Rissho Kosei-kai congregations in Northern Japan are among the damaged.
The funds, donated to the Unitarian Universalist Association-UU Service Committee Japan Relief Fund, will be used to support relief efforts by the UUA’s religious partners in Japan, including Rissho Kosei-kai, Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the Konko Church of Izuo, the Tokyo Dojin Church, and the Japan Chapter of the International Association for Religious Freedom.
Donations can be made here: uua.kintera.org/japan. Checks can be mailed to Gift Processing, Stewardship and Development, Unitarian Universalist Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210. Make checks payable to the “UUA” and indicate “Japan Fund” on the memo line.
The Rev. Eric Cherry, the UUA’s director of International Resources, was in Japan for 10 days in late March, meeting with the partner groups. The trip had been planned before the earthquake, to meet with the partners and to attend a meeting of the International Association for Religious Freedom.
After retuning to the United States, Cherry said in an interview, “I extended the UUA and the UUSC’s condolences to our partner groups and made it clear that American Unitarian Universalists will be supporting them and all Japanese people in prayer, thought, and other support, over the long haul.”
He said many members of the Japanese groups were directly affected by the disasters. “The Rissho Kosei-kai itself has 35 to 40 congregations that have been damaged terribly. Our partners are deeply involved in the support of people who are suffering. They will be involved in the general long-term recovery of Japan, as well.”
Cherry said it has not yet been determined how the UUA-UUSC Japan Relief Fund will be used, but that those decisions would be made in cooperation with our partners.
He added, “It was clear to me that our support means a great deal to them right now. There is definitely an attitude of hope. This is a terrible tragedy and whatever we can do for them will be welcomed.”
Congregations that wish to send notes to the Japanese groups can send them to Cherry's office: The Rev. Eric Cherry, director of International Resources, Unitarian Universalist Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210.
Congregations and individuals are urged to contribute to the fund rather than sending any supplies, Cherry said.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.
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