Amidst global divisions, it's time to unite for democracy.
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
Email not displaying correctly?

Dear ,

I want to start off this Envoy News with an acknowledgement of the overwhelming discouragement so many of us are feeling in the wake of continued attacks on migrants and on the personhood of transgender individuals, antisemitic violence in Pittsburgh, the results of the recent Brazilian election, and so much more. I feel some comfort reading (and rereading) this poem by Mason Bolton, Benediction for a Heavy Heart. We need to remember each of us is there and hold each other in love. At the United Nations, countries that value multilateralism are making an effort to come together and move initiatives forward without relying on some traditional leaders, such as the U.S. and U.K., whose focus is isolationist. Read more about this effort in the United Nations Day blog post written by UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts.

But also... Halloween greetings to all. It's good to take a minute to focus on candy, sharing stories, and trick-or-treating for UNICEF (check out the amazing daily videos!) amidst the chaos of the world's news.

You can find the minutes from our October conference calls held a few weeks ago. Our next meeting will feature a conversation with Derek Mitchell, the Director of the UU Holdeen India Program! You won't want to miss this one, as it's a unique opportunity to hear about the incredible life-changing work that the Holdeen Program is making possible all across India. RSVP here for the November 14 conversation.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or would like further information about anything in this newsletter!

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

For Envoy News Archives, please see the Envoy New webpage.

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

As the world celebrated United Nations Day on October 24, it came at a time when it feels there is little to celebrate for our world community. The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, shared a message to reassure the world that, despite the increasing inequalities, climate change threats, and ongoing conflicts, the United Nations will not give up working working for a better world. None of us can give up at times like these. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office is focusing on forming partnerships to empower the UN General Assembly and those countries and organizations that have traditionally not taken a leadership role, enabling them to confront the permanent members of the Security Council (USA, Russia, China, UK, France) that stand as obstacles to human rights, sustainable development, and world peace. The UU-UNO appreciates the continuing support they receive from congregations and individuals, keeping the Unitarian Universalist voice strong at the UN at time that demands so much of us in so many areas.


Please complete the following tasks by the end of November.

  1. Share details about your congregation's UN Sunday service at

  2. This one's a repeat since there are still only a few on the map: Create an Envoy profile and add your congregation's Envoy or Envoy Team to the map online! You can find the map and instructions at Contact Allison if you have trouble.
Photo by Tomoko Hiramoto
A look behind, a look ahead

October 2: UNO Academic Interns begin semester.
October 8: UUA Offices closed for Indigenous People's Day.
October 16: UU-UNO participates in "To Safeguard Future Generations: Multifaith Responses to the Threat of Nuclear Weapons" at the UN. (Photo above)
October 21: United Nations Sunday.
October 24: United Nations Day.
November 1-7: 2018 Parliament of the World's Religions in Toronto, Canada.
November 6: Election Day in the United States.
November 9: UUA President's Council visits the United Nations and UU-UNO.
November 22-25: UUA Offices closed for Thanksgiving.
December 1: Registration opens for UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar.
December 1: World AIDS Day.
December 3-14: COP24 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland.
December 10: Human Rights Day.
December 10: UU-UNO holds panel discussion on climate justice in NYC.

Valerie Chapman
We at the UU-UNO are terribly saddened by the passing of Valerie Chapman, one of our dearest friends. Our deep condolences go out to her husband and life partner Colin Kerr and to the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Valerie was the Envoy for her Halifax congregation, ably linking her congregation to our office and to the work of the United Nations. She was the Envoy for as long as I can remember. Valerie also served on the UU-UNO Advisory Council to engage Canadian Unitarians Universalists in the work of the United Nations.

Like few others, Valerie saw and thought clearly about how to enhance engagement with the United Nations and our office. She worked with intelligence, with, thoughtfulness, and without ego. She was not a one-issue person, but worked for the good of the organizations she served. She worked well and graciously with others.

