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Global Unitarian and Universalist community gathers in the Netherlands

By Eric Cherry

From July 17-23, 2016 the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists held its biennial Council Meeting and Conference in the Netherlands.  Nearly 150 people, including a large delegation of Young Adults U/Us from around the world, gathered for planning, study, worship, celebration, and fun.  British Unitarian, John Hewerdine, shared some wonderful photos of the event.

Flickr Slideshow: Flickr slideshow

Photos by John Hewerdine

Program highlights included:

  • 'Chalice Circles' which brought U/Us from diverse cultures into conversation and relationship building throughout the week.
  • Presentations and reflection on the Conference Theme: Sustainability and Climate Change.
  • A participatory process to map out ICUU's mission and programmatic goals.
  • Workshops that centered on Racial Justice work, Lay-Chaplaincy training, Developments in Liberal/Progressive Theology, Accessibility Adaptations for Religious Communities, Resources for the Defying the Nazis film, and much more.

And, the gathered community took an important next step in designing the future of ICUU by designing and unanimously adopting a new Identity and Mission statement:

Inspired by the Spirit of Life and with a commitment to the ideals of freedom and reason in religion. 

We, the member groups of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, affirming our belief in religious community based on

liberty of conscience and individual thought in matters of faith 

the inherent worth and dignity of every person 

justice and compassion in human relations 

responsible stewardship of the earth’s living system 

and our commitment to democratic principles,

Declare the mission of the ICUU is to empower existing and emerging member groups to sustain and grow our global faith community.

ICUU President Dávid Gyero recognizes outgoing ED Rev. Steve Dick

ICUU President Dávid Gyero (right) recognizes outgoing Executive Director Rev. Steve Dick (left)

An especially poignant moment was the recognition of the service of outgoing ICUU Executive Director, Rev. Steve Dick.  Steve, who has served in this role since 2009, was honored and celebrated.  And Rev. Sara Ascher was welcomed as ICUU's new Interim Executive Director.

On the governance front, a new Executive Committee was elected with broad global representation:

  • President: Rev. Gyero Dávid (Hungarian Unitarian Church)
  • Vice-President: Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana (Unitarian Church of Burundi)
  • Treasurer: John (MichMichell (Canadian Unitarian Council)
  • Secretary: Lara Fuchs (European Unitarian Universalists)
  • At Large: Rev. Darihun Khriam (Unitarian Union of NE India)
  • At Large: Inga Brandes (German Unitarians)
  • At Large: Rev. Eric Cherry (UUA)

To close the event, the Unitarian Union of North East India invited the global community to the next ICUU Council meeting, which will be held in ShillongMeghalaya, India in 2018. All are welcome!

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About the Author

Eric Cherry

Eric was the Director of the UUA’s International Office since August 2007. Prior to this Eric served for 12 years as a parish minister with UU congregations in Burlington, Iowa and N. Easton, Massachusetts. Eric has long been involved in the UU Partner Church movement, serving as the English...

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