Today was the closing ceremony of the 50th Anniversary Conference of the UU Church of the Philippines. The week long event April 22-27, 2005 included several foreign guests among the 200+ Filipinos (Cebuanos) here at the National Headquarters in Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental (East). Rev Fred Muir, Rev Ron Robinson, Rev Mike Young (whose daughter I learned was former YPS Caprice Young), Cathy Cordes of the UU Partner Church Council, and three other Americans who I didn’t spend much time with. Pearl Green Maribang of the Khasi Unitarians was also in attendance.
I was here at the invitation of the UU Church of the Philippines to give a talk on the role of young adults in Unitarian Universalism. 60 young adults from most of the 29 UU congregations in Negros attended the session and several small groups formed out of follow up meetings we held today. There is a lot of excitement and a lot of institutional support from the elders to start up a Philippines UU Young Adult Society. Two young adults who were ordained on Sunday, Susan Quisel and Elvie Peres Sienes, who work for the National UUCP, are part of a core organizing committee for a December 2005 Young Adult Conference. The UUA Office of Young Adult & Campus Ministry awarded a $350 US grant to this effort.
I would like to see a stronger international UU young adult network be established, and plan to write a short proposal for C*UUYAN to consider. Currently there are several dozen young adults from America each year going to the Khasi Hills, Philippines, Transylvannia and England where there are significant UU communities. I’ve had the privilege of being to each over the last 5 years and we have started an email list. Two ideas come to mind, one is to track young adults who have visited international UU communities and network them together. The other is to set a long term vision for having two young adults from these four places come to Opus and ConCentric every 3 years as part of an exchange program. Funding and visas are the largest challenge.