The Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA) is where delegates from our many member congregations gather together to do the work of our larger faith. It’s an exciting opportunity to learn in a wide variety of workshops, to do expansive worship together, and to vote on the business of our Association.
For me, General Assembly began this year with the Annual Meeting of the UUMA (the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association). This gathering of UU ministers made two important votes this year;
First, to shift towards a “learning ministry,” where we ministers won’t stop learning when we graduate seminary, but will start having continuing education credits. Two focuses of this program will be anti-racist, anti-oppression, multicultural work, and preventing sexual misconduct. I’m excited by this change.
Second, after 40 minutes of impassioned discussion and sharing, we voted to begin a year of conversation on drastically overhauling and changing the guidelines for what happens when a minister is accused of misconduct. Tragically, the current system has made it too easy for misconduct to be hidden, and was designed to protect ministers over the accused. It is my hope that in the next year we’ll create a system that is more in keeping with the ethics we profess.
In the evening, GA formally began with our Opening Ceremony. We began by honoring the Native peoples on whose land we gather, then we poured out libations for the ancestors, including Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera (the trans women who led at Stonewall), recently murdered trans people, and (in honor of Juneteenth) all who fought slavery and all those enslaved in cages and prisons now. We honored our elders and youth, sang in English and Spanish, and committed to loving each other in our brokenness. Our theme this year, “The Power of We,” was very much in evidence.
This year, UUFF had our first ever youth delegation! One of our youth, after the Opening Ceremony, said, “That was the best thing ever!” I told her, “It’s only the first day, don’t worry: we’re just getting started.”
Tomorrow I’ll share some of what happened on day 2, the first full day of General Assembly.
Where are you, in your life, finding the call to move away from “I” and towards “we”? Where do you see the need for systems to be transformed in order to be just? Who are the ancestors that inspire you?