Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB
The Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB is a Christian denomination in the Netherlands, a member of the Dutch Raad van Kerken and the International Association for Religious Freedom. NPB stands for Nederlandse Protestanten Bond; the NPB has the structure of an association and consists of sixty independent local communities that call themselves by the neutral word afdeling. The Dutch Protestant Association NBP was established in 1870 by Cornelis Willem Opzoomer, Cornelis Tiele and others, it came as a reaction of liberal Protestants to the Confessionele vereniging created in 1864 and Orthodox Protestantism. From the NBP came the Centrale Commissie voor het Vrijzinnig Protestantisme that established the VPRO and was involved in the Leidse Bijbelvertaling, used by Dutch liberal Protestants for decades to follow. There can be significant differences between local communities constituting the association; some are based upon religious humanism, some upon Christian Universalism and some upon liberal Christianity.
All liberal-minded people may become members of the association regardless of membership in other Christian denominations, whether they are baptized or not or adhere to a certain creed. In liberal Protestantism the Bible is not seen as the Word of God in a literal sense, but rather as a document - a collection of meaningful stories - witnessing to the love of God, it is striven to connect faith with the insights of modern science and with rationality. Vrijzinnige Geloofsgemeenschap NPB NPB-kerk te Schiedam
USC Canada is a non-profit, international development organization working to improve livelihoods by promoting agricultural biodiversity. The organization was founded in 1945 by Lotta Hitschmanova as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada. USC Canada’s mission is to promote sustainable living through strong rural communities with family farms and healthy ecosystems; the Canadian organization partners with programs in Africa and Latin America to provide training and to promote self-sustaining communities that strengthen biodiversity, food sovereignty, the human rights. As of 2017, the organization is run by a staff of 30, most of whom are based in Ottawa, Canada. USC Canada's award-winning flagship program, Seeds of Survival was featured in a National Geographic article in July, 2011. USC Canada works to influence global food production policies and practices that nurture fertile landscapes, regenerating the water and vegetation that seeds and animals depend on. Lotta Hitschmanova founded the organization in 1945, receiving registered charity status on August 30 of that year.
She served as Executive Director for nearly 40 years, retiring in 1982. Throughout her career, her work took her to newly independent countries. Through Public Service Announcements on television and radio, Hitschmanova became one of Canada’s most recognized humanitarians and public figures, her distinctive Czech accent as she pronounced USC Canada’s address, 56 Sparks Street, Ottawa became an unforgettable signature. She mobilized a whole generation to take action and help. Today, USC Canada works in 12 countries including Canada; the organization's mission is to "build food sovereignty by working with partners to enhance biodiversity, promote ecological food systems, counter inequity."In 2013, USC Canada partnered with Seeds of Diversity Canada to start The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. This initiative is building a movement for resilient seed systems across Canada. Working with farmers, seed producers and partners from civil society and business, the program conserves and advances biodiversity, maintains public access to seed, delivers research and training programs on ecological seed production, promotes the wisdom and knowledge of farmers.
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Unitarian College, Manchester
Unitarian College Manchester is one of two Unitarian seminaries in England. It is based at Luther King House in the Brighton Grove area of Manchester, its degrees are validated by the University of Manchester, it has been preparing students for ministry and lay leadership positions in the Unitarian and Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Churches since 1854, when it was established by the Unitarian Home Mission Board. The College has a tradition of providing occasional overseas scholarships for students from kindred churches from Hungary and Romania, it is now part of the Partnership for Theological Education. It is to be distinguished from the only other Unitarian college in the country, which confusingly shares a similar name. What is now Harris Manchester College, Oxford started off as a dissenting academy based on the famous one in Warrington. "The Manchester Academy" or "Manchester College", named after its birthplace in 1786, kept the name when it moved to York, back to Manchester. It moved to the capital as "Manchester New College, London", in University Hall, Gordon Square 1853–1889.
