United Religions Initiative Draws Closer To Global Church
NOTE FROM DITC: This initiative is one of the most ill conceived plans for a united world religion so far. Rather than promote "peace" as it purports it will do, this initiative will inevitably incite violence against any religious system that does not conform to its charter. Its tolerance level for unity based on "goodwill" is overshadowed by its intolerance for those who are involved in "religiously motivated violence", which means anyone who is perceived to be divisive on the basis of preaching there is only one way to heaven to the exclusion of other religions. There are only a few groups left who are not buying into this scheme, and so far those groups are Fundamentalist Jews and any Christian who is true to the Word of God (John 14:6). This type of initiative will cause the very violence it purports to cure because it will incite those who sign on to this charter against those who are seen as old fashioned, bigoted, fundamentalist Christians. True Bible believing Christians are the only true people left standing in the way of a united world religion. Do you really think that they will allow us to stand in their way? This initiative is pure hypocrisy! I guess it is time to get out our "World Scripture" and follow the ever widening yellow brick road to the land of OZ.
Toward June 2000
This June a truly global United Religions Initiative will be chartered to perpetuate the spirit and action of the 72 Hours. The URI welcomes people of all religions, spiritual expressions, and indigenous traditions to join in seeking a common ground of shared spiritual values and cooperative action for a better world.
The United Religions Initiative Charter
November 18, 1999
The United Religions Initiative (URI) is a growing global community dedicated to promoting enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, ending religiously motivated violence and creating cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
Working on all continents and across continents, people from different
religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions are creating
unprecedented levels of enduring global cooperation. In time, the URI may
have the visibility and stature of the United Nations. Today, at its birth,
peopleís hopes are rising with visions of a better world. It is a world
where the values and teachings of the great wisdom traditions guide peopleís
service, where people respect one anotherís beliefs, and where the
resourcefulness and passion of ordinary people working together bring healing and a more hopeful future to the Earth community.
Since June of 1996 thousands of people have shared their visions and worked together to create the URI. It is a new kind of organization for global good rooted in shared spiritual values. People from many different cultures and perspectives have worked to create an organization that is inclusive, nonhierarchical and decentralized; one that enhances cooperation, autonomy and individual opportunity. This co-creative work offered by people of many cultures has produced a unique organization composed of self-organizing groups which operate locally and are connected globally.
The URIís Charter has been spoken into being by a myriad of voices from around the world. Its essential spirit, values and vision are expressed in the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. Taken together, they inspire, ground and guide all URI activity. The Charter includes:
Preamble the call that inspires us to create the URI now and continue to create it everyday;
Purpose the clear statement that draws us together in common cause;
Principles the fundamental beliefs that guide our structure, decisions and content;
Organization design the way of organizing that enhances cooperation and magnifies spirit;
Guidelines for Action an action agenda to inspire and guide the worldwide URI community.
The global URI organization will be born in June 2000. You are warmly invited to participate in the birth and the growth of the URI and become part of this extraordinary force for good in the world. This Charter is your invitation to participate in its ongoing creation. Welcome!
THE PREAMBLE, PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES
We, people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the world, hereby establish the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, end religiously-motivated violence and create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
We respect the uniqueness of each tradition, and differences of practice or belief.
We value voices that respect others, and believe that sharing our values and wisdom can lead us to act for the good of all.
We believe that our religious, spiritual lives, rather than dividing us, guide us to build community and respect for one another.
Therefore, as interdependent people rooted in our traditions, we now unite for the benefit of our Earth community.
We unite to build cultures of peace and justice.
We unite to heal and protect the Earth.
We unite to build safe places for conflict resolution, healing and reconciliation.
We unite to support freedom of religion and spiritual expression, and the rights of all individuals and peoples as set forth in international law.
We unite in responsible cooperative action to bring the wisdom and values of our religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions to bear on the economic, environmental, political and social challenges facing our Earth community.
We unite to provide a global opportunity for participation by all people, especially by those whose voices are not often heard.
We unite to celebrate the joy of blessings and the light of wisdom in both movement and stillness.
We unite to use our combined resources only for nonviolent, compassionate action, to awaken to our deepest truths, and to manifest love and justice among all life in our Earth community.
