UUA General Assembly 2015
General Assembly Reports
The Statement of Conscience on Reproductive Justice
Support the Black Lives Matter Movement
Support A Strong, Compassionate Global Climate Agreement in 2015: Act For A Livable Climate
End Immigrant Child and Family Detention Now
COA Class Report 2015
UUA Racial Justice Survey Report 2015
The Online Delegate Experience
UU World News Stories about GA
UU World article on the Commission on Appraisal proposed Bylaw change
UUA Staff Report
Opening Session and General Session 1 (Wednesday 11pm)
Morning Devotional and General Session 2 (Thursday 11am)
Service of the Living Tradition to honor religious leaders (Thursday 10:30pm)
Friday Morning Worship: Soul-FULL Hospitality (Friday 11am)
General Session 3 (Friday 11:30am)
Synergy Bridging Worship “Building a New Way” with youth and young adults (Friday 10:30pm)
Morning Devotional and General Session 4 (Saturday 11:15am)
General Assembly Public Witness (Saturday 7:45pm)
Evening Sing (Saturday 10:30pm)
Ware Lecture with Cornel West (Saturday 11pm)
Sunday Morning Worship (Sunday noon)
General Session 5 (Sunday 2pm)
General Session 6 (Sunday 4:30pm)
Closing Celebration (Sunday 8pm)
In addition, we will be viewing several workshops in the Olympia Brown room at the church. Please contact email@example.com if you would like to participate:
Thursday, June 25 | 1:45-3PM US/Eastern (10:45-12pm PDT)
UU College of Social Justice
Historical movements for justice have often been inspired and sustained by religious faith and practice. Ours is an activist faith, yet when we take action in the public sphere our religion is often invisible. How might we bring our own justice commitments into deeper conversation with our spiritual lives, and learn to speak our convictions in the language of our faith?
Rev. Kathleen McTigue | Rev. Lindi Ramsden
GA Talks: Multigenerational Worship and Community Ministry
Thursday, June 25 | 4:15pm-5:30pm US/Eastern (1:15 – 2:30PM PDT)
Young Adults @ GA
Come and participate in GA Talks! GA Talks, TED-style presentation designed to entertain, educate and inform, provide an opportunity to listen to stories and wisdom from fellow Unitarian Universalists. Today’s speakers are Rev. Christina Leone Tracy and Lincoln Statler. Hosted by Kenny Wiley and the Young Adults @GA community.
Rev. Christina Leone Tracy | Lincoln W. Statler | Kenny Wiley
Thursday, June 25 | 6pm-7:15pm US/Eastern (3:00 – 4:15PM PDT)
Stories are a powerful tool in worship — especially multigenerational worship. Laden with images, metaphors, playfulness, and truth, story provides a common language and shared experience across different generations and theologies. More than just teaching story-telling skills, our workshop will focus specifically on how to integrate meaningful stories into worship.
Rev. Erika Hewitt | Becky Brooks
Commit2Respond: Growing Young Adult Leadership for Climate Justice
Thursday, June 25 | 7:45pm-9pm US/Eastern (4:45 – 6:00PM PDT)
UU Young Adults for Climate Justice
Join visioning conversations about how to empower or embody young adult leadership in climate justice organizing in our faith communities and at large. Leaders of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice network, who are putting faith into action to address the intersecting social and environmental struggles of our time, will facilitate the conversation. All ages welcome!
Aly Tharp | Tim DeChristopher | Benjamin Franklin Craft-Rendon | Elizabeth Mount
Friday, June 26 | 4:15pm-5:30pm US/Eastern (1:15 – 2:30PM PDT)
“We cannot transform the world and fulfill our call without drawing on the abilities of all in our midst.” The UUA and EqUUal Access have a new congregational certification program that helps! Hear from the pilot congregations and try some of the exercises. Imagine bringing this experience to your congregation!
Mark Bernstein | Suzanne Fast | Barbara Ceconi | Michael Sallwasser
Friday, June 26 | 6pm-7:15pm US/Eastern (3:00 – 4:15PM PDT)
Join the conversation as a group of ten leaders address issues and challenges facing our faith communities in this time of uncertainty, scarcity and changing cultural identities. The panel/workshop will describe tipping points and turning points in the UU journey by sharing stories and ministries that are reshaping and sustaining our beloved faith for future generations.
Rev. Fredric Muir | Rev. Carlton Smith | Rev. Rebekah Montgomery | Rev. Terasa Cooley
Friday, June 26 | 7:45pm-9pm US/Eastern (4:45 – 6:00PM PTD)
Harvard Divinity School and UU Collegium
Join us as we explore class issues in Unitarian Universalist congregations. What insights and tools does our history offer as we seek to honor class diversity and work toward economic justice? What about our various theologies? What can class-inclusive theologies look like? Come share your experiences and ideas with this panel of historians and theologians.
Rev. Myriam Renaud | Rev. Sheri Prud’homme | Dr. Daniel McKanan | Rev. Mark Harris
Class Conscious: Class and Classism in UU Life
COA Class Report 2015
Saturday, June 27 | 4:15pm-5:30pm US/Eastern (1:15 – 2:30PM PTD)
New England Region
Congregational polity is not fundamentally about autonomy or protecting individuals from spiritual coercion. This misunderstanding repels healthy people, weakens connections among churches, and perpetuates widespread suspicion about leadership. This workshop lays groundwork for a movement-wide re-covenanting process that could reunite the community of UU congregations.
