Religious Freedom: A Year of Dialogue, Study, and Reflection
Join a Year-Long Theological Dialogue
Connect as part of a pilgrimage, by online video conference, with a small group, or individually. Each month you'll find a specific opportunity for engagement.
January 17, 2018, 8pm (US-Eastern) Webinar and Reflection: Grounding and Context
The year of reflection with study and exploration of the history, context, and current relevance of the Anniversary of the Edict of Torda began with a webinar. You can find the archived Grounding and Context video on YouTube. And, we invite you to engage with this reflection module individually or with a small group.
February Dialogue: Theology and U/U Identity
The first of five formal gatherings of U/U theologians from around the world took place in Kathmandu, Nepal during the Conference and Council meeting of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) on Wednesday, February 14. This dialogue focused on how Theology informs U/U Identity.
You can find the archived Theology and U/U Identity dialogue on YouTube.
March Reflection: Theology and U/U Identity
After watching the dialogue, engage in individual or small group reflection using the small group ministry module designed for the month of March.
April 7, 2018 Dialogue: Freedom and Resistance
The second gathering of our global theologians took place at The Community Church (UU), New York City, on April 7, 2018 as the final event of the annual UU United Nations Office Spring Seminar. The dialogue focused on how U/U theology guides and sustains us as leaders and partners in Resistance movements.
You can watch the archived Freedom and Resistance dialogue on YouTube. And you can read transcripts of the first two speeches here: first from Rupaia Lamarr (PDF, 3 pages), and then from Ellen Nugroho (PDF, 4 pages).
May Reflection: Freedom and Resistance
After watching the dialogue, engage in individual or small group reflection using the small group ministry module designed for the month of May.
June Dialogues and Celebration During UUA GA
The Torda450 theologians gathered twice in June. First, for a theological dialogue during UUMA Ministry Days. And, second, for a UUA General Assembly workshop that included a review of Torda450 events this year, and a brief theological dialogue.
Please enjoy an archived version (video) of the dialogue during UUMA Ministry days
July 9, 2018 Dialogue: Tradition and Freedom in Global U/Uism
The fifth gathering of our global theologians was held in Kolozsvár, Transylvania (Romania) during the Inauguration of the Hungarian Unitarian Church's new Religious Freedom Center.
You can read the dialogue "Freedom Is a Verb" (PDF, 4 pages) offered by Rev. Racz Norbert.
September 2018 Dialogue [postponed to October, date TBD]: The Role of Classical/Traditional Unitarianism in the 21st Century
The fourth gathering of our global theologians will take place online, like a 21st century analog to the in-person Diet of Torda. The dialogue explores how Unitarian theology informs global U/Uism in the 21st century.
October Reflection: The Role of Classical/Traditional Unitarianism in the 21st Century
After watching the dialogue, engage in individual or small group reflection using a small group ministry module available here on October 1.
November 2018 Dialogue [date TBD]: The Challenges of 'Universality' and Multiple Spiritual Identities
The location of the fifth and final gathering of the theologians is yet to be determined. However, the conversation will address Unitarian/Universalism's role in contexts where people have multiple spiritual identities.
December Reflection: The Challenges of 'Universality' and Multiple Spiritual Identities
After watching the dialogue, engage in individual or small group reflection using a small group ministry module available here on December 1.
January 2019 Webinar: A Look Back, and a Look Ahead
We'll gather online to explore what discoveries and understandings emerged through Torda450's Year of Dialogue, Study and Reflection.
Sign up for more updates.
The primary leaders and guides for the year-long dialogue are five Unitarian and UU theologians from around the world:
Rupaia Lamarr is a church elder of the Unitarian Church of Jowai, North-East (NE) India, which is the pioneer church established in 1887 by founder Hajom Kissor Singh. He was born on 2 March, 1958 to a second generation Unitarian mother and an indigenous religion (Niam- tre) practicing father. He studied Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and also has a degree in Law. Professionally he has taught Political Science in Government Colleges for 30 years and recently retired as Principal of Capt. Williamson Memorial Government College, Baghmara, Megalaya.
