Envoy News May 2020
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News and updates from the UU@UN to keep you informed.
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Dear ,

Normally, this is an extremely busy time around our office as we get ready to welcome our summer interns while also preparing for workshops and events at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly. This time has called for a lot of rethinking in response to the UUA's guidance for congregations and staff to make plans for virtual operations to continue through this time next year. In the immediate moment, we at the UU@UN are considering how to make a virtual internship a meaningful experience and exploring how to be "present" during the virtual General Assembly when we will not be hosting workshops or receptions.

On behalf of the UU@UN I am happy to announce the list of 2019-2020 Blue Ribbon Congregations below! Congratulations and thank you to those congregations for their dedication to global engagement and inclusion.

Keep an eye out later in June for United Nations Sunday resources. They're under development now, but while you wait I encourage you to start talking with the worship schedulers at your congregation to set a date for your UN Sunday service this fall. The recommended date is October 25 (closest Sunday to UN Day, Oct 24) and, again, this year's UN Sunday theme is All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet.

Here are the minutes from the May Envoy Check-in conference call. Our next call will be June 16. Please RSVP here. Take good care, everyone.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

Proudly announcing 2020 UU@UN Blue Ribbon Congregations

The UU@UN is proud to announce the following congregations who have achieved 2019-2020 Blue Ribbon status. Congratulations! Congregations will be recognized online this year since we're not able to gather at national conferences in person. To learn what it takes to be a Blue Ribbon Congregation, take a look at our website.

  • South Fraser Unitarian Congregation (Surrey, BC)
  • First Unitarian Church of Victoria (Victoria, BC)
  • Chalice Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Conejo Valley (Thousand Oaks, CA)
  • Unitarian Society of New Haven (Hamden, CT)
  • The Unitarian Church in Westport (Westport, CT)
  • First Unitarian Society of Wilmington Delaware (Wilmington, DE)
  • North Shore Unitarian Universalist Society (Lacombe, LA)
  • The First Parish in Bedford, Unitarian Universalist (Bedford, MA)
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Salisbury (Salisbury, MD)
  • Morristown Unitarian Fellowship (Morristown, NJ)
    • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington (Huntington, NY)
    • Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset, NY)
    • Unitarian Church of Staten Island (Staten Island, NY)
    • All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (Watertown, NY)
    • Kingston Unitarian Fellowship (Kingston, ON)
    • Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Washington County (Hillsboro, OR)
    • First Unitarian Church of Portland (Portland, OR)
    • Unitarian Universalist Church of North Hatley (UU Estrie) (North Hatley, QC)
    • San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (San Marcos, TX)
    • Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (Arlington, VA)
    Click below to see Blue Ribbon Congregations over time.

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

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hosted an international webinar on May 28, 2020 about Inclusion in the Time of COVID-19. The webinar addressed the ways in which racism and the legacy of slavery around the world have been exacerbating the impacts of the coronavirus in communities of African descent. As shared by Montreal hip-hop artist and lecturer Webster: Although the numbers are not tracked equally in all countries, history will show that people of African descent are being impacted most severely by this virus - not due to biology or culture, but because of systemic racism. The United Nations is working hard to dispel misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it effects different communities, sharing techniques and approaches especially for ending discrimination in health care. This webinar is part of a series that will be hosted throughout June which will explore the global impacts of COVID-19 on rights of indigenous peoples, youth initiatives, and persons with disabilities, among others. Check out to join the conversation.    


    Please complete the following tasks by the end of June.
    1. As the summer begins, take some time with your Envoy Team to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year. Start making plans and get them rolling this summer!
    2. Get your UN Sunday service on the calendar! If you'd like someone from the UU@UN to be part of your service, be sure to invite us soon before our schedules fill up.
    2020 UU@UN Virtual Seminar Theme Panel. Clockwise from top left: Bruce Knotts (moderator), Big Wind, Craig Mokhiber, Ashley Yong, George Stonefish, Isabella Tibbetts.
    A look behind, a look ahead

    May 1: UU@UN Director Bruce Knotts speaks at Peace Action Ithaca College Panel "World Peace in the COVID-19 Pandemic" (Online)
    May 15-17:
    National Gathering, Annual General Meeting, and Cross-Canada Service for the Canadian Unitarian Council (Online)
    June 10: Allison's birthday!
    June 15:
    Summer internships begin (virtually) at the UU@UN.
    June 16: June Envoy Conference Calls
    June 20: World Refugee Day

    June 24-28:
    General Assembly for the Unitarian Universalist Association (Online)
    July 7-16: High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations (Online)
    August 9: International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
    August 12: International Youth Day


    The following "Time to Act" suggestions for May 2020 will be related to the Fifteenth Sustainable Development Goal: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss - focusing on target 15.5 (Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.) SDG 15? WHY IT MATTERS!

    • In the spirit of Biodiversity Day on May 22, we lift up a Call to Arts from the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth. UUMFE is inviting UU communities to learn about threatened and endangered species in their local areas, and to co-create an artistic representation of one or more local endangered/threatened species. Answer the Call to Arts and be part of a procession of species!


    This year's Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly will take place 100% virtually. Registration for all attendees is $150 and will feature an amazing line-up of programs and events, including worship services. GA has for years had online participation as an option, and it is now being scaled up for this completely virtual event. Click below to check out the programming you can look forward to and register to attend June 24-28, 2020.

    Find more at

    People, Power, Planet: The 2020 UU@UN Intergenerational Seminar

    By Allison Hess, Int'l Engagement Associate

    There’s no question about it: The world as we knew it no longer exists. The upheaval to "normal life" caused by the coronavirus might also bring an upheaval to the structures that keep inequalities in place – but it’s not guaranteed. The pandemic has certainly.......

    Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
    Venezuela refugees - The UN refugee and migration agencies have welcomed $2.79 billion pledged by donors at a solidarity conference aimed at supporting Venezuelans who fled the protracted crisis in their country for host communities across the region.

    U.S. human rights - Independent UN human rights experts fear that some authorities in the United States are using the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict access to abortion, with at least eight states suspending procedures deemed medically unnecessary.

    WHO Foundation - A new foundation launched on Wednesday will generate funding for the World Health Organization and partners by tapping non-traditional sources, including the public. The WHO Foundation, which is independent, will be an integral part of the UN agency’s resource mobilization strategy to broaden its donor base.

    Albinism - In Malawi, where children with albinism face attacks, and even ritual killings, going to school can expose them to life-threatening dangers. The UN is helping to make schools safer for these vulnerable students.
    This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors.

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