Envoy News January 2020
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News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

New Year's greetings to you! This new year has brought a strong reminder of the fragility of life on Earth as parts of our beautiful blue planet are burning, drowning, and trembling due to human inaction to address the climate crisis. Meanwhile, people are showing up to unite against authoritarian governments that seek to divide communities. This time is truly challenging us to engage our deepest values and follow those values up with action. Courage, friends.

Here are the minutes from the January Envoy call when we spoke about recent developments at the UN concerning human rights. Our next monthly meeting will be in February: You can RSVP here.

In the coming weeks I'll be reaching out to Envoys to check in on their Blue Ribbon Status. Feel welcome to send me a note if you'd like to know how your congregation is doing towards achieving the Blue Ribbon Award this year. As a reminder, the requirements for Blue Ribbon status must be met by March 31st.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

Some recommended text to put in your congregation's newsletter.

Across the world, Unitarian Universalists are showing up to call for a global shift in climate policy towards justice, sustainability, and zero emissions. As part of this larger movement, we are called to support communities that are on the front lines already experiencing the effects of rising seas, natural disasters, and more from this climate crisis. This will be the topic for the upcoming UU United Nations Office's Intergenerational Spring Seminar, All In For Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet. From April 16-18 in New York City, participants (age 14+) will learn how to act towards a more sustainable and just world. With a focus on global and local efforts to organize for climate justice under the leadership of indigenous communities and youth leaders, the Seminar will ground UU participants in UU responses to the injustices of the climate crisis and equip them with skills to return to their communities as activists. Learn more and register by March 2, 2020 at


Please complete the following tasks by the end of February.

  1. Check in with Allison regarding your Blue Ribbon status. How's your congregation's progress towards accomplishing the 4 requirements before the March 31 deadline?

  2. Send Allison a note if you're planning to attend the upcoming UUA MidAmerica Regional Assembly in Rockford, IL April 18, the UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly in San Luis Obispo, CA April 24-26, 2020, or the CUC National Conference in Halifax, NS May 15-17.

January Review: (1) Submit a sermon for the Dana Greeley Award, (2) Register with a group for the Intergenerational Spring Seminar.

Panelists at High Level Interactive Dialogue for the International Day of Education hosted at the UN Headquarters in New York City January 24, 2020.
A look behind, a look ahead

January 24: International Day of Education (photo above)
January 27:
Deadline to apply for reduced registration for Spring Seminar
February 3: Deadline to register for Spring Seminar at Early Registration rate
February 3: UNO co-sponsors Interfaith Harmony Week Breakfast Dialogue "Reflecting on the Climate Emergency" in NYC.
February 12: Submissions due for Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition
February 17: Deadline to apply for reduced registration for Spring Seminar
February 18: February Envoy Conference Call
March 2: Final deadline to register for Spring
March 8: International Women's Day
March 9-20: Annual Commission on the Status of Women forum at UN Headquarters in NYC
March 10: UNO hosts parallel-event on preventing discrimination against trans folx in healthcare as part of Commission on the Status of Women.
March 17: UNO hosts parallel-event on doulas in at-risk communities as part of Commission on the Status of Women.
March 17: March Envoy Conference Call featuring staff-person from UU the Vote campaign: Bring your questions!
April 15-18: Intergenerational Spring Seminar
All In For Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet.
April 18: UUA MidAmerica Regional Assembly in Rockford, IL.
April 22:
50th Earth Day.
April 24-26: UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly in San Luis Obispo, CA
May 15-17: National Conference and AGM for the Canadian Unitarian Council in Halifax, NS.
May 21-27: Journey to Honduras for migrant justice with UUCSJ.
June 24-28:
UUA General Assembly in Providence, RI.


The following "Time to Act" suggestions for January 2020 will be related to the Twelfth Sustainable Development Goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns - focusing on target 12.5 (By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.) SDG 12? WHY IT MATTERS!