Its final move was to Oxford, where it has remained, becoming in 1996 a full constituent college of Oxford University, adding "Harris" after a donor. It was the move of the original academy to London in 1854 which occasioned the need for a separate establishment in Manchester. John Relly Beard 1854- Alexander Gordon, 1890-1911 S. H. Mellone, 1911–1921 Unitarian College Manchester
Church of Iceland
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland called the National Church, is the established Christian church in Iceland. The church is a member of the Porvoo Communion; the church is organised into one diocese headed by the Bishop of Iceland. The current Bishop of Iceland is the first woman to hold this position; the church has two suffragan dioceses, Skálholt and Hólar, with their bishops being suffragans or assistant bishops to the Bishop of Iceland. Christianity was present from the beginning of human habitation in Iceland, a fact, unique to Iceland among the European nations; the first people setting foot on Icelandic soil were Chalcedonian Irish hermits, seeking refuge on these remote shores to worship Christ. Norse settlers are thought to have driven them out; some of the settlers were Christians, although the majority were pagan, worshipping the old Norse gods. When Iceland was constituted as a republic in 930 AD, it was based upon Norse heathenry. In the late 10th century, missionaries from the continent sought to spread Catholicism among the population.
Ari Þorgilsson, in his historical work Íslendingabók, recounts that the nation was divided between the adherents of the different religions that would not tolerate each other. At the legislative assembly, the Alþingi at Þingvellir, in the year 1000, the country was on the brink of civil war; the leaders of the two groups found a solution. They chose a person that everybody respected for his wisdom, the heathen priest and chieftain, Þorgeir of Ljósavatn, to decide which way the people should go. Þorgeir lay there all day meditating. The next day he called the assembly together and made his decision known. "If we put asunder the law, we will put asunder the peace," he said. "Let it be the foundation of our law that everyone in this land shall be Christian and believe in one God, Father and Holy Spirit." He decreed that pagan sacrifice, the exposure of infants, the eating of horseflesh would be tolerated for the time being, if practiced in private. The people agreed and many were subsequently baptized.
At the inauguration of Christianity in Iceland, missionary bishops and priests from Germany and Eastern Europe worked among the population. The first Icelandic bishop, Ísleifur Gissurarson, was consecrated in Bremen in 1056, he made Skálholt the episcopal see. Thereafter, Skálholt was the centre of Christian learning and spirituality in the country through the 18th century. In spite of all the upheavals of history there is a marked continuity within the church of Iceland. For the first five centuries, the Icelandic church was Roman Catholic. In the beginning of 1056, it was part of the province in Bremen; the Icelandic church came under the archbishops of Lund and in 1153 it became a part of the province of Nidaros. Iceland was divided into two dioceses, Skálholt, established 1056, Holar in 1106; these continued until 1801, when Iceland became one diocese under one bishop of Iceland, residing in Reykjavík. The country was an independent republic from 930 until 1262. Iceland, having suffered civil war and anarchy, came under the rule of the Norwegian king and in 1380 with Norway under the Danish crown.
In 1944 Iceland regained its independence as a republic. Three Icelandic churchmen were revered as saints though none of them was canonized; the most famous of them is Saint Thorlak of Skálholt. He was educated in Lincoln, in Paris, France. Returning to Iceland, Þorlákur became an abbot of the Canon Regular monastery of Þykkvibær, soon gaining a reputation for his sanctity; as a bishop of Skálholt, he sought to enforce the decrees of Rome regarding the ownership of church property and morality of the clergy. The Icelandic calendar has two days dedicated to 20 July and 23 December; the other two saintly bishops are Guðmundur Arason. There was great literary activity during the 12th and 13th centuries, producing extensive religious literature as well as romantic novels and sitcoms in the Icelandic language as well as the well-known sagas. Clergy doubtless wrote most of them. Parts of the Bible were translated into Icelandic in the 13th century; this powerful and enduring literary tradition with its strong national character has shaped the Icelandic language and inspired literary activity.
