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ENVOY NEWS
June & July 2015

Dear ,

The staff in our office had a very successful time at the Unitarian Universalist Association's General Assembly in Portland, OR at the end of June! It was exciting to connect and reconnect with UUs from all around the US as well as some international guests! (Check out the skit about the Global U/U Story that the International Coalition of Unitarian Universalist Organizations presented at General Assembly! Starts at 2:36:10) At the right, you can see a picture of me with Audrey (ECOC Intern) and La Gotita, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's water droplet mascot that was raising awareness at General Assembly about the human right to water.

The year 2015 is now over half over. The UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire this year and now it is time to set the world's eyes on the so-called post-2015 development agenda: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MDGs were groundbreaking in that they symbolize a commitment from the world's governments to make strides together in the name of development and global prosperity. The MDGs are composed of goals (very broad, such as "Ensure environmental sustainability"), targets (more specific, such as "Halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation"), and indicators (how to monitor progress, such as "proportion of population using an improved drinking water source"). The MDGs set goals for nations to work towards - and they did! Over 2.3 billion people gained access to an improved source of drinking water between 1990 and 2012. But there's still a long way to go, which is why water rights are again included in the SDGs, to be adopted during a UN summit in September 2015. (SDG 6: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.")

Here are the minutes from the June conference call. Our next Envoy conference call will be in August. Please RSVP here - we'll be talking about plans for the fall, including UN Sunday services and an exciting opportunity for you to get involved!

In faith, love, justice, and hope,

Allison Hess
Envoy Coordinator
 
TIME TO ACT

Sharing information and news is important, but you want to make change in your local and global community. Here's how.

ENVOY TASKS

Please complete the following tasks by the end of August.
  1. Start thinking about your UN Sunday Service - more details below. Make sure to tell me once you've set your date!
  2. We need auction items for our Fall Fundraiser! (NYC, Nov. 5) There will be both live and silent auctions at the event. Please contact unitednations@uua.org to donate an auction item - can be anything from physical items, to trips, to services, etc.
May Review: (1) Learn and spread the word about the UN's World Food Program (2) Help me update my records of current Envoys.
Events at the UU-UNO
A look behind, a look ahead


June 2: Emergency roundtable discussion concerning Burma Refugees

June 10: Envoy Coordinator Allison's Birthday!

June 24-28: Bruce, Anne, & Allison attend UUA General Assembly in Portland, OR

July 2: UN NGO Committee on Human Rights roundtable discussion with a representative of the Chinese Mission to the UN

July 3: Office closed for Independence Day

July 23: Director Bruce's Birthday!

July 25-30: Bruce is a featured speaker during International Week at Star Island in NH

August 20: Presentation at the UN Church Center on racial segregation in housing, co-sponsored by UU-UNO and NGO Committee on Human Rights

August 28-30: 2nd Annual Queering Immigration Conference (QI2) at The New School - UU-UNO to participate in Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

United Nations Sunday 2015
UN Sunday Resource Packet is now available online!

This year's UN Sunday theme is International Criminal Justice: From Punitive to Restorative, following the theme from our Intergenerational Spring Seminar this April. Each year, the UU-UNO puts together a resource packet with information on the theme, an RE curriculum, sample order of service, and more! This year's UN Sunday resource packet is now available for your use. If your congregation holds a UN Sunday service, you could be eligible for two awards: Blue Ribbon Congregation Award and Dana Greeley Sermon Award


Make sure to tell me once you have scheduled a date for your UN Sunday service. You may want to invite a guest speaker to address the criminal justice theme. UU-UNO Director Bruce Knotts and I are both able to come speak at your service, but our schedules are filling up fast, so make sure to book us soon!

UUA General Assembly
June 24-28, 2015 in Portland, OR

Allison's General Assembly Take-Away

One important thing I absorbed during General Assembly was the importance as Unitarian Universalists of speaking in faith-based language about the things that inspire us. When discussing the social justice activism we do within our congregations or communities, we often tend to speak in a very secular manner, explaining the statistics of the problem and its destructive or gruesome consequences. That style of language tends to provoke argument or excuses, whereas it is hard to argue with how someone's actions are founded in their faith. In order to reach people who may not otherwise be listening, it is better to make it immediate and personal for you, and for them. Refer instead to the lives that are being touched by whatever issue you're addressing, talk about moral imperatives, values, why your faith compels you to take action. In this way, the perspective of liberal religion can be heard. 

When people speak in the public realm of being inspired by their faith, it seems as if we only ever hear from the conservative sides. It's time for liberal religious voices to be heard as well! Feel free to take it or leave it; those are my two cents. 

Dana Greeley Sermon Award
2014 Winner: Rev. Colin Bossen
This year we celebrate the Rev. Colin Bossen, winner of the 2014 Dana Greeley Sermon Award! His sermon, "This Land is Your Land?" addresses the 2014 UN Sunday theme, Sacred Roots: Indigenous Rights, Resistance, and Reclamation. In his sermon, he speaks about the Doctrine of Discovery and the importance of respecting the rights of indigenous peoples. A video of Rev. Colin presenting an excerpt of his fantastic sermon for our reception at General Assembly is available by clicking on the "More info" button below. To participate in the 2015 Dana Greeley Sermon Competition, send your sermon to unitednations@uua.org by February 1, 2016.
News: United Nations
Include the following in your congregation's newsletter, website, and/or bulletin!   


Yemen - The chaos caused by bombing and fighting in Yemen has meant that many children have been unable to attend school. In response, UNICEF has begun to offer catch-up classes to Yemeni children

US Prisons - United Nations human rights experts have called the United States government to allow their participation in investigating and undertaking needed criminal justice reforms in the country. They particularly cite "unacceptably high rates of incarceration, the disparate impact of such policy on racial minorities, overcrowding and the extensive use of solitary confinement.

Elections in Burundi - Recent elections in Burundi have been carried out in relative peace. Violence erupted in that country two months ago, forcing thousands to flee the country, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third term (Burundian law permits only two terms for its head of state). 

Climate - The Earth, indeed, is heating up. January to June 2015 marked the hottest 6 months in our planet's recorded history, according to a report by the UN World Meteorological Organization. UN Secretary General Bam Ki-moon urges leaders of Member States to keep the drastic effects of climate change in mind at the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December.
Program Updates
For more information on any of the program areas, email unintern@uua.org with "Attn: [program]" in the subject line.  
Women's Rights

Our office is taking the Women's Initiative program in a new direction. The program will have a strong emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) on both national and international levels. We are working to build a coalition of progressive religious groups that support women's rights and especially SRHR. Networking, planning, and collaboration have already started to push this issue forward here at the UN.
LGBT Rights

We are working in conjunction with Housing Works to develop a series of educational events that will highlight issues LGBT asylees face throughout and after the asylum process. We will be hosting two events, one at the UN Church Center in October and one at a NY area UU congregation in February. We also hope to participate this August in the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project during the 2nd annual Queering Immigration Conference.
Every Child is Our Child

The office has been applying for grants for ECOC, to fund our continued sponsorship of students in Ghana this year. We are deepening our research on the positive impact of education on HIV/AIDS rates in developing countries, and will be improving our website and materials to make to the program more accessible to viewers, particularly children. We hope to get more UU congregations & RE classes involved with ECOC's mission!
 
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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States
This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors. 

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Central East Region of the UUA
100 W 10th Street Suite 1008
Wilmington, DE 19801
United States