Key Things to Know About General Assembly 2023

Key Things to Know About General Assembly 2023

A quick guide to the speakers, events, and business of this year’s Unitarian Universalist Association annual meeting.

Elaine McArdle
logo with yellow GA text and gray silhouettes of diverse people holding hands


This year’s General Assembly, the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association, will be held June 21–25, with the theme “Faithfully Becoming.” As accessibility and inclusion are centered, this will be the second year in a row that GA is ​​multiplatform, and delegates may attend the entire event online or in person in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

A full range of programming and business will take place, including a number of online, on-demand programs. Each day’s sessions will start later in the morning Eastern Time than in the past in order to accommodate delegates in other time zones. As of June 8, there were 1,351 virtual registrants and 2,310 onsite registrants according to LaTonya Richardson, General Assembly and Conference Services director.

Here are some more things to know about General Assembly 2023:

All delegate information can be accessed through the delegate participation platform at Delegate registration is required in order to vote on business and is separate from GA 2023 registration.

The GA app by Whova lets users view GA program listings, speaker and exhibitor profiles, create their own schedules, and more. It’s available for free download in the iTunes and Google Play app stores or can be used from a desktop browser. Sign in with the email used to register for GA.

Virtual emcees, who will enhance the multiplatform GA experience by connecting the virtual audience to what’s happening in person, are Rev. Margalie Belizaire, the settled minister of First Unitarian Church of Orlando, Florida; Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Boyd, minister and director of religious education at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, Hawaii; and Ida M. Jones, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, California.

Don’t bring cash! The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh is a cashless venue. Cash will not be accepted, but you can use Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and Apple Pay.

How much social distance? In-person attendees are asked to place a red, yellow, or green sticker on their name badge to let people know their personal comfort level with safe distancing. Red sticker: 6 feet apart; Yellow sticker: 3 feet apart; Green sticker: within 3 feet Please pay attention to other people’s stickers and ask their permission before engaging in any physical acts of greeting, support, or affection.

The Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt wearing glasses, smiling

UUA presidential candidate Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt.

© EYE Imagery

The Ware Lecturewill be presented this year by Imani Perry, author of the New York Times bestseller South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. The lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, June 24, and is only open to registered attendees.

A new UUA president will be elected this year at GA. Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt is running unopposed for the six-year presidency. There will also be elections for open positions on the UUA Board of Trustees, Board of Review, Nominating Committee, Commission on Appraisal, Commission on Social Witness, and for Financial Advisor.

The Service of the Living Traditionsermon will be delivered by Rev. Chris Buice, minister of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, with GA 2023’s Music Director, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout, who serves as director of worship arts at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Service of the Living Tradition, being held Thursday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, honors the milestones of UU religious professionals.

Sunday Morning Worship will be led by a born-and-bred Pittsburgher, Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti, senior minister of First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Sunday worship is scheduled for June 25 at 11 a.m. Eastern and is open to everyone.

Members of the UU Church of Spokane, Washington, walk in the Opening Celebration banner parade at GA 2019.

The 2019 GA banner parade in Spokane, Washington.

© 2019 Christopher L. Walton/UUA

Featured speaker Brian Broome, an award-winning author, will present and will then have a conversation with Rev. Michael J. Crumpler, the UUA’s LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs director. The multiplatform presentation is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 at 10 a.m. Eastern.

The Banner Parade, a traditional procession of congregational banners that officially opens GA on Wednesday evening, will return for the first time since 2019.

The Public Witness event this year, on Friday afternoon, is “Resist, Respond, Reimagine: A Side With Love Rally.” Gather to re-energize for the work ahead and to hear inspiring testimonies from UUs fighting for democracy, bodily autonomy, decriminalization, and climate justice. 

​​​The Sunday Service offering will benefit Proud Haven, a Pittsburgh-based 501 (c) 3 that operates Haven House, which offers safe shelter for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 18-25 who are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness.

Proposed revisions to Article II of the UUA bylaws, which relate to the Association’s Principles and Sources, will be voted on by delegates. Per the UUA Bylaws, the business mini-assembly for these proposed changes to Article II will take place during GA, on Thursday, June 22 (12:30 p.m. Eastern) The proposal, including any amendments, must receive a simple majority to move forward to GA 2024, where final approval of the Article II proposal will require a two-thirds vote.

a delegate asks questions at the General Assembly procedure table

A delegate stops by the information table during a GA 2022 business discussion. At right, Carey McDonald, UUA Executive Vice President, monitors online GA participants.

© 2022 Nancy Pierce/UUA

A business resolution submitted by petition by UU Young Adults for Divestment, “Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations” is also under consideration this year. The resolution will require a two-thirds vote for adoption.

The final business agendais available online. You can also read about the proposed Actions of Immediate Witness.

Pro/con lines during voting will alternate between on-site and online delegates, like last year. There is no procedural mic during GA, and votes to table, refer, or end discussion (call the question) will not be allowed. There will be an information desk where delegates can get answers from the Moderation Team and parliamentarian to questions or concerns about procedure.

It's not too late! GA registration is still open.