Valerie was a regular attendee at our Spring Seminar for as long as her health permitted. During the Spring Seminar, she and Colin would ask for a few minutes with me. I always enjoyed these meetings and I'm sad I will no longer be able to see and hear Valerie. Those moments were full of charm and warmth. I will miss them.

Valerie lives on in our hearts and in our work. We miss her but she remains fresh and cherished in our memories.

- Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director


The following "Time to Act" suggestions for October 2018 will be related to the Fourteenth Sustainable Development Goal: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development - focusing on target 14.4 (By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.) SDG 14? WHY IT MATTERS!

  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch has seafood recommendations to help you choose seafood that's fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment. Share this website (there's also an app!) with your congregation and urge people to have it open to consult when they're shopping for seafood. The site/app is very easy to use and lets you refine your search so you can see the best option. Don't hesitate to ask the folks in the fish department or restaurant for more details about the fish's origins to help you make an educated decision.

United Nations Day was October 24th and many congregations had their UN Sunday services around that date. If your congregation isn't on my list (see below) please let me know and I will add it!

Next Steps: Both of these are required for congregations hoping to achieve Blue Ribbon status this year!
  1. Complete the UN Sunday Report form. (It's easy! It's online!)
  2. Share your UN Sunday Service on the web map. While you're there, take a look at what other congregations have done this or last year! If you have trouble with the function, please email me whatever you'd like to share, and I can put it online for you - or see if someone in your congregation can help!

August 19: UU Congregation of Castine, ME (Bruce speaking)
October 14: Beacon UU Church in Summit, NJ (Bruce speaking)
UU Congregation of the Catskills in Kingston, NY (Allison speaking)
UU Fellowship of Huntington, NY
October 21: First Parish UU in Bedford, MA (Allison speaking)
UU Congregation of Petoskey, MI (Bruce speaking)
UU Church of Arlington, VA
UU Church of Birmingham, AL
Kingston Unitarian Fellowship in Kingston, ON
First Unitarian Church in Wilmington, DE
All Souls UU Church in Watertown, NY
UU Church of Olinda in Ruthven, ON
First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, ON
Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax, NS
Monte Visa UU Congregation in Montclair, CA
October 28: UU Society of Bangor, ME (Bruce speaking)
First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR
Cedar Lane UU Church in Bethesda, MD
November 18: UU Church of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA (Allison speaking)
November 25: Neighborhood UU Congregation in Toronto, ON (Bruce speaking)
December 2: UU Congregation of Central Nassau, NY (Allison speaking)
January 27: Unitarian Society of New Haven in Hamden, CT (Bruce speaking)
March 10: Glacier UU Fellowship in Kalispell, MT (Allison speaking)
March 17: Olympia UU Congregation in Olympia, WA (Bruce speaking)

If your congregation's UN Sunday service is still to come, I'm glad to mail you some donation envelopes to insert in the order of service or add to a display table. Just email me how many and I'll send them along.

Submission deadline February 1, 2018

Did you host a UN Sunday service in October? Did the speaker give an inspiring sermon related to the theme When Crisis Calls: Advancing Just Migration for All? Please encourage that person (maybe it was you!) to submit that sermon to the Dana Greeley Sermon Competition! They could have the chance to win $500 and have their sermon featured on our website and social media. While all submissions will be considered, those highlighting the work of the United Nations and the UU-UNO will be given priority consideration.

Dear Envoys,

The UU-UNO is working with the United nations and its faith-based and secular partners to promote multilateral solutions to global problems. On Tuesday, October 16 we participated in an event called "To Safeguard Future Generations: Multi-Faith Responses to the Threat of Nuclear Weapons" which was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Nigeria, Thailand, and South Africa to the United Nations, together with the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security. That committee was founded in 1970 by Unitarian Universalist minister Rev. Homer Jack and is currently headed by me.

The meeting began with a statement by the Austrian Ambassador to the UN, Thomas Hajnoczi, calling on the world to abolish nuclear weapons. He was followed by Dr. Ira Helfand of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN). He portrayed a bleak picture of how dangerous the world is today with nuclear weapons that are more likely to be used now than at any time since the Second World War. He also said that even a "small" nuclear exchange would likely destroy human civilization.