Rev. Sue Phillips
Saturday, June 27 | 6pm-7:15pm US/Eastern (3:00 – 4:15PM PTD)
The Stewardship For Us Team and UUA Congregational Life
Relying on old ways to collect donations inhibits giving, doesn’t fit with how we actually handle money in 2015, and it really doesn’t work for Congregations and Beyond. You have a wide array of options! Come explore them, with costs and practical start-up information, for electronic giving.
Bill Clontz | Mark Ewert
The 2015 UUA General Assembly (GA) in Portland featured discussion and decision on a number of issues that are important to the progress of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in the years ahead. The BBUUC web site hosts links to online recordings of the public meetings, notes from the proceedings and news articles about decisions reached during GA. https://bbuuc.org/ga-2015/
The theme of inclusion ran throughout the presentations, workshops, discussions and resolutions featured in this year's GA.
Themes of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice rang through the conference in the wake of the murder of African American churchgoers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and a wave of arson directed at churches serving black communities. Sunday evening's General Session included approval of an AIW (Action of Immediate Witness) with language that was strongly supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Thursday morning's General Session, Rev Miguel De La Torre addressed UUs about dealing honestly with white privilege and class divisions. De La Torre spoke about an apparent expectation among UUs that people of color will rush to join their congregations simply because they are welcome. “After centuries of exclusion, why should I come running to help you prove your congregations aren’t racist?” he asked. “The church discovers its own salvation through its solidarity with the marginalized.
Delegates also approved an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) calling on President Obama, Congress, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to close the family detention centers and immediately release those detained who do not meet priority criteria.
Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry
The UUA GA also highlighted the importance of access for people with disabilities. The UUA's AIM (Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry) certification process was discussed in a workshop on Friday and was the focus of a presentation in Sunday evening's General Session.
To become certified, the congregation will conduct an assessment of accessibility of the congregation and inclusion of people with disabilities, and then create an action plan describing worship, workshops, and projects. Next, an AIM Review Team will review the congregation’s AIM Certification Plan and it will be approved by the AIM Coordinating Committee; upon approval, the congregation will then implement the plan. When the plan has been implemented, the congregation can apply to be certified as an AIM Congregation.
This year's Statement of Conscience dealt with reproductive justice. UU World reported that the mini-assembly on this issue was enthusiastic and supportive. When it came time for a vote in Friday's General Session, the general assembly endorsed a ringing statement of support for reproductive rights.
The UUA also continued dialog with advocates for survivors of clergy sex abuse, including a workshop hosted by UUA Moderator Jim Key. Delegates signaled their continued support for survivors by including strongly-worded unincorporated amendment F in the text of the final Statement of Conscience.
The UUA continued work on reimagining a more collaborative, covenant-based approach to governance. A number of Bylaw changes recognizing the Southern Region's experiment in regionalization were passed in Sunday afternoon's session. This included an incorporated amendment to the Board's original proposal that creates a way for Southern Region congregations to bring an issue to the General Assembly, an issue that many delegates felt had been neglected during the regionalization process.
Incorporated amendment 3 includes the following language: "In a district or region that does not maintain a formal governance structure, a meeting for this purpose may be convened by vote of the governing bodies or membership of at least fifteen congregations in that region in good standing with the UUA. A quorum for such a meeting shall require that at least one-third of the congregations of the district or region be represented by one or more formally credentialed delegates."
In Saturday's General Session, the delegates rejected a Board-proposed amendment to the UUA Bylaws that would have re-defined the independent Commission on Appraisal as a committee of the UUA Board. The two sides appeared to be far apart on this proposal, as the UUA Board rejected a unanimous request from the delegates in the business mini-assembly to change the name of the body to reflect its proposed status and function.
The UUA continued its strong support for environmental justice in several different ways. In Sunday evening's General Session, delegates passed a strongly-worded Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) supporting action on climate change.
Friday's General Session featured a presentation by leaders of Commit2Respond, including a dialog with UUA leaders regarding their controversial decision to sell mineral exploration rights in Texas to close a hole in the UUA budget. UUA leadership also apologized for implying that their hand was forced by a resolution from the 2014 General Assembly to divest from fossil fuel resources.
Commit2Respond also worked with the Lummi nation to organize a public witness event to call attention to climate change. The Lummi people have been using the terms of their treaty with the United States to fight the proposed construction of a large coal terminal on the Salish Sea.
Cornel West Electrifies GA Audience
Cornel West electrified the UUA's General Assembly audience as the 2015 Ware Lecturer. In the keynote speech of the 2015 General Assembly, the charismatic speaker called on UUs to examine ourselves to root out racism and elements of white privilege and white supremacy.
"We begin with a critical self-inventory," West said. "If there’s white supremacy in me, then my hunch is that you’ve got some work to do."
West also called for UUs and other Americans to have the courage to identify and root out prejudice wherever it exists.The current situation "is a struggle about integrity," said West, "and what it means to be human." West issued a strong challenge to be courageous. "Cowardice is more dangerous than violence."