United Religions Initiative Europe

URI Europe Dialogue Letter

Issue No. 12          ***         September 2009 - August 2010



Dear Friends,

peace and warm greetings to you!
Excellent work is being done by the URI Cooperation Circles across Europe. We hope you enjoy reading about some of the activities in this newsletter and feel inspired, as we do.

URI Europe Dialogue Letters
After a longer break we are still planning two editions of the URI Europe Dialogue Letter this year, one in October and one in December.
Please send your news about your activities to Ahlam Elyassir at ahlam[at]uri[dot]org by 15th September 2010, for inclusion in the October edition.
We also welcome your articles with reflections on interfaith work, peace and justice work or related topics.
Please also send your news to the new URI Newsdesk to newsdesk[at]uri[dot]org. It will be important to establish in your stories your relation to URI — name of your Cooperation Circle etc.

URI Europe Conference in Istanbul
The URI Europe team is working hard with Semsettin Türkan from Ankara, Turkey, on our URI Europe Conference in Istanbul, 27th-31st October 2010.

The title of this URI Europe Assembly is “Walking the talk – Bringing interfaith action to each town in Europe”. We are sure it will be an inspiring and enriching conference. The conference information and invitation will be circulated in a separate e-mail.
URI 10th Anniversary

URI celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. During the URI Global Council and Staff Meeting in Amman, Jordan, in June a celebration was held at the “Royal Cultural Centre” and broadcast over the Internet.
The UNESCOCat CC in Barcelona, Catalonia/Spain, will host a URI birthday celebration, on Saturday, 25th September 2010. An interfaith choir will sing on that occasion. For more information please contact Elisabeth Lheure at elisabeth.lheure[at]gmail[dot]com.
Another 10th anniversary celebration will be held in Istanbul at the URI Europe Conference.
New URI Europe and URI global websites
The articles in this Dialogue Letter can also be found on the URI Europe website. Please visit www.uri-europe.eu.
The global URI Website has a beautiful new face, too, and is interactive now, with the possibility for URI members to blog . Have a look and you will be delighted.

Now we wish you much joy and inspiration in your work and life.
And may you enjoy this Dialogue Letter.


URI news


Golden Rule Tour with Mussie Hailu and Lone Klemmensen


Dear friends,
I have just received confirmation that the first event of the European Golden Rule
will be in week 11 in 2011. I have waited for the school to confirm, as they will cover the cost for Mussie’s ticket to and from Africa.
As many of you know, Mussie is the URI Continental Coordinator for Africa and
works for the UN in Addis Abeba in Ethiopia.
Exact dates of the tour are to be confirmed soon.
Let us do some brainstorming about the Golden Rule tour during the URI Europe Assembly in Istanbul (27th-31st October 2010).
It is a great project which can help unite the European URI CCs.
Thanks and good wishes
Lone Klemmensen
URI Aarhus CC  

Read this article on the internet


New website launched for URI’s Multi Region

URI’s Multi Region has a new website: www.urimulti.org.

This new and improved Multi Region Web site – version 2.0 – was announced by the Multi Region’s Coordinator, Lance Trumbull. The Multi Region is one of the eight URI regions. While the other regions are geographically defined, the Multi Region is the home of the URI Cooperation Circles (CCs), which have members from different parts of the world.

Lance Trumbull stated: “Although the ‘old’ Multi Region site was pretty good and has functioned well for the last three and half years, I thought it was time to develop a site that could not only inform people about what is going on with the Multi Region but also give individuals an opportunity to learn more about URI itself. I also found it important to inspire people with a strong web presence – a strong handshake and first impression to the world and to all of those who want to possibly become affiliated with the Multi Region or with URI in general. Enjoy the Multi Region’s new virtual home!” 

Read this article on the internet



Activities of URI Co-operation Circles


GUNE – welcome a new Co-operation Circle in the Basque Country/Spain


The newly founded CC bears the name “GUNE” which means (amongst other things) “nucleus”, “centre” or “core” in the Euskara language. Based in the Basque Country, Spain, the CC aims to promote encounters, dialogue and mutual understanding between people of different spiritual and religious sensitivities. We feel that the way in which URI operates with autonomous CCs being connected globally is something outstanding. Feeling that we can do something in our small town, and that this can echo around the world, widens our hearts. We feel very much connected with the URI ideal as a result of their vision. Our most important activities have been retreats, discussions and, above all, hosting pilgrims from the town of Zumaia. We have organised debates (tertulias) and weekend retreats to strengthen knowledge and abilities that can help us to live together in a better way (co-listening, reflex therapy, etc). During the summer we take care of a hostel for pilgrims of the “Camino de Santiago”. We are also promoting an inter-religious network in the Basque Country. We would like to create a centre for ongoing encounters as well as a centre of documentation that would enable us to understand and promote a healthy coexistence of the different religions and spiritualities. We have prepared a short video with images from past years to share with you: http://topaune.blogspot.com/2010/01/gune-abentura.html