The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence and create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
1. The URI is a bridge-building organization, not a religion.
2. We respect the sacred wisdom of each religion, spiritual expression and indigenous tradition.
3. We respect the differences among religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions.
4. We listen and speak with respect to deepen mutual understanding and trust.
5. We give and receive hospitality.
6. We seek and welcome the gift of diversity and model practices that do not discriminate.
7. We practice healing and reconciliation to resolve conflict without resorting to violence.
8. We act from sound ecological practices to protect and preserve the Earth for both present and future generations.
9. We seek and offer cooperation with other interfaith efforts.
10. We welcome as members all individuals, organizations and associations
who subscribe to the Preamble, Purpose and
11. We have the authority to make decisions at the most local level that includes all the relevant and affected parties.
12. We have the right to organize in any manner, at any scale, in any area, and around any issue or activity that is relevant to and consistent with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
13. Our deliberations and decisions shall be made at every level by bodies and methods that fairly represent the diversity of affected interests and are not dominated by any.
14. We (each part of the URI) shall delegate only such autonomy and resources as are essential to the pursuit of the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
15. We have the responsibility to develop financial and other resources to meet the needs of our part, and to share financial and other resources to help meet the needs of other parts.
16. We maintain the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct, prudent use of resources, and fair and accurate disclosure of information.
17. We are committed to organizational learning and adaptation.
18. We honor the richness and diversity of all languages and the right and responsibility of participants to translate and interpret the Charter, Bylaws and related documents in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles, and the spirit of the United Religions Initiative.
19. Members of the URI shall not be coerced to participate in any ritual or be proselytized.
Individuals, associations and organizations who value and support the URI Preamble, Purpose and Principles may become Affiliates. Affiliates are welcome to participate in URI communications and activities and do not have the legal rights and responsibilities of membership.
Individuals, associations or organizations seeking membership in the URI shall create a Cooperation Circle (CC) or join an existing CC, Multiple Cooperation Circle (MCC), or a Multi-Multiple Cooperation Circle (MMCC). Within every CC, MCC, or MMCC members have rights and responsibilities of participation as defined by each group in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
In relation to the Global Council, CCs, MCCs and MMCCs are Voting Members
of the URI and have accompanying legal
rights and responsibilities.
The foundation of the URI is the initiative, spirit and commitment of people to create CCs and to join CCs. Every CC has the right and responsibility to determine its own unique purpose, membership, and ways of making decisions.
To provide initial stability and interfaith diversity, CCs must have at least seven (7) members who represent at least three (3) different religions, spiritual expressions or indigenous traditions. CCs may accept individuals, associations and organizations. Members of CCs are expected to help one another act in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles.
Multiple Cooperation Circles and Multi- Multiple Cooperation Circles
A CC may decide to join with other CCs to enhance its work or create a more enduring coordinating structure. If a minimum of three CCs come together, they may form a Multiple Cooperation Circle(MCC).
For similar reasons, a minimum of two MCCs may join to form a Multi-Multiple Cooperation Circle (MMCC).
For example, CCs in different cities might want to create a coordinating structure for their country (or state) and form an MCC. Likewise, MCCs from these countries (or states) might want to create a coordinating structure for their entire region and form an MMCC.
Similarly, CCs devoted to interfaith education for children in different parts of the world might want to create an MCC to share their ideas and resources. If they wish they can accept other individuals, associations and organizations to join their MCC. Typically, when the MCC meets, one or two representatives from each CC come together to carry forward the work of the MCC.
CCs may choose to belong to more than one MCC but may vote for Global
Council trustees through only one MCC. CCs that
belong to an MCC will participate in the trustee selection processes designed by the members of that MCC. MCCs that belong to an MMCC will participate in the trustee selection processes designed by members of that MMCC.
Legal Rights and Responsibilities include:
Each CC, MCC, or MMCC has the responsibility to make its best effort to accomplish its purpose in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles, and the By-laws, Articles and Operating Procedures of the URI. Each CC, MCC, or MMCC is free to organize in any manner, at any scale, and around any issue or activity that is in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. Each CC, MCC, and MMCC has the right and responsibility to determine its own form of governance or decision-making that is in accordance with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. CCs , MCCs , and MMCCs have the right and responsibility to select trustees to serve on the Global Council and to vote on specific issues listed in the By- laws. CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs have the right and responsibility to develop financial and other resources to meet their needs, and share financial and other resources to help meet the needs of other URI groups. CCs, MCCs, MMCCs and the Global Council seek creative ways to help support all parts of the URI. The Global Council, acting on behalf of the whole, may choose to require dues from CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs to support the work of the worldwide URI. These groups have the right to be given appropriate notice of any financial obligation.
Application for Membership
A new CC may apply for membership directly to the Global Council or to an existing MCC or MMCC.
