Singing the Journey of Faith   Without Borders

By Anne Watson Born

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Campaign ended on: March 14, 2017
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The FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY in NEWTON (FUSN) has partnered to create an historical 21st Century Europäischer Unitariertag (EUT), organized by the German Unitarians, June 2-6, 2017, in Ulm, Germany. The gathering — “Faith Without Borders? / Glaube ohne Grenzen?”  — is a multinational, multi-generational assembly, with a vision to bring together Unitarians and UUs from all over Europe. It will be the first time the German Unitarians and the European Unitarian Universalists are gathering together.

We are seeking funds to purchase and ship Singing the Journey to assembly participants. We will sing together at the conference and the attendees will bring  hymnbooks home with them for their worship services.

FUSN’s Director of Music Ministry, Anne Watson Born, was invited by German organizers to lead music for the conference. Our choir, along with musicians from several neighboring congregations, will perform. UU Musicians Network president Shawn McCann — Music Director at the First Parish Church in Groton and a former UUA General Assembly Band Director — will accompany the musicians.



Similar to the UUA General Assembly, though on a smaller scale, participants will share resources, inspiration, thoughtful discussion, fellowship, fun activities for young people and, of course, music. There will be workshops and worship services in German and in English, shared meals and time to get to know each other.

Keynote speakers include Rev. William Schulz — former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association and of Amnesty International, and President Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee — and Professor Dr. Manuela Kalsky of the Free University of Amsterdam. Rev. Eric Cherry, UUA’s director of International Resources, is also participating and endorses this Faithify campaign.

In addition to UUs from the US and Germany, participants will come from England, France, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and more. Four generations will be represented, from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, social and economic status, sexual preferences and family models.


European fellowships are lay-led, without paid staff, direct UUA support or shared resources. These hymnbooks will fill a gap. After using them at the conference, participants can use them in their home services. With sections ranging from “Transcending Mystery and Wonder” to “Wisdom From the World’s Religions” and with songs such as “Fire of Commitment,” “Blue Boat Home,” and “Answering the Call of Love,” the hymnbooks provide a wealth of material to support and enrich worship and invigorate and inspire local UU fellowships.

Music — the universal language — lifts spirits and unites people. In these unstable times of fear and intolerance, music is a powerful tool to affirm and spread our liberal faith.


Connections between FUSN and Germany run deep.  A leader of the German Unitarians, Karsten Urban, came from Ulm to Newton for a sabbatical at MIT in 2013. He and his family became active at FUSN; for instance, his wife Almut joined the choir (she is looking forward to singing with her FUSN friends again in Ulm!). On his return home, Karsten kept in touch and has made a number of return visits since then.

When Karsten and the German UUs decided to create this conference, they invited Anne Watson Born, FUSN’s music director, to lead the music for it.

In addition, one FUSN member lived in Europe from 1993 to 2004 and was active in Prague Unitaria in the Czech Republic and in the European Unitarian Universalists, serving as its president for 2 years. The conference will build on these existing connections and create new ones.

All funds raised will go toward the hymnbooks. The musicians from FUSN are paying their own way.  


We invite you to donate $18 to purchase a hymnbook, $36 for two. If you can do more, $180 will provide 10 copies of Singing the Journey. Invite your UU and or music-loving friends to donate, too.


Giving participants Singing the Journey will help European UUs shape local worship services and enhance their community and spiritual life. They will be a tangible and enduring way to strengthen UU practice and connections across borders and oceans.

We hope you will contribute to our fund, so that we may support and strengthen Unitarian Universalism and bring UUs closer together.

Many many thanks to Jess Sullivan for their patient and creative work on our video.

Thank you very much for your consideration and generosity.

Comments (9)

  1. Anne Watson Born Post author

    We’re over halfway, woo hoo! Thank you all for your support. Spread the word – one hymnbook at a time will get us there!

  2. Nancy Stephens

    I’m donating to this UU endeavor because I believe music is the great equalizer. Although, I am not of the Unitarian faith, I want to support this alliance of UU fellowships around the world through music. God knows we need more unity in our world to combat the fear and unrest.

  3. Gevene Hertz

    EUU (European Unitarian Universalists) are jointly organizing this event with the German Unitarians. But it is not the first time the two groups have gathered at a retreat. We had a joint retreat in 2003, and significant numbers of German Unitarians were at the EUU retreat last November, in Frankfurt. All EUU retreats for the past couple of decades have had German Unitarians in attendance. EUU members have also frequently attended the German Unitarian Unitariertage.

  4. Karsten Urban

    Dear FUSN-friends,
    this is a great campaign and we very much hope that you will be successful.
    “Faith without borders” – the theme is even more up to date as we might wish. But we can make a difference – Unitarians, Universalists and Friends together – all over the world.

    1. Anne Watson Born Post author

      Thank you, Karsten! looking forward to seeing you in June!!

  5. Bobbie

    Congratulations, everyone! We did it! (And the contributions are still rolling in — we’re now above $7,000.)

  6. Emily Searle-White

    I’m a member of one of the European UU groups and will be attending the retreat in Ulm. I’m so excited to hear about this campaign and can’t wait to see everyone there in June! 🙂

    Cheers from Mainz, Germany,

    1. Anne Watson Born Post author

      Thank you! Looking forward to meeting you in Ulm!

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