The ICUU Staff prepared this document as part of a presentation at the UUA 2011 General Assembly as a way of sharing the vision and future steps for ICUU that emerged from the ICUU Executive Committee’s meeting in the Philippines. In July 2011, the Executive Committee approved this document for sharing with others as a reflection of ICUU’s vision and direction. Please share this document with others as appropriate.
We are all the ICUU --
We believe that the liberal expression of religious faith we cherish as Unitarian Universalism has much to offer to people beyond our local cultures and borders.
We see that new people and communities continue to discover Unitarian Universalism.
We are aware that some Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist groups in countries with a long and proud history of liberal religion face internal and external challenges threatening their development and survival.
In both types of situation, the infusion of support and expertise from other liberal faith communities can be the catalyst that makes it possible to seize the opportunity or face the challenge.
Experience has taught us that achieving right relations calls on us to avoid even subtle or implied domination by any one group, country or culture over others, even when a group controls resources or their patronage is sought by others.
Whilst bilateral partnerships are useful, the most sustaining relationships for building the global community are the multi-layered strands of a collaborative network.
The vision fifteen years ago was bold and the small scale resources committed to the network have been effectively used to build a framework largely thanks to volunteers. Lest it become a victim of its own success, ICUU now needs sufficient resources and dedicated staffing to fully respond to the call of new, emerging, and renewing Unitarian Universalist groups.
It does matter, more than one may realise from a local or national perspective, that such efforts are undertaken by a group governed and sustained by the world UU community rather than kindly offered by one nation or culture, no matter how wise or blessed.
Read on to see the steps we need to take to sustain this vision and move together into a brighter future.
Our most pressing need is to add professional organizational capacity to what has been a largely informal volunteer driven network to enable its development as a full service agency. In congregational growth terms, it can be likened to moving from a family model to a program model.
A Global Fund for Emerging International UUism
to support the work of nurturing new and emerging groups of U-U’s around the world is essential. The need and demand for this work has grown steadily and steeply as new groups have emerged in Africa, Asia and South America. We see a great need for mentoring emerging groups, to help them learn about UU history and polity, congregational structure and development, ministry and shared leadership. The Fund will be an important step in building capacity to provide training, education, consulting and support.
is necessary to provide capacity in terms of expertise, skills and not least the dedicated time to take forward the work both of supporting emerging groups and stimulating networking among existing organizations. Enquirers are often surprised that ICUU achieves what it does with a half-time Executive Secretary and a quarter-time Program Coordinator. Yet it is frustrating what must be left undone or delayed and the Executive Committee is committed to making both staff positions full-time. Imagine what these two can achieve devoting all their energy to ICUU.
trained and accountable, working closely with staff in acting as mentors for new and renewing groups leading hopefully to part-time coordinators in selected regions.
A pilot event to be held in 2011 bringing together leaders and staff from the five largest member groups for collaboration and dialogue, intended to be followed by other gatherings, physical and/or virtual, with other leaders and staff of member groups.
Extend Our Global Network
using technology to offer virtual meetings, webinars and programs facilitating entire congregations from different member groups meeting face to face using web-based video resources.
True Core Collaboration
with partners in international work is essential in offering expertise and special focus in areas such as partnership and community capacity building with UUPCC, United Nations bodies representation and social justice campaigns with the UU UN Office and women’s concerns and programs with the Convocation of International UU Women. Joint projects are also to be explored with member group staffs building on the supportive and much appreciated collaboration to date with the UUA International Programs Office and theological schools.
Issued by the ICUU Executive Committee, August 2011
Rev Steve Dick
International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU)
Phone: +44 20 84072866