Icelandic has had a continuity. Every child in Iceland can read texts dating from the 13th century; the Icelandic hymnal contains hymns from the 12th century and the 14th centuries in their original linguistic forms. In 1540, the Lutheran Reformation was established in Iceland, enforced by the Danish crown; the monasteries were dissolved and much of the property of the episcopal sees confiscated by the King of Denmark, who became the supreme head of the church. A dark spot in the history of the Reformation is the lawless execution in 1550 of the last Roman Catholic bishop of Hólar, Jón Arason, his two sons. Most of the Roman priests continued in their parishes under the Lutheran church ordinance; the Reformation unleashed renewed literary activity in the country. The publication of the Icelandic translation of the New Testament in 1540 and the entire Bible in 1584, marks important milestones in the history of the Icelandic language and is a major factor in its preservation; the "Hymns of the Passion", 50 meditations on the cross by the 17th century poet and minister Hallgrímur Pétursson, were for generations the most important school of prayer and wisdom.
The same can be said
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth; as such, their congregations include many atheists and theists within their membership. The roots of Unitarian Universalism lie in liberal Christianity Unitarianism and universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love. Congregations and members seek derive insight from all major world religions; the beliefs of individual Unitarian Universalists range including atheism, pantheism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Daoism, Omnism, Bahá’i and many more. The Unitarian Universalist Association was formed in 1961 through the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, established in 1825, the Universalist Church of America, established in 1793; the UUA is headquartered in Boston and serves churches in the United States.
A group of thirty Philippine congregations is represented as a sole member within the UUA. The Canadian Unitarian Council became an independent body in 2002; the UUA and CUC are, in turn, two of the seventeen members of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists. However, some Unitarian Universalist churches today have statements of faith that profess a Protestant Christian identity. Unitarian Universalism was formed from the consolidation in 1961 of two separate Christian denominations, the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, both based in the United States. At the time of the North American consolidation and Universalists had expanded beyond their roots in liberal Christian theology. Today they draw from a variety of religious traditions. Individuals may not self-identify as Christians or subscribe to Christian beliefs. Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships tend to retain some Christian traditions, such as Sunday worship with a sermon and the singing of hymns.
The extent to which the elements of any particular faith tradition are incorporated into personal spiritual practice is a matter of individual choice for congregants, in keeping with a creedless, non-dogmatic approach to spirituality and faith development. New England Unitarians evolved from the Pilgrim Fathers' Congregational Christianity, based on a literal reading of the Holy Bible. Liberalizing Unitarians rejected the Trinitarian belief in the tri-personal godhead: Father and Holy Ghost/Spirit. Instead, they asserted a unitary notion of God. In addition, they rejected the doctrine of original sin, moving away from the Calvinism of the Congregationalists. New England Universalists rejected the Puritan forefathers' emphasis on the select few, the Elect, who were supposed to be saved from eternal damnation by a just God. Instead Universalists asserted that all people will be reconciled with God. Universalists rejected the hellfire and damnation of the evangelical preachers, who tried to revive the fundamentalist Christianity of the early Pilgrim fathers.
Universalists claim a long history, beginning with Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, though some modern scholars question whether either of these church fathers taught the defining doctrine of Universalism. This core doctrine asserts that through Christ every single human soul shall be saved, leading to the "restitution of all things". In 1793, Universalism emerged as a particular denomination of Christianity in the United States called the Universalist Church of America. Early American advocates of universal salvation such as Elhanan Winchester, Hosea Ballou and John Murray taught that all souls would achieve salvation, sometimes after a period resembling purgatory. Christian universalism denies the doctrine of everlasting damnation, proclaims belief in an loving God who will redeem all human beings. Various forms of Nontrinitarianism have appeared within Christianity; the term may refer to any belief about the nature of Jesus Christ that affirms God as a singular entity and rejects the doctrine of the Trinity, as affirmed by the mainstream Christianity: a consensus of Christian bishops at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.