  • This is a great opportunity for congregational action towards sustainability!
  1. Is your congregation already a Green Sanctuary? If yes, you'll likely have already done many of these suggestions; but are congregants following suit at home?
  2. Invest in reusable storage containers at your congregation and use those to store leftover coffee hour snacks instead of using plastic wrap or tin foil.
  3. When the congregation buys supplies, always choose the ones with the least amount of packaging especially plastic. For example: avoid tea bags in individual wrappers, and candy or granola bars with wrappers that are not recyclable.

April 16-18, 2020 - New York City

I hope to see lots of Envoys at the UU-UNO's 2020 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, All In For Climate Justice: People Power Planet! Please be aware of the deadline for Early Registration: February 3, 2020. And remember: Envoys get a $50 discount as well with the code ENVOY. Registration is open through March 2 and those who are attending should consider applying to serve as a Collaboration Group Leader. We have some funds available to cover reduced registration fees for some participants; applications for reduced registration are due on February 17.

2019-20 Dana Greeley Sermon Competition

Did you host a UN Sunday service this fall that featured an inspiring sermon related to the theme Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World? Or perhaps whoever spoke at your UN Sunday service inspired you to write up some ideas of your own? I encourage you to submit a sermon that addresses the theme of intersectional gender equity to the Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition. You have a chance to win $500 and have your sermon featured on our website and social media. Submissions should highlight the work of the United Nations and the UU-UNO and are due February 12, 2020.

Watch last year's winning sermon by Rev. Karen Johnston: "That the Children of Our Children’s Children May Live: Reflections on the Migrant Crisis at the Border" which addressed the 2018/19 theme, When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All.

Join the campaign for electoral justice and engagement

Often people ask us what they can do to help the work of the UU-UNO. The most important thing that we can all do is vote - and help others to register to vote - for local, state, and national governments that will promote respect for human rights, the rule of just and equitable laws, sustainable development, and all the values we hold dear. These shared values include decriminalization (inclusive of racial justice and immigration justice), climate justice (with indigenous partnership), gender-based and LGBTQ equity (inclusive of reproductive justice), and electoral and voting justice. An American government with its mission to the United Nations working for our shared values will make the UU-UNO’s job at the United Nations much easier and more effective.

All our values, our work for justice, the communities we love, and the beloved community we seek to create are under attack. Our religious community must speak with moral courage and act with prophetic clarity and determination in the 2020 U.S. electoral cycle. In this political moment, UUs are called to join forces with all people who want to organize our communities and our nation to #VoteLove and #DefeatHate. Let’s UU the Vote in 2020.

Find more at

Remembering the Past and Mending the Present: the Value of Indigenous Truth & Reconciliation Committees

By Lindsey Mayer, Climate Justice Intern

The United States has made little effort to improve its relationship with Native Americans compared to what other countries have done with indigenous populations. Starting in the 1600s Native American history has been.......

Bouncers and Sleep Deprivation at COP25

By Ahti Tolvanen, Envoy & COP25 delegate

When I arrived at my hotel in Madrid the lobby was abuzz with a crowd of young people from Asia and Romania who had arrived to join Friday's march of half a million people to demand climate action. The most visible public voice was Greta Thunberg, the Swedish.....

When War Was Declared Illegal: The Kellogg-Briand Pact

By Joanne Dufour, Disarmament Volunteer

Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro begin their book, The Internationalists, with the following description of the historic event on August 27, 1928: "On that day, crowds gathered outside the Quai d'Orsay to watch world leaders arrive at the Clock Room in the immense.......

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Climate resilience - Communities in northern Ghana are benefiting from the rehabilitation of water sources that is expected to boost livelihoods and build resilience against climate change, thanks to a project supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Cholera-free Haiti - After a nine-year long cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed close to 10,000 people, this week the country reached the milestone of an entire year free from any new cases of the deadly waterborne disease.

Funding the SDGs - The President of the UN General Assembly urged Member States to support a new panel that has been set up to help make the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality by 2030.

This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors.

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