General Assembly 2016: Where Faiths Connect
General Assembly 2016: Where Faiths Connect
Insert photo gallery here The 54th anniversary of the UUA’s General Assembly was a rich and interconnected hub of activity on the international front as we hosted guests representing over eight nationalities. Additionally, numerous events, workshops, and celebrations with an international focus lent an especially diverse atmosphere to this year's annual U/U gathering, garnering visibility and praise for our attending partners, and the organizations they represent, in global Unitarian/Universalism.

Introduction of the Coalition of International U/U Organizations & International Guests

Insert video of presentation here The Global Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist (U/U) Story has a rich past, present, and future. Representatives from our international partners shared wonderful news about our global faith. View the presentation in full above and/or read the transcript. Attending International Partners Rev. David Gyero Hungarian Unitarian Church - Transylvania Lara Fuchs UUs of Basel & UUs of Geneva - Switzerland Rev. Roux Malan Unitarian Church of Cape Town - South Africa Rev. Petr Samojsky Religious Society of Czech Unitarians - Czech Republic Vyda Ng Canadian Unitarian Council Arman Pedro UU Church of the Philippines Tetsuya Higuchi Rissho Kosei-kai - Japan Rev. Jorge Espinel Iglesia de la Gran Comunidad - Colombia

Engaging the Global U/U Story Reception

Insert video of Greeley sermon here

Workshops

Find yourself in the Global U/U Story! There is a variety of internationally themed workshops, worship services, and events taking place in Columbus at this year’s General Assembly! Stop by the UUA Expressway in the exhibit hall to connect with the UUA’s International Office, UU United Nations Office, and UU Holdeen India Program. Connect with the UU Partner Church Council at booth #310, the International Women’s Convocation at booth #312, and UUSC at booth #207.

THURSDAY JUNE 23

9:00A–9:30A EVENT: INTRODUCTION OF INTERNATIONAL GUESTS & INT’L UU ORGANIZATIONS LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER PLENARY HALL

Join us as we extend a warm welcome to all of our international guests during General Session I!

10:45A–12:00P  WORKSHOP: THE UNITARIAN MISSION TO JAPAN: IMPACT AND LESSONS LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

The first comprehensive history of the rarely discussed or understood Unitarian mission to Japan beginning in the late 19th century has recently been published by University of Hawaii Professor Michel Mohr. Professor Mohr will describe his research and participate in a Q&A with a leader from Japanese lay-Buddhist partners from Rissho Kosei-kai. Speakers Prof. Michel Mohr Rev. Kimie Yanagida Rev. Eric Cherry

10:45A–12:00P  WORSHIP: WHERE YOU GO, I WILL GO: CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER E170-172

“Where You Go, I Will Go… Your people will be my people…” (Book of Ruth). Our U*U movements span vast differences in history, culture and theology. Come worship with guests from Transylvania, Philippines, Kenya, and elsewhere, to lift up the joy of partnership across our physical and spiritual boundaries. Speakers Rev. Diane Rollert Barishisha Mukhim Arman Pedro Elizabeth Norton

1:15P–2:30P  WORKSHOP: GROWING FAITHFUL SOLIDARITY: INTERFAITH CONVERSATIONS WITH THE QUR’AN LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

Two national leaders in interreligious engagement, a Quaker and a Muslim, who share profound appreciation for the Qur’an will explore select passages and interpretations that can support UU understanding of the text, inter-religious work generally, and specific interfaith efforts to confront Islamophobia. Speakers Prof. Michael Birkell Naeem Baig Rev. Eric Cherry

1:15P–2:30P  WORKSHOP: HANDS & HEARTS: INTERFAITH COLLABORATION TO SUPPORT SYRIAN REFUGEES LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER BATTELLE GRAND B

This workshop will introduce UUSC’s partners working to address the needs of refugees fleeing violence and oppression in the Middle East. It will also cover service and advocacy opportunities, focusing on what we can do even before refugees arrive: creating a more welcoming environment by addressing anti-Muslim bigotry. Speakers Catherine Orsborn Rev. Abhi Janamanchi Pamela Sparr

3:00P–4:15P  WORKSHOP: INTERFAITH DREAMS COME TO LIFE WITH OUR JAPANESE PARTNERS LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

Since the late 1960s the UUA has been fortunate to be engaged in interfaith relationships with multiple religious organizations in Japan. These relationships have had a profound and long-lasting impact on global interreligious connections and human rights partnerships. Today we’ll celebrate in worship and share excitement for the future. Speakers Rev. Peter Morales Rev. Kimie Yanagida Chuck Wooldridge Dr. William Vendley

3:00P–4:15P  WORKSHOP: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INTERFAITH ACTION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER – HALL F

Learn about delegates’ multifaith and multinational dialogue at COP21, the United Nations climate conference in Paris. This program will address how we can engage in interfaith climate action in our communities and will imagine together the future of UU action against climate change. Speakers Steve Chiu from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Rev. Peggy Clarke Doris Marlin Dr. Jan Dash David Tucker

FRIDAY JUNE 24

12:45P-2:00P EVENT: UU PARTNER CHURCH COUNCIL ANNUAL MEETING & LUNCHEON LOCATION: TBA | TICKETS: TBD

All UUPCC members are invited to attend the UUPCC Annual Meeting and Lunch. You are encouraged to purchase your lunch ticket in advance. Remaining tickets will be sold during GA at the UUPCC  booth (#310) in the exhibit hall through Thursday, June 25. There is no ticket required to attend the Annual Meeting if you are not coming for lunch.

