations Sunday
International Engagement & Building Peace

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What is UN Sunday?

United Nations (UN) Sunday celebrates the work of the United Nations and your Unitarian Universalist (UU) United Nations Office. Each year we encourage congregations to have a service and/or event to celebrate!  We create a UN Sunday Resource Packet which highlights our suggested theme and provides readings, an RE curriculum, planning timeline and checklist, order of service (including hymns), and more! Download the 2019 UN Sunday Packet here (PDF, 36 pages).  Our UN Sunday theme is based on our April Intergenerational Spring Seminar topic. Our 2019 Theme is Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World.

As UN Day is October 24, we invite you to hold the 2019 service and/or event on Sunday, October 27. 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 select a date that works for your congregation.

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

UN Sunday Resources

The complete 2019 UN Sunday Packet, on the theme of intersectional gender equity, is available to download: 2019 UN Sunday Packet (PDF, 36 pages)

Additional UN Sunday resources

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. Many congregations invite UU-UNO staff to speak. Sermons can be submitted to our Dana Greeley Sermon Competition (see more information on this below).

Additionally, we ask congregations to dedicate their UN Sunday offering to support the work of the UU-UNO. The UU-UNO exists to provide a unique UU perspective at the United Nations. We depend on individual and congregational support to keep this work going. 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.”

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 will be presented with a $500 prize and they will be honored at the upcoming UUA General Assembly or Canadian Unitarian Council National Conference, and a video of the winning sermon will be featured on the UUA's website.

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. Learn more about the Greeley Sermon Competition.

History of UN Day

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.

Resources from Prior Years' Themes

A resource packet is created each year by the UU-UNO to help congregations plan a UN Sunday service pertaining to that year's theme. While some of the information may be out of date, you may find these resources useful:

2018 UN Sunday Packet (PDF): When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration For All

2017 UN Sunday Packet (PDF): Arm in Arm: Interfaith Action to Disarm Our Planet

2016 UN Sunday Packet (PDF): The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences

2015 UN Sunday Packet (PDF): International Criminal Justice: From Punitive to Restorative

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