With 4754 registered attendees, this year’s GA, in Providence, RI ranks as the third largest ever; behind Boston, MA (2003) and Portland, OR (2008). The overall consensus is that this was a “very good” GA; given the absence of any major drama, which has sometimes accompanied previous gatherings.
All of the recorded audio/visual/text content, from the Assembly Hall, is available to you, at uua.org/ga/online.
Jim Key, as Moderator, provided a refreshingly new approach to conducting the business of the Association, and to getting it done.
I encourage you to read/view his Moderator’s Report during General Session III.
Of the five Congregational Study Action Issues (CSAIs) proposed, the Assembly chose #3; Escalating Inequality, for four years of further consideration. The title may be a bit misleading, but the issue to be studied is the growing economic gap (the 1% vs everyone else) in this country. For the presentations see; General Session IV.
The Worship content this year was significantly improved, and carried the overall theme of “Love Reaches Out” very well. I think that this was due to the first time inclusion of a Worship Arts Team (WAT) into the overall planning process. The Thursday Morning Worship led by Rev. Meg Riley, was particularly well done.
We all applauded, and “Yee-Hawed” appropriately as Rev(s). Amy Rowland and Sarah Oglesby (Laramie) were called into Fellowship, during the Service of Living Tradition. Then again, for Rev(s). Julia McKay (Columbine), Jeremy Nickel (Mission Peaks) and Jeanne Shero (1st Universalist) as they were called to Final Fellowship. This service was dedicated to our Chaplains in military service. The featured speaker, Rev. Major (USAR) Rebekah Montgomery, was once one of Howell’s students (what a surprise). See: Service of Living Tradition
The Ware Lecture, presented by Sister Simone Campbell (Nuns on a Bus) was very stimulating. In it she urged UUs to continue to “…walk toward trouble.” Her presentation was very low key, but not without some very “pithy” comments. I recommend it at; Ware Lecture
The delegates approved three Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) addressing: Immigration policy and deportation; Gun violence in the US, as a public health issue; and Condemning the rampant homophobia in Uganda, as a humanitarian disaster. For details see: General Session VI and General Session VII
The Assembly also approved amendments to the UUA Bylaws, dealing with divestures from the UUA’s investment portfolio. Passage of these amendments was strongly endorsed by our Climate Change Ministry, and that is the way our Delegates voted. See: General Session VIII
The most coveted trophy this year, was the brown and gold, Breakthrough Congregation ribbon. Our contingent of Amy Rowland, Barb Richards, Beckett Coppala, Deb Hoff, Emily Conger, Fred Cole, Heather Ogren, Howell Lind, and Susan Secord, wore it proudly. The next copy of World magazine will have a feature article about the UU Church of Boulder.
Three UUCB members participated as volunteers, in Providence. Deb Hoff was on the Recycling Team (she loved it), Barb Richards again reigned as “queen bee” in the Volunteer Office, and it was déjà vu for me to work as an Assistant House Manager.
As with any General Assembly, old friendships are renewed, and new friendships are formed. Such a pleasure, to once again greet Rev. “Scotty” Meek and his wife, Dottie. This year, Scotty was attending his 53rd consecutive UUA General Assembly! It all starts again, next year, in Portland, OR – June 24th thru June 28th. Barb and I are already making our plans – how about you?
Fred M. Cole
UUCB Denominational Representative