Nontrinitarianism was prevalent during the theological turmoils of the Protestant Reformation. A Spanish physician, Michael Servetus, studied the Bible and concluded that the concept of the Trinity, as traditionally conceived, was not biblical, his books On the Errors of the Christianismi Restitutio caused much uproar. Servetus was arrested, convicted of heresy, burned at the stake in Geneva in 1553; the term Unitarian entered the English language via Henry Hedworth, who applied it to the teachings of Laelio Sozzini and the Polish Socinians. Unitarian churches were formally established in Transylvania and Poland in the second half of the 16th century. There, the first doctrines of religious freedom in Europe were established under the jurisdiction of John Sigismund, king of Hungary and Prince of Transylvania, the only Unitarian monarch; the early Unitarian church not only rejected the Trinity, but the pre-existence of Christ as well as, in many cases and original sin as put forward by Augustine of Hippo, the substitutionary atonement of Christ developed by Anselm of Canterbury and John Calvin.
There were several different forms of
Our Whole Lives
Our Whole Lives, or OWL, is a series of six comprehensive sexuality curricula for children, young adults and adults published by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries. Publication was the result of seven years of collaborative effort by the two faiths to prepare material which addresses sexuality throughout the lifespan in age appropriate ways; the Our Whole Lives program operates under the idea that well informed youth and young adults make better, healthier decisions about sexuality than those without complete information. OWL strives to be unbiased and teaches about heterosexual, bisexual and transgender sexual health. In addition to information on sex, OWL is intended to help children and adults to be healthy and responsible in terms of their sexuality. There are four OWL curricula designed for the American school grades of K–1, 4–6, 7–9, 10–12, plus one for young adults and one for adults; each session of the Our Whole Lives curriculum can include the "Sexuality and Our Faith" companion, which comes in separate versions, one for the UUA and CUC communities and another one for the UCC community.
Without "Sexuality and Our Faith," the programs have no religious material and are thus appropriate for use in schools and other non-religious institutions. Our Whole Lives is built upon three core values: Respect Relationships ResponsibilityParticipants are encouraged to use these values in decision-making concerning their own sexuality and relationships. Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to explore and learn to articulate their own values. Our Whole Lives classes are led by teams of facilitators recruited from within their congregations. Before leading Our Whole Lives, facilitators must complete a training program led by certified trainers of trainers. Training is focused on building the facilitation skills demanded by Our Whole Lives. In addition to exploring the core values and pedagogical theory underlying Our Whole Lives, trainings include opportunities to peer-facilitate a session, giving future leaders hands-on experience. At the end of the training, facilitators must be certified by their trainers before leading Our Whole Lives in their congregations.
Facilitators for Our Whole Lives work in teams of at least two – one male and one female – for each class. The gender balance allows participants to feel comfortable raising concerns and issues with their trainers. For the middle school curriculum, some activities are done in gender segregated groups, otherwise all activities take place in mixed gender groups. Leaders for Our Whole Lives are expected to model the program values - treating participants with respect and honoring their moral agency. In Unitarian Universalist congregations the grades 7–9 OWL curriculum replaced the somewhat controversial About Your Sexuality, which went out of print in the 1990s. Description on UUA website Description on UCC website Description on CUC's old website—Internet Archive Wayback Machine OWL in Ottawa Boston Globe article
Crane Theological School
The Crane Theological School was a Universalist seminary at Tufts University founded in 1869 as the Tufts College Divinity School and closed in 1968. It was one of three Universalist seminaries founded in America during the nineteenth century. During its history, it granted 281 Bachelor of Divinity degrees, 152 bachelor of sacred theology degrees, two masters of religious education for a total of 435 degrees; the name changed multiple times. Founded as "Tufts College Divinity School", it became "Crane Theological School" in 1906 upon Albert Crane's gift of $100,000 in 1906 in honor of his father, Thomas. In 1925, the school became the "Tufts College School of Religion - Crane Theological School," after extensive discussions, including a conference with the widow of Albert Crane. By the 1960s, the name had shortened again to "Crane Theological School"; the Crane Chapel remains part of the Tufts campus as the Crane Room. The school was one of the Associated Schools of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1903-1962 and 1965-1968.