Read this article on the internet


VPiD (Vlaams Partnership voor Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog - Flemish Partnership for Inter Religious Dialogue– welcome a new Co-operation Circle in Belgium

As many URI members may recall, VPiD was launched in 2007 at the big interfaith concert in Antwerp, where URI Europe members and URI’s Global Council were present, together with 1,200 people, to witness a beautiful symphony of music, dance, prayer and testimonies from people of diverse faiths. This was also broadcast live over the internet. VPiD has now restarted in Heusden, the most multicultural city in Flanders. The team is working in cooperation with the city hall of Heusden to jointly develop a programme for intercultural and interfaith discussion.  Living Values Education (LVE) will be used in a programme for the entire community, but with a focus on diversity and interfaith and intercultural exchange. We aim to create a network for young and old, profit and non-profit, religious and non religious. The website will be open to all interfaith efforts in Flanders. In this way people who have an interfaith organization or group, whether small or large, can introduce themselves. The website is meant to be a platform and forum for activists in interfaith and intercultural issues. The newly founded CC aims to bring people together through meetings, dialogue, exchange and cooperation and empowering actions.

Read this article on the internet


Spiritual Climate Conference in Copenhagen


By Bente Westh (secretary for URI, Copenhagen)

8th January 2010 

Copenhagen was simply teeming with people during those two weeks of the climate conference  

spiritual leaders from all over the world gathering and sharing prayers as "one"

During the Copenhagen Conference a spiritual climate conference arranged by GPIW (global Peace Initiative of Women) was also being held for a week along with the political one. A “rainbow” array of spiritual leaders from all over the world and from all traditions (Sufis, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews, indigenous people from Brazil, Australia and North America) gathered in Copenhagen to share thoughts and prayers about our planetary condition. Scientists also gave their views regarding sustainable solutions, on a small scale as well as in a larger perspective.

As the title of the conference “Awakening to oneness” implies, it was the common belief that this is simply the challenge of our time. What our planet urges us to work on is a shift in consciousness as well. Then the earth will be able to heal itself. Man can predict and make calculations – and should; but the healing forces of nature/God is a power to be trusted.

Though serious appeals were heard from various delegates, the optimism was also there: step by step we can change the situation.

So many NGOs displayed their activities, and so many steps have been taken around the world.

Here are some illuminating quotes from www.avaaz.org:

“History was being made in Copenhagen.”

“The seeds of healing have taken root.”

“It takes a lot to get an elephant moving, but when you do it is hard to stop.”



Read this article on the internet


Contents of this edition:

URI News:

*Golden Rule Tour with Mussie Hailu and Lone Klemmensen
*New website launched for URI's Multi Region

Activities of URI Co-operation Circles: 
*GUNE - welcome a new Co-operation Circle in the Basque Country/Spain
*VPiD - Vlaams Partnership voor Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog - Flemish Partnership for Inter Religious Dialogue - welcome a new Co-operation Circle in Belgium
*Spiritual Climate Conference in Copenhagen
*Faith2Faith CC: Friendship Walk 

*Finnish URI CCs and Baha'i community participate in the celebration of the Nordic summer
*URI Aarhus CC celebrates the International Peace Day
 *Unitheum CC, Germany, celebrates an Universal Worship on the occasion of the International Peace Day
*Forum of Religions CC, Turku, participating in a book fair and reading out from the Golden Rule
*BRIDGE CC, Rome: Youth intercultural project kicks off

Quick links:
URI Europe Homepage
Plans and Activities
European Interfaith CC News
Global Interfaith News
URI Charter
Join URI

Why join URI?
Found a Co-operation Circle

URI Europe Executive Committe:
Patrick Hanjoul, President, Belgium
Louis MentensTreasurer, Belgium
Kiran Bali
, United Kingdom

Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, Germany
Martin Gurvich, Belgium
Elisabeth Lheure, Catalonia/Spain
Deepak Naik, United Kingdom
Patrick Nickisch, Belgium/Germany
Karimah Stauch, Coordinator, Germany 

European Co-operation Circles (CCs):

