GA Welcomes International Guests
At last week’s 52nd annual General Assembly the UUA International Office was honored to welcome over one dozen international partners from all over the world as they joined us for the week of workshops, worship, and events in Louisville, KY.
Cross-posted from uuworld.org:
A number of foreign dignitaries were welcomed to General Assembly Friday morning. The Rev. Eric Cherry, director of the UUA’s International Office, introduced the Rev. Kotaro Suzuki of the Hiroshima Dharma Center of Rissho Kosei-kai, one of the UUA’s longtime interfaith partners in Japan. Also on stage were Naoki Taketani, director of Rissho Kosei-kai’s International Group, and Rika Okayasu from the same organization; Dr. Thomas Matthew from the South Asia Chapter of the International Association of Religious Freedom in India; the Rev. Steve Dick, executive director of the International Council of Unitarian Universalists, headquartered in the United Kingdom; the Rev. Petr Samojsky from the Religious Society of Czech Unitarians; Vyda Ng, executive director of the Canadian Unitarian Council; the Rev. Arpad Csete, president of the Transylvania Unitarian Ministers Association; the Rev. Adel Nagy, minister of the Recsenyed Unitarian Church; and the Rev. Bela Jakabhazi, minister of the Nyomat Unitarian Church.
Others were Logan Deimler and Lara Fuchs from the European Unitarian Universalists, representing UU Fellowships in Frankfurt, Germany, and Basel, Switzerland; and Cassius Shirambere, president of the Assembly of Unitarian Christians of Burundi.
The Rev. Rebecca Sienes, president of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines, said the church is grateful for the help it has received over the years from UU groups in the U.S. She shared that the church is embarking on its biggest social justice project—building a two-story dormitory at a university so that female students will have safe housing. “I am sending warmest greetings from your brothers and sisters in faith to this General Assembly,” she said.
View photos from this year’s General Assembly!
In Global Covenant: International Worship
Leaders of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist (UU) communities from around the world led an international worship service on Saturday June 22nd, calling on all who attended to remember the interdependent web of faithful international relationships that shape us.
View video and a transcript of the service:
Our Faith and Interfaith
Unitarian Universalists have been blessed by rich and productive interfaith relationships for more than a century. Through this work we grow in faith and in effectiveness. Bringing together several interfaith partners and presented by the Coalition of International UU Organizations, the workshop explored where we have been, how we have matured, and how we are called to new interfaith opportunities today.
Participants of the workshop included: Cassius Shirambere of the Unitarian Church of Burundi, Dr. Thomas Matthew of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Rev. Rebecca Sienes of the UU Church of the Philippines, and Rev. Kotaro Suzuki of Rissho Kosei-kai.
Pictures From a Hiroshima Schoolyard
In collaboration with All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington, DC, the UUA International Office was pleased to co-present a special film screening of “Pictures From a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” Rev. Rob Hardies of All Souls was on hand to introduce the film and its director/producer team, Bryan Reichhardt and Shizumi Shigeto Manale. Also in attendance were UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, UUA International Office Director Rev. Eric Cherry, and Rev. Kotaro Suzuki, Director of the Chugoku Division of Rissho Kosei-kai and minister of the Dharma Center of Hiroshima.
During this one-hour documentary journey, current parishioners of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington tell the story of A. Powell Davies, the minister in 1946 who, infuriated by the picture of an A-bomb commemoration he saw in a newspaper, inspired his congregation to reach out to children of the decimated city of Hiroshima after the bombing. An incredibly moving story, one congregation’s response to the inhumanity of weapons of mass destruction ends up sowing seeds of reconciliation which reverberate today through the beauty of children’s artwork.