In mid-July the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) concluded two deeply inspiring global conferences in Kerkrade, Holland. The first conference brought together more than 60 Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, and liberal Christian ministers from 15 countries to build collegial relationships and reflect on the subjects of "ministerial calling" and "vocation". I came away from this gathering deeply inspired by the variety of ministries that Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists are offering to their communities and the world. But most importantly I think we all shared a sense of deep commitment to each other and a vision of growing mutual support. The future of Unitarian/Universalist global ministry, and the ties that bind our ministers together, was the sub-text of this gathering. And, our time together strongly suggests that our future will be deeply dynamic, and deeply shared. The second conference brought together a similar number of people to consider the topic, Belonging: Our Unitarian Identities and the Nature of our Relations. Scholarly presentations were offered on a variety of related subjects, with especially rich reflections on the meaning of "covenant" in a global context. With the help of well researched papers, and excellent presentations, we explored the etymology, history, cultural-meaning, and contextual quality of "covenant" and "belonging". Underneath the discussions was a clear sense that we all DO belong to each other, and that there is a sacred aspect to how we belong to each other. But, the terminology, content, and accountability of that "belonging" became increasingly complex. In between the presentations at both conferences attendees gathered for worship, chalice circles, sightseeing, informal conversation, and plain-old fun. While international gatherings of U/Us are not so uncommon any longer, attendees seemed to agree that these two conferences were especially significant for their timeliness and the depth of relationship that they created. Many thanks to ICUU for a spectacular job! Rev. Brian Keily - ICUU President and Minister of the Unitarian Church of Edmonton has blogged extensively about the conferences. And, publications with detailed presentations will also be available.
|Photos from ICUU Ministers and Theology Conferences, 2010|