The Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA), the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), was a multi-platform conference: in person in Portland, Oregon, as well as online for virtual attendees. UUCWC had nine attendees who all participated virtually. Six voting delegates represented our congregation in the UUA business meetings, and three other members were able to attend the sessions in order to learn more about UUA business and the process. Of the nine attendees, five were new to UUCWC.
HEATHER EDWARDS (delegate) shared their highlights from this year’s GA:
It was my third time attending virtually. For me, the incredible work of the Article II Study Commission was a definite highlight. You are probably very familiar with one component of Article II of the UUA’s bylaws – our UU Principles and Sources. This section of the bylaws also addresses the purposes of the UUA. Currently, the Study Commission is tasked with reviewing and proposing revisions to Article II and they are seeking input from UUs across the country in order to do this work. You can find more information about this Commission here. Members of the Article II Study Commission made presentations at three of the General Sessions, and took input from participants.
Although this work may sound dry, in reality it wasn’t. The discussion really brought us to the heart of Unitarian Universalism and how we want to go forward together into the future. What are our shared values? What do these values call us to promise each other in covenant? How can we capture the full depth and breadth of our religious and spiritual inspirations in our UU Sources?
The two Youth members of the Article II Study Commission were especially inspiring and impressive as they led those gathered in person and online in learning about and discussing portions of Article II. Throughout GA, both in General Sessions and in worship services, Youth leaders were active, leading Unitarian Universalism to meet the challenges of this moment. Jane Root, an attendee from UUCWC, commented that the ‘young people are so articulate, confident, and self-assured, and they want to influence where UUs are going.’
Another one of the highlights for me this year was the chance to hear from UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray. At a time when the amount of work needed to heal our world feels overwhelming, Rev. Frederick-Gray spoke honestly and passionately about the past of Unitarian Universalism and how we are called to engage at this time. In her President’s Report, she reminded us that ‘We are building a road together and singing songs, songs that are both new but echo the songs of those who came before us, leaving a road for us to follow. For five years now I have said it is no time for a casual faith and it is no time to go it alone. Now is the time to realize that we were made for this moment, that we are the people we have been waiting for.’ You can listen to or read the full President’s Report here: President’s Report.
AL MIDGAL (new UUCWC member–UU in other congregations) shared:
This GA was the first I attended, virtually. In my head I thought I understood what Beloved Community was about. I thought I knew that justice for all means the inclusion of diverse racial and ethnic people in addition to all the other groups that comprise an interdependent relationship for justice and respect. This GA was a profound experience for me.
I saw and felt emotionally the diverse mix of people, inclusive, loving and it gave new meaning to me of being a UU. The attendees were the real world and not the small slice of white attendees at UU churches. I saw this as the future of my church because it was the right thing to do finally and not a marketing device to increase membership. The 8th Principle for me is an education to work for acceptance.
JANE ROOT (new UUCWC member—first time at GA) shared:
As a new UU, I felt both reassured and very grateful that I had become a UU.
The Roe v. Wade decision was announced in the middle of GA, and our leaders did a wonderful job of providing acknowledgement, support and a promise of commitment to fight this.
I was thrilled and moved by the UU Youth. They were articulate, passionate, deliberate, knowledgeable and inspiring. Seeing them speak out was energizing.
Also, it was evident that much thought had gone into making GA really multi-platform to support virtual presence and involvement. Was it perfect? No, but I spend a lot of time virtually attending meetings, classes and events and GA did the best job I’ve experienced in helping me feel involved and ‘present.’ Onward and upward.
HOLLY BUSSEY (delegate) shared that she witnessed an entire multi-platform gathering living INTO Covenant.
To see it in action was a spiritual and moving experience. Was it perfect? No. But admitting errors, apologizing, learning and moving on together to create a better setting (world) with intention. Truly beautiful. Not just words.
Summary: All of us attending left the virtual GA feeling inspired and re-invigorated, with plans to watch many of the numerous recorded workshops and sessions over the summer. If you are interested in connecting with other UUs from across the country, hearing leaders in our denomination talk about the future of our faith, and being moved and nourished by worship services and a variety of beautiful music, you should consider attending next year’s GA.
We all promise you won’t be disappointed! Mark your calendar: JUNE 21- 26, 2023 in PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA.
Holly Bussey, Liaison