International Ministerial Formation

The UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee has approved my proposal for a community ministry internship with the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines (UUCP).  I will be directly supervised by Rev. Rebecca Quimada-Siennes, a graduate of Meadville-Lombard a decade ago and daughter of the UUCP founder Rev. Toribo Quimada who was assassinated in the 1980’s by paramilitarys.  For an excellent history (in English) of the UU history in the Philippines, contact Rev. Fredrick Muir of the Annapolis UU who wrote a book entitled Maglipay Universalist (Be Joyful, Universalist!).  The book is available from the UUA Bookstore.

There have been few if any ministerial internships completed outside North America.  If you know if anyone who has done something similar, please share.  I will be working with the UU Community in Manila, an emerging fellowship, and with the UU Young Adult Network of the Philippines.  It will be a six month full-time internship.  The UUCP is based in Dumaguette, the current President is Rev. Henry Legaje.  As someone of Asian descent, I’m very excited to engage in this ministerial formation in an Asian community, and though there will be an intense cross-cultural learning curve, I am preparing myself for language classes and building on my existing relationship with the UUCP I’ve developed over the last three years.

The Unitarian Universalists in the Philippines are primarily on the Island of Negros in the Visayan region of central Philippines.  Rural, agrarian farmers, the nearly three dozen congregations are home to several thousand liberal religious Unitarian Universalists.  They are a member congregation of the UUA of North America, although their ministers are not allowed currently to be fellowship by the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee.  What are the Unitarian Universalists?  See the Newcomers Page.


6 responses to “International Ministerial Formation

  1. That’s great Joseph. For me, the renewal of U*Uism will come when we view ourselves more as an international church, and this internship will help us move towards that vision. Good luck!

  2. Stephen, the UUA has chosen not to become an international church. This work is already being done by the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU), founded in 1995. The UUA is a member of the Council on equal grounds with other Unitarian Churches and Associations. Please check for details.

  3. I was talking with Rev. Dorothy Emerson about this, she said there was a lot of debate about the role of the USA-Canada UU Association and concern about imperialism. What is the state of affairs of the International Council of UU’s?

  4. Joseph, as you know the CUC is no longer a part of the UUA, and therefore the UUA is now strictly a national organization by its own choice and decision, and it is behaving as such inside the ICUU, as I said, on equal grounds with other national Unitarian organizations. We in the ICUU would want that our work is better known in America, and the UUA also wants that the ICUU becomes more relevant for American congregations. We all agree on this and we only need to implement programs and increase awareness (as I am doing just now) to make it happen.

  5. I didn’t mean that the UUA institutionally should be international. I mean Unitarians and/or Universalists should be more aware and more connected to to other U*Us all over the world. A religion of independent national Churches, just like a national denomination is an organisation of independent congregations.

  6. Then we agree completely, Stephen. I also think that the UUA should involve much more enthusiastically and deeply in inter-Unitarian and international activities. Perhaps the “imperialistic fear” is used as a good excuse in order not to do it? However it seems more likely that the UUA keeps retreating behind the US national border, as this has been the trend in the last few years. The international impulse should rather come from the congregations themselves (and not just with partnerships with Transylvania, which is fine but probably not enough).

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