I then introduced the respondents who echoed the presenter's remarks from the perspective of their faith traditions. These included speakers from the Islamic Society of North America, the Vatican, Evangelicals for Peace, and Soka Gakkai International, a lay-led Buddhist organization.

The UU-UNO is also working with other partners to reform the UN in the following ways: 1. To make the UN General Assembly stronger vis- à-vis the Security Council so that the vast majority of the world's nations can challenge the domination of the Permanent Members of the Security Council which are the USA, Russia, China, France, and the UK. 2. Support the work of medium and small democracies. 3. Enhance civil society access to UN processes and deliberations. All this is to counter the disturbing rise in ethno-nationalism and unilateralism.

Thanks again for all you do.
Bruce Knotts
Director, UU United Nations Office
April 11-13, 2019 - New York City

Our next Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place in New York City, April 11-13, 2019 with youth and their sponsors arriving for orientation in the evening on April 10. The theme for this year's Seminar is gender equity. Start making plans now as Registration will open in December and the rates will go up mid-January. Be an early bird! You can find rates online now.
SPECIAL 2019 YOUNG ADULT RATES! This year's Seminar team hopes for more Young Adults between the ages of 18 and 35 to attend - including those who have attended before as Youth. SO... the Young Adult registration rate for 2019 includes lodging at HI New York! If any Young Adults do not wish to stay at the hostel, there is an additional discount available during the registration process.
Be aware: Youth and their sponsors also will stay at the hostel as part of their registration costs, and other attendees are responsible for finding their own housing.

Find more at

UN Day 2018: We Need the United Nations Now More Than Ever

By Bruce Knotts, UU-UNO Director

As the United States and other nationalist-trending countries pull away from diplomatic circles, Unitarian Universalists must maintain a strong voice at the United Nations. The UU-UNO is working with partners at the UN to strengthen the General Assembly and the impact of civil society for human rights.......

An Educational Experience for President Trump at the United Nations

By Joanne Dufour, Disarmament Volunteer

Trump's memorable visit to the United Nations in September 2018 included a conversation at the Security Council about weapons of mass destruction. During that session, many countries highlighted the need for nuclear powers to comply with existing treaties.......

Toward a Common Path to End the Existential Threat of Nuclear Weapons

By Sarah Nosal, Disarmament Volunteer

At a recent event at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, Chris King from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs addressed the need for countries to come together to find a way to reduce nuclear weapons arsenals.......

Autonomous Weapon Systems: An Ethical Basis for Human Control?

By International Committee of the Red Cross

The risks of functionally delegating complex tasks - and associated decisions - to sensors and data-driven algorithms is one of the central issues of our time, with serious implications across sectors and societies. Nowhere are these more acute than in relation to decisions to kill, injure, and destroy.......

Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Damaging air pollution - A stunning report from the World Health Organization revealed this week that nine in ten children breathe air that is so polluted "it puts their health and development at serious risk." This week the WHO is hosting its first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva.

DRC Ebola outbreak - The UN Security Council has voiced serious concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where civilians and humanitarian workers have come under attach from armed groups, preventing access to address the deadly Ebola outbreak. It is feared that the virus could spread further into the country and the wider region.

Relief in Indonesia - Emergency tents have been delivered by the UN Refugee Agency to provide shelter for 10,000 people who were left without homes after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi in Indonesia in September.

Daily News in Brief - For an easy way to keep track of what's going on at the United Nations and in the world, listen each day to the News in Brief, a daily podcast that's usually under 3 minutes long.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - Every two weeks the UN posts articles and videos summarizing noteworthy news developments over the past two weeks in the UN system. Find it here!       
Find Us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

sent to:

Manage Subscriptions | Unsubscribe

Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza
Suite 7G
New York, NY 10017
United States

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

Unsubscribe | Manage your UUA subscriptions

Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office
777 UN Plaza
Suite 7G
New York, NY 10017
United States