The school was never denominationally controlled, nor was it accredited by the American Association of Theological Schools. Universalist layman and major Tufts supporter Silvanus Packard founded the school with a bequest in 1869; the divinity school was housed on the second floor of Ballou Hall. With the construction of West Hall in 1872, divinity students were offered accommodation there. In 1891, students saw the building of separate quarters for the school with the construction of Miner and Paige halls. Miner Hall provided classroom and office space for the school while Paige Hall served as a dormitory and chapel. Miner Hall was constructed in 1891 to serve as headquarters for the School of Theology and was named for Alonzo A. Miner, second president of Tufts College and the major donor to the project. Paige Hall was built in 1892 to serve as a dormitory for Theological School Students and bears the name of Lucius R. Paige, Universalist minister and trustee 1859–1896. In 1902, the school began to offer a combined 5-year A.
B./S. T. B.. Between 1910 and 1915, both Miner and Paige halls became home to the newly established Jackson College for Women, until women were integrated into the rest of Tufts in 1915 and the facilities were returned to the Crane School. During World War I, the school's buildings were taken for use as barracks and training facilities and Dean McCollester held classes for the handful of students enrolled in his living room for the duration of hostilities. In 1929, architects George and Ruffing designed Crane chapel as an addition to Paige Hall along with the two-level Fischer arcade connecting it to Miner Hall. Designed as an adaptation of a chapel in Oxford, the oak paneling was brought from Warwick Forest in England. By 1945, the school had no endowment and faculty. After the 1951 destruction by fire of Fisher Hall, the main building of the Universalist St. Lawrence Theological School, Ratcliff favored merging the two schools, an offer which St. Lawrence rejected; the next year included a fundraising drive by Tufts.
The school launched into its own fundraising program, although this was unsuccessful. In 1953, when Dean Ratcliff died unexpectedly, Eugene Ashton, a Congregational minister and assistant chaplain of Tufts, was appointed to replace him until a successor could be found. Shortly before his successor's appointment in 1954, Ashton released a report on the school arguing that it was "not in a healthy state", he observed that of 151 men enrolled between 1947 and 1952, 80 were non-graduates. The American Unitarian Association Board of Trustees in 1959 appointed a commission to study theological education in anticipation of merger with the Universalists. In 1962, the report advocated the merger of St. Lawrence and Crane, the 1964 General Assembly debated a resolution that advocated a merger with Star King or Meadville, however neither attempt was successful; the lack of funds to continue operation was the main reason for closing Crane. The school operated with a deficit for a number of years—in 1964 half of the $90,000 Crane budget required funding from Tufts general operating fund.
In 1962, Crane disassociated itself from the faculty of arts and sciences to report directly to the trustees. While the aim was to become a graduate school independent of a college, resources were inadequate for a quasi-independent existence, in 1965 the faculties recombined; the program would have included an undergraduate degree for admission called for elimination of the combined AB/STB program. In 1967, the trustees reached the decision to close the school the following year. A number of factors contributed to the decision; the committee that recommended closure gave finances as the primary reason, estimating $250,000 per year was required to operate the school, with no funding prospects, as the Tufts operating deficit in 1967 was more than $500,000. However, the trustees' June 1967 recommendation for closure cited that the school had not "maintained its place of considerable distinction in theological education."Tufts President Hallowell was given authority by a Massachusetts state court to dispose of school funds, he created the Crane Program fund amounting to $213,000 in 1972 to support Tufts's religion department and chaplaincy, as well as scholarships for students pursuing liberal ministry and social welfare work.
The Crane Library Collection was always a part of the Tufts University Library and was now retained by the university library.