Similarly, a new MCC may apply for membership to the Global Council or to an MMCC. A new MMCC applies directly to the Global Council for membership.
The Global Council
The Global Councilís (GC) primary purpose is to make manifest the values expressed in the Preamble, Purpose and Principles It is not central headquarters but the nexus that nurtures engagement with the Preamble, Purpose and Principles. The GC is an ear listening to the hopes and aspirations of the whole URI community. The GC guides the global URI to serve the whole network of CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs. It supports the URI in galvanizing global action through bold vision for global cooperation.
Global Council Trustees
GC members are called Trustees to signify that they are carriers of the trust for the URI world membership. The Trustees hold legal responsibility for the URI and provide leadership and coordination for the worldwide URI community.
It is envisioned that the trustees of the URI will be exemplars who model leadership by their actions. That their hearts and minds will yearn for the people of the URI to fulfill their aspirations to be a positive force in the world. It is envisioned that their discussions will be tempered with tenderness for one another and the Earth community and that neither anger nor self-interest shall find lodging in their deliberations and actions.
A maximum of twenty-four (24) elected trustees by the world membership designated according to eight (8) regions. A maximum of twelve (12) trustees at-large selected by the GC to meet the need for greater diversity or a particular expertise. A maximum of three (3) trustees from among the members of the Transition Advisory Committee composed of members of the existing URI Board. The Transition Advisory Committee will remain in place until June 2005. One (1) Trustee shall be the Founding Trustee to honor the unique role of the URI founder. One (1) Trustee shall be the Executive Trustee to ensure that the URI staff is represented.
Selection Process for Trustees
To ensure that there are people from diverse geographic perspectives on the GC, 24 seats will be filled through an election process. CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs within a geographic region can select up to three (3) trustees from among the eight (8) regions listed below. The boundaries of the first seven (7) regions are based upon regions designated by the United Nations. They are: Africa, Asia and the Pacific (to be divided into two regions, still to be determined), Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and Arab Countries, and North America. The eighth (8) region is a non-geographic region that includes CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs that are organized around global interests.
Trustees are elected every two years to serve on the GC.
To ensure optimum diversity and to meet the need for particular expertise at the GC, twelve (12) seats will be filled by appointment by the GC.
Models of reflection, meditation and prayer which deepen understanding of the qualities of leadership which embody service and spiritual wisdom are encouraged as part of every governance selection process.
Global Assembly of the Whole
A Global Assembly of the Whole is planned to take place every two years in different parts of the world. Members and Affiliates are welcome, and are encouraged to co-create the activities that take place at the Assembly.
The purpose of the Global Assembly is to provide the opportunity for people to share their stories, help one another with challenges, and explore the possibilities for the future. The Global Assembly magnifies the capacities of members to carry forward their dreams and initiatives. It aligns peopleís strengths and offers a forum for speaking as a collective voice. The Global Assembly celebrates the totality of the URI and offers opportunities to give and receive hospitality.
During the Global Assembly, there will be a Meeting of the Members where CCs, MCCs, and MMCCs select GC trustees. In addition, CCs, MCCs and MMCCs can introduce ideas and issues in need of attention. If a CC, MCC, or MMCC cannot participate in this meeting, proxy votes are acceptable.
GUIDELINES FOR ACTION
In light of the essentially self-organizing nature of the URI that gives members freedom to choose what they want to do, the following Agenda for Action is offered as guidance for URI activities. Inspired by a Javanese phrase Memayu Hayuning Bawano which means to work for the safety, happiness and welfare of all life, the URI commits to serving as a moral voice and a source of action grounded in contemplation in each of the following areas:
Sharing the Wisdom and Cultures of Faith Traditions actions to promote dialogue and kinship among the diverse religions and spiritual traditions of the world.
Nurturing Cultures of Healing and Peace actions to develop cultures in which all people can live without fear of violence.
Rights and Responsibilities actions that uphold human rights.
Ecological Imperatives actions that uphold the welfare and healing of the entire Earth community.
Sustainable Just Economics actions to bring a spiritual perspective to the tremendous gap between rich and poor.
Supporting the Overall URI local, regional and global actions
that support all URI activities.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please contact the URI with your ideas, your hopes and dreams, and your inquiries so that you and/or your group might consider being part of the URI.
United Religions Initiative
P.O. Box 29242
San Francisco, CA. 94129
Web site: www.united-religions.org
Phone 415 561 2300 FAX 415 561 2313
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