Rupaia is an active member of the Unitarian Community and from an early age has been greatly involved in church life. As a young adult he became involved in various executive and administrative offices of the church. His background of growing up in a home with parents practicing different religions has been instrumental in his spiritual growth. This fact along with his passion for an academic life led him towards becoming more involved in reading and having various discourses on religious philosophy, scriptures and academic work. His key areas of interest are that of Unitarian Identity, Spirituality, God, and having a conceptual understanding of church. He is also keenly interested and well versed upon the subject of the history and evolution of Unitarianism - Ka Niam Mane Wei Blei in NE India.
At present Rupaia is the Vice-Chairperson of the Church and the chairman of the Hymnal Committee. He is also a member of the Constitutional Review Committee and engaged in the leadership training of ministers and church workers. He has also participated in various seminars and conferences on Religion and Spirituality and has recently returned from the pilgrimage to Romania organised by UUPCC Rupaia resides in Jowai with his wife Dipty who is Hindu and daughter Kheinkor.
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijamana
Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence is an ordained Unitarian Minister from Burundi in the central part of Africa. He discovered the liberating Unitarian faith power when he was going through a time of doubt and restlessness as a young Dominican brother on his way to priesthood. He went on to found a Unitarian church in Bujumbura Burundi and became its ordained minister in 2011.
With the recent unrest in Burundi, the Unitarian church was targeted by the government; attacked and vandalized. The Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana was kidnapped, tortured, threatened to be killed and jailed. He managed to escape Burundi as a result a tremendous pressure from UUs around the world who signed petitions, wrote letters to the government to release him and later helped him leave the country.
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana is passionate about our liberal faith. He is currently the vice president of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU). Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence is married to Therese and a proud father of Well Brown Bwigenge.
Ellen Nugroho is the mother of three homeschooled children living in Semarang, Central Java province of Indonesia. She was the co-founder of the Unitarian Christian Church of Indonesia when she was in high school. Now she is a Unitarian Universalist who firmly believe in the true one merciful and just G-d beyond any religious or ideological boundaries who entrusts in us the mission to repair ourselves and the world with lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness.
Ellen holds degrees of bachelor in law and master in philosophy. She is the author of two books: the theological “Not God but Lord” (2005) and the educational “A Thinking Love” (2012). She serves as the executive director of EIN Institute, a non-governmental organization working to promote pluralism especially among young people.
Dr. Stephanie Y. Mitchem
Dr. Stephanie Y. Mitchem was graduated from Northwestern University-Garrett Theological Seminary in 1998 and has been a professor of religious studies and women and gender studies at University of South Carolina, since 2005. Author of several books, including African American Folk Healing, Introduction to Womanist Theology, and African American Women Tapping Power and Spiritual Wellness (out of print, in revision). She has numerous essays and extensive editorial work. Her next book, expected this year from Lexington Books, is Race, Politics, and Religion: Toward Human Rights in the United States.
Stephanie would call education her ministry because for her, teaching and learning are acts of resistance and freedom and joy. She believes that these acts of education can serve to deepen our humanity. And all of these—education, resistance, freedom, joy, deepening of humanity—are, for her, at the heart of Unitarian Universalism as our communities co-construct theologies.
Rev. Norbert Racz
Reverend Norbert Zsolt Racz is the Minister of the Central Unitarian Church in Kolozsvár, Transylvania. He is a graduate of Hungarian Unitarian Church's John Sigismund College and the Protestant Theological Institute in Kolozsvár. Before being called to serve the Church in Kolozsvár he worked for the Hungarian Unitarian Youth Association: ODFIE. He is married to Reverend Mária Racz. Rev. Racz was a principle speaker during the 2016 Minns Lectures series "Sources of a Global Faith."