Basque Country/Spain:
* GUNE, Gipuzkoa

* URI Europe CC, Antwerp
Bond zonder Naam CC, Antwerp
* Convictions en dialogue CC, Septon
VPiD (Vlaams Partnership voor Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog - Flemish Partnership for Inter Religious Dialogue)

Bosnia and Herzegovina:
* Balkan as a Soul-Bridge CC, Sarajevo

* UNESCOCAT - Centre UNESCO de Catalunya / AUDIR - Associació UNESCO per al Diàleg Interreligiós CC

* URI Aarhus CC, Aarhus

* Forum of Religions in Turku CC, Turku
* Religious Forum in Helsinki, Helsinki
* URI's Christian-Muslim Circle of Helsinki CC, Helsinki

* Pacific Teams CC / PISEF, Moissy Cramayel

* German Muslim-League Bonn CC / DMLBonn CC, Bonn
Unitheum CC, Bad Zwischenahn
* URI Berlin CC, Berlin
URI Germany CC, Bonn

Building Real Interfaith Dialogue through Glocal Encounters (BRIDGE), Rome

* Interfaith Dialogue Utrecht CC, Utrecht
Steering Committe URI the Netherlands, Amsterdam
* SNTL - Procesbegeleidersgroep Samenwerkingsverband Traumahulpverlening, Amsterdam 
* Women’s Group IJsselstroom Zwolle and surroundings, Zwolle

* URI Romania - Int'l Ecumenical Center CC, Bukarest

* Religions for Humanity CC, Moscow

* Center for Peace and Dialogue of Cultures, Dushanbe

* Society for Intercultural Research and Frienship (SIRF), Ankara

United Kingdom:
* Ahimsa for Quality of Life CC, London
* Faith2Faith CC, Huddersfield
Minorities of Europe CC, Coventry
URI-UK CC, Keswick, Cumbria



Faith 2 Faith CC: Friendship Walk 

By Kiran Bali

A friendship walk was organized in Huddersfield, UK. This event symbolized our unity and solidarity through our common values of acceptance and respect. By working together, we can achieve a truly safer and stronger society. The picture shows the rich diversity of the community participating in the friendship walk.



Rich diversity during the friendship walk


Read this article on the internet


Finnish URI CCs and Baha'i community participate in the celebration of the Nordic summer

A summer picnic and sailing near the coastline of Espoo, Finland, was organized. A special thanks goes to Lars Silén for taking people to the island in a sailboat he made himself. There were some people from the Finnish URI CCs and the Baha’i community celebrating the Nordic summer.  




Read this article on the internet


URI Aarhus CC celebrates the International Peace Day

By Lone Klemmensen, URI Aarhus CC & URI golden rule CC


On September 21st we celebrated the UN International Day of Peace. Here in Denmark I have opened my house for the public to join in a meditation at 12 o’clock and in the evening, as the Aarhus CC event for the International Peace Day.

I have found a poem in the book “gifts from a course of miracles” which is part of my spiritual path. I would like to share it with you on this day where we all join in silence and peace together:

The way to peace is open.

There is a silence into which the world cannot intrude.

There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost.

Peace is a natural heritage of spirit.

Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance,

but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is.

Peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone.

Strength and innocence are not in conflict, but naturally live in peace.

Lay down your arms and come without defence into the quiet place,

Where heavens’ peace hold all things still at last.

Lay down all thoughts of danger and of fear.

Let no attack enter you.

In this quiet state alone is strength and power.

Here can no weakness enter, for here is no attack and therefore no illusions.

Peace is of God.

You who are part of God are not at home except in his/her peace.

May peace prevail in our hearts and minds.

May peace prevail on earth.  


Read this article on the internet



Unitheum CC, Germany, celebrates an Universal Worship on the occasion of the International Peace Day

 By Puran Lehmann 

On the occasion of the International Peace Day proclaimed by the UN a Universal Worship was celebrated by the CC Unitheum e.V. (Germany).

Some impressions on the Universal Worship in Göttingen:

The focus was on the theme “Gratitude,” and we thankfully received a lot of very positive feedback. It was in all aspects a successful service with more than 30 participants. Many had never before taken part in a Universal Worship. As it had been organized by five people, each multiplying the idea to their surroundings, there were many new faces: friends, colleagues, acquaintances and others. We also were pleased to welcome a whole family that had been informed about the event by a poster in the Waldorf School.   

