9 Replies to “Unitarian Universalists in Uganda”

  1. What I heard is all rumor. Supposedly they will be sending people to a 2007 ICUU event, and this may be where the vetting begins. According to the rumor I heard, part of the congregation consists of disaffected persons from Kampala’s Bahai Temple, and according to the same rumor the congregation displays alot of Christian-Islamic syncretism. If they are genuine, I’m wondering what is the best way to support them? I hate to see sincere friends overseas given the cold shoulder, when they are forming their own indigenous liberal-religious movement.

  2. Their web-site has some pictures of a visit to them by the Rev. Gordon Oliver of the Unitarian Church of Cape Town, South Africa. He might be someone to ask if they are legitimate!

  3. At the website of the International Council (icuu.net) there is a pdf document about the Africa visits made by Rev. Oliver and a Ms. Brunson of Arizona. They visited U*U communities in five African countries and wrote reports on all their visits. You can see what Rev. Oliver has to say about the Uganda association there.

  4. I’ve been following Brunson’s reports and have read Oliver’s report with great interest. Something — a complex something — is definitely happening in Africa. Both first-person reports talk about the acute need for worship materials and basic theological information. In several different countries, and in multiple places in some countries, people seem to have stumbled onto some form or another of Unitarian Universalism (often fairly Christian in character) but have limited access to materials.

  5. With regards to the specific congregation in Kampala, Uganda… I’m wondering if we could send them books? Perhaps some of the greatest works of Unitarian and Universalist thought that articulate a liberal Christianity? Perhaps the book that has Channing’s Baltimore Sermon published with Theodore Parker’s “The Permanent and Transient in Christianity”. What was that book called? It was published by Skinner House.

    What would we send from the Universalist end? Maybe Adin Ballou’s CHRISTIAN NON-RESISTANCE. What else? I’d suggest THE TREATISE ON ATONEMENT, but that volume can be rough reading.

    In terms of worship materials, perhaps the King’s Chapel Prayerbook (depending on what we can find out about their worship style)? Perhaps this is another outlet for a new small congregation hymnal? What is the preferred vernacular language in Uganda?

  6. Hey everyone–

    I am part of the faculty for a leadership training conference that is planned for Nairobi Kenya this coming February sponsored by ICUU. {This is part of how I’m spending my sabbatical!} It will include Gordon Oliver, Jill McAlister, myself and others who are coming at the request of emerging congregations in Uganda, Burundi,and Kenya as well as existing congregations in Nigeria and South Africa. I used to correspond with some of the Kenya folks in 2002-2003, but lost touch with them, so I’m really excited about meeting with them at last. Our big challenge right now is raising the money to get everybody to Nairobi from the different parts of the world we’re all coming from. Let me know if you want more information and would like to help. We’re probably going to need everything, so pray about what you’re willing to give, and ask others if you’re so inclined, and keep in touch!

  7. We all need to be supportive of these emerging groups in developing countries and, at the same time, be aware of their whole situation and context, and learn who they are and what they need (and what they don’t need). That is partly what the ICUU is for. We supported Rev. Oliver’s trip to these African countries (he’s a South African, so he has a personal affinity to deal with African issues and has expertise on the subject and on how people’s minds usually work in that part of the world. The November meeting of the ICUU will be a great chance to learn more about them and meet them face to face. And the last day of the ICUU meeting will deal exclusively with an intense dialog with the representatives of all these emerging groups. I am glad also to read Rev. Rose’s post above on the upcoming ICUU-sponsored Leadership Seminar (there have been others in the past in Europe, India, and Latin America). I agree that worship materials are great resources for these emerging congregations, but first we need to find ways to coordinate these efforts so that they are really helpful for these “new” UUs.

    Scott, about their “pasting” of words in some UU website for their own use: This is done by emerging groups who have limitations in their use of English and who still have not developed their own religious narrative: they feel in harmony with what other people say about the faith, they find that others are able to express that faith in a more articulate way than they feel able to, and so they finally copy what others said before. It is a matter of time and learning that they develop their own voice.

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