By Karen Kyker, EUU President
Earlier this month (December), I spent some time in conversation with Alicia Forde, International Office Director of the UUA. I am very grateful that Alicia reached out to me/us (EUU), to better understand the EUU and our relationships with UUA and ICUU (which is no longer in existence). We spoke briefly of the current Leadership and Design Team, the goal of which is “to create an organizational framework for a new international Unitarian, Unitarian Universalist, and Free Church organization.” EUU is clearly part of the international U/U community, and we have communicated our interest in the the development of a new international organization. In part, that was the impetus for this conversation, for both Alicia and myself.
The many questions and clarifications within this recent conversation reminds me that the task of making ourselves known to others never ends. Whether because we meet someone new, or we ourselves go through major or minor transformations, we are again and again tasked to try to present ourselves anew.
One of the topics in this recent conversation with Alicia Forde required me to clarify that we are not “an expat” organization, though the roots and origins of numerous fellowships may have begun with some people who might have defined themselves as “expats”. We have members who were born in Europe. We have members (quite a few) who were born elsewhere, but who are now firmly planted and integrated in various European communities. And yes, we have members who live here for a number of years, then return to their country of origin. We are a diverse community in terms of these origins and identities, and our supportive religious community is home to many.
In my current role as EUU president, I feel I should have all the answers about who we are, and thanks to all those “UU Basics” courses done with Dorcy Erlandson (Paris, France), I was able to helpfully respond to most of Alicia’s questions. But Alicia is interested in ALL types of Unitarian and Universalist (U/U: “U slash U”) organizations around the world, not only “UU” as in the UUA version of this faith tradition. It was when Alicia asked about our local European UU relationships and interactions with endemic Unitarian and liberal protestant organizations in our countries… well, that’s when I realized that your voice (perhaps yours) was missing. I’ve heard stories and anecdotes, but they aren’t my stories to tell.
I hope that you (perhaps you?) might be inspired and want to participate in a ‘round table’ of sharing of stories about your direct experiences with UU and in-country Unitarian groups? This could help us all share and rediscover more of our histories and develop a better understanding of ourselves as part of the larger international “U – slash – U” community.
If you have stories and experiences with local unitarian groups that you could share, please send me an email right away at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to organize a virtual meeting early in the new year, with Alicia Forde and perhaps you, to introduce ourselves once again.