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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Interest in Unitarianism Growing Worldwide

“Interest in Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism Worldwide is growing” was the message at a recent “Tent Summit” in Boston, Massachusetts organized by the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU).

Representatives of the five largest member groups of the ICUU gathered under a tent (well more a gazebo) to symbolise a meeting of people and organisations as equals, as partners and working together with a common objective regardless of age, size or wealth. The “tent” motif comes from the St Ethelburga Centre in London, an historic church which was destroyed by a IRA terrorist bombing of the City in 1993 but rebuilt as a centre for peace and reconciliation.

It was inspiring to share stories with colleagues from Canada, North East India, Transylvania, United States as well as the UK. I was joined by Rev Martin Whitell, Executive Committee Convenor and Rev David Usher, Executive Committee member, as representatives of the General Assembly.

We explored the potential for collaboration and partnership building upon the work of ICUU over the last 16 years. We looked back into our history of working across political boundaries. It is not for nothing that one of the predecessor organisation of the British General Assembly was “The British and FOREIGN Unitarian Association”. Our fore bearers had a vision of Unitarianism expanding across the world.

We looked at our own strengths and what we could contribute to support the wider Unitarian-Univeralist movement. There are emerging groups in many countries as well as individuals who find Unitarianism through the web. Priorities include access to education and training for Ministers, support for lay leadership, opportunities for cross-cultural learning and exploring how we can promote social justice as an international movement.

Thanks to the ICUU President and the staff team for organizing the event and to the Unitarian Universalist Association for hosting us. The challenge is to put in place concrete actions to take forward the priorities identified.

For British Unitarians the message should be to widen our vision of an expanding Unitarian movement in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We have skills, knowledge and funds to bring for mutual benefit for we live in a globalised world and by acting locally we can do so much.

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou for this Derek. I am really pleased to see that Unitarianism is growing. It is a faith that does not squash question, or fear doubt and difference and does not insult intelligence and rational thinking.