The altar was set up in the middle of the room, allowing us to sit around in a chair circle. This then easily made it possible to have a dance inspired by the Jewish religion. We celebrated the vocation of the four elements as well, a short Buddhist meditation, the recitation of a mantra and, last but not least, four songs. All this was done by all participants, accompanied on the piano, the guitar and, during the dance, on a violin. We were happy to enjoy the live music. A woman who plays the flute is prepared to enrich the musical kaleidoscope at the next service. Another has offered her assistance in organizing the next Universal Worship.

By the way, two weeks before the Universal Worship a retired priest gave a sermon in Herberhausen, and to our surprise he joyfully handed out invitations to the Universal Worship to his listeners. He had photocopied them at his own expense. He also took part in the Universal Worship, with which he was already familiar because he had been at Osterode with Pir Vilayat every now and then.

This event was announced on the homepage of the UN as well as by URI Germany. There were announcements in the newspapers in Göttingen. The event was publicised with 20 posters and 300 flyers. The “Göttinger Tagesblatt” also published a short article on the Universal Worship.

About 100 invitation leaflets for our next Universal Worship in December have already been taken along, together with many Unitheum flyers. Of course the reference- and project folder were on display as well. With donations of around €100, we were able to pay for the costs of the event and purchase a second cover for the altar.

We plan to put the Universal worships on a regular schedule of every three months, each with a seasonal theme.



Read this article on the internet





Forum of Religions CC, Turku, participating in a book fair and reading out from the Golden Rule

URI Europe coordinator Karimah Stauch visited Finland last October. At that time a book fair was taking place in Turku, and members of the Forum of Religions in Turku CC were on stage to read the Golden Rule from their religions. Turku is the European Cultural Capital next year after Istanbul. The event was organized by the Union for Christian Culture. The picture shows Karimah Stauch, Heidi Rautionmaa, Hülya Kytö and Marja Bergen and as well as the travelling Peace Pole. The Helsinki CC kindly loaned the flags bearing the symbols.



Read this article on the internet


BRIDGE CC, Rome: Youth intercultural cooperation project kicks off  

(The following article was published in the Glocal Forum Newsletter of fall/winter 2008)

Glocal Forum Italy, World Conference of Religions for Peace Italy, Centro Sportivo Italiano, Centro Islamico Culturale d’Italia, Eugenio Montale High School, Giovani per un Mondo Unito and the Municipality of Rome have launched an intercultural youth project for the 2008-2009 scholastic year, Amicizia Oltre La Paura (or Friendship Over Fear). The project involves Rome public high schools, as well as religiously affiliated schools (such as the Iranian School, Renzo Levi high school and the school of the Islamic Cultural Centre) in a “5 a side” soccer tournament (for males) and a volleyball tournament (for females) that aims to create a culture that goes beyond fear of cultural diversity and towards intercultural understanding and cooperation. As an increasingly diverse city, Rome  urgently needs to promote a culture that shuns acts of intolerance and fear of diversity and that instead recognizes religious and cultural differences as part of a city’s enrichment. Inspired by the European Union’s Year of Intercultural Dialogue-2008, the project uses sports as a tool to foster understanding, for example each sports match will end with a “third period” in which the two teams will participate in intercultural exercises, share their culture’s typical foods and get to know one another. Sports are unanimously considered an important instrument to encourage dialogue, overcome social barriers and facilitate constructive encounter between persons from different backgrounds. Sports are also an ideal vehicle to attract and bring together children and youth, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with their peers of different religious faiths. As sports are an ideal means of stimulating the body, mind and spirit of young people, the Amicizia Oltre la Paura project is a unique opportunity to stimulate and encourage intercultural and interfaith dialogue between young people. Glocal Forum Italy and The Glocal Forum strongly believe in the power of sports as a catalyst to promote dialogue and development. [...]

Read the complete article on the internet




We thank you for your interest, participation
and for your good work for peace, justice and healing!

Karimah Stauch
URI Europe Co-ordinator

and the URI Europe Executive Committee:
Patrick Hanjoul, Belgium
Kiran Bali
, United Kingdom

Sheikh Bashir Ahmad Dultz, Germany
Martin Gurvich, Belgium
Louis Mentens, Belgium
Elisabeth Lheure, Catalonia/Spain
Deepak Naik, United Kingdom
Patrick Nickisch, Belgium/Germany


We believe that our religions, spiritual lives, rather than dividing us, guide us to build community and respect for one another.






Creiem que les nostres vides religioses i espirituals, en lloc de dividir-nos, ens guien a la construcció del respecte mutu i a la creació de comunitat. (Catalan)