3:00P-4:15P WORKSHOP: BLACK LIVES MATTER OUTSIDE OUR BORDERS LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER – BATTELLE GRAND A

This program will address institutionalized inequalities and discrimination faced by individuals around the world, emphasizing racism against people of African descent. Participants will gain a greater understanding of economic inequalities and explore how people of faith can work together to combat this force. Speakers Bruce Knotts Dr. Janice Marie Johnson Robert Hawkins Amber Moulton

3:00P–4:15P WORKSHOP: FAITH AND INTERFAITH ENCOUNTERS IN INDIA LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

UUism’s encounters with India’s religions are multifaceted: They include Hindu influences on Unitarian theology, visits to US congregations by Swamis Vivekenanda and Yogananda, 19th century mission work in Kolkata, and partnerships with the Brahmo Samaj and Indian Unitarians today. Discover these stories and how they inform initiatives like the UU Holdeen India Program. Speakers Rev. Mahesh Uphadyaya Barishisha Mukhim Rev. Abhi Janamanchi Derek Mitchell

4:45P–6:00P WORKSHOP: GRASSROOTS INTERFAITH COMMUNITY BUILDING AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

Anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise. This religious and racial prejudice reverberates through many communities outside the American Muslim community. Religions for Peace USA’s “Our Muslim Neighbor” initiative will share stories of building stronger communities and the transformations that occur in faith and relationship in the fight against Islamophobia. Speakers Rev. Eric Cherry Aaron Stauffer Rev. Peg Chemberline Zaynab Ansari

6:00P–7:30P EVENT: UUA INTERNATIONAL RECEPTION LOCATION: HILTON — ROBERT KING | RSVP BY JUNE 20

Join us for an evening of celebration during General Assembly hosted by the UUA International Office, the UU United Nations Office and the UU Holdeen India Program. The Global U/U Story spans centuries and continents. Its chapters have been, and will be, shaped by the lives and ministries of faithful people from around the world. Join us for an evening that celebrates chapters of the story from the past, present and future. The Program
  • Welcome and introduction of U/U and interfaith leaders from around the world.
  • An excerpt from UU UNO’s 2016 Dana Greeley Sermon Award winning sermon
  • Recognition of the 2016 UU UNO Blue Ribbon Congregation Awards.
  • A presentation of Justicemaking work in India.
  • And more!
There will be a cash bar, and light refreshments will be provided.

SATURDAY JUNE 25

7:00A–8:30A EVENT: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S CONVOCATION ANNUAL BREAKFAST & MEETING LOCATION: HILTON — ELIJAH PIERCE A | TICKETS: $35 TBD

IWC looks forward to seeing you there as we continue to grow and work together, dedicated to enriching the lives of our sisters, women or girls, around the globe.

7:00A–8:30P EVENT: UU-UNO ENVOY BREAKFAST LOCATION: HILTON – EDNA BOISE HOPKINS ROOM | $25 TBD

Join fellow Envoys and prospective Envoys at GA for a breakfast with the UU-UNO’s Envoy Coordinator, Allison Hess. At this event, we will get to know each other and share some Envoy tips and tricks!

Breakfast will be provided, buffet-style.

3:00P–4:15P WORKSHOP: HOW THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS UNITE TO END TORTURE LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

Religious leaders from diverse backgrounds are responding to the call from International Bridges to Justice to stop torture as an investigative tool. Hear TED Talk award winner, and UU minister Rev. Karen Tse describe the impact of IBJ’s work in partnership with the Interfaith community. Speakers Rev. Karen Tse

3:00P–4:15P WORKSHOP: PIERCING THE HEART, HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION CHANGING LOCATION: CONVENTION CENTER — HALL E

Over 9000 young adults in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, have received human rights education moving them from being passive witnesses of abuse to defenders of others’ rights. Partnered with IARF, Brother Albert Xaviour, program director in India, asks Unitarian Universalists to look at his human rights education asking, “If not now, when?” Speakers Brother Albert Xaviour Rev. Dr. Doris Hunter Dr. Barbara Beach

4:45P–6:00P WORKSHOP: INTERFAITH & INTERNATIONAL: THE UU DISCIPLINE OF COLLABORATION LOCATION: HYATT — DELAWARE AB

Unitarians and Universalists were leaders in the first Parliament of World Religions. This interest in providing neutral space for multifaith collaboration continues today. UU voices facilitate interfaith work at the UN. International U*U congregations are often multi-faith in nature. Come and encounter stories of bridge-building and partnership. Speakers Bruce Knotts Rev. Jill McAllister Claudia Espinel Rev. Carol Huston

6:00P–7:30P EVENT: INTERFAITH ACTIVISTS NETWORKING LOCATION: HILTON — EMERSON BURKHART AB | FREE: RSVP BY JUNE 24

Have you been an Interfaith Activist locally, nationally or globally? Did you attend the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City – or a previous one? Are you a supporter of the International Association for Religious Freedom? Do you connect with United Religious InitiativesReligions for Peace-USA or other similar organizations? Would your Interfaith Activism benefit from closer networking with other UU Interfaith Activists? Are you interested in becoming an interfaith activist but don’t know where to begin? Please join us on Saturday June 25, 2016, 6:00pm-7:00pm for a 1-hour networking gathering during the UUA General Assembly in Columbus, OH to discuss interest and next steps. Participation will be possible from onsite and offsite. The meeting will include brief presentations about resources available for Interfaith Activists in various contexts – including the interfaith engagement materials for the upcoming Ken Burns documentary about Martha and Rev. Waitstill Sharp’s human rights work during WWII – Defying the Nazis: The Sharp Story. We’ll also discuss tentative planning for an International Interfaith event in 2018.

About the Author

For more information contact international@uua.org.

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