It was a General Assembly like no other. Delegates participated in a dramatically new way of doing business at GA 2022, June 22–26, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s first fully multiplatform GA, as they voted on two business resolutions and a rules clarification, and two positions for the board of trustees.
Some attendees expressed frustration that fewer people were attending in person in Portland this year, while the multiplatform experience allowed many more to join online. Still, others felt that, on the contrary, a more manageable presence of people created a safer environment and facilitated more meaningful interactions in person while promoting equal access to all those participating online.
All delegates—onsite or online—voted via electronic ballot on their phones or computers or at special voting terminals at the Oregon Convention Center. All pro and con speakers were broadcast online and in the general session hall. There was no procedural mic during GA, and votes to table, refer, or end discussion (call the question) were not allowed.
This new approach—which the UUA calls “Reimagining Business Together”—reflects a move away from a focus on the parliamentary process and Robert’s Rules of Order to the actual issues.
“I love it,” said Liz Martin of Northwest UU Congregation in Sandy Springs, Georgia. “I was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, and I was able to attend General Session from my hotel room, which made it so much more sustainable to be here for so long. I was able to get the rest I needed but still able to participate and vote.”
“I’m really liking it so far,” said Massey Williams of First Unitarian Church in Rochester, New York. “I’m glad that I don’t have to miss out on things and that I can organize my time and take care of myself while still being able to check-in and see what everyone is up to and see all the amazing things that are happening.”
A business resolution asking GA to endorse the board’s plan to do a comprehensive rewrite of the UUA bylaws to remove overly complicated and inefficient governance passed overwhelmingly, with 951 yes votes (95.5 percent), 45 no votes (4.5 percent), and four abstentions.
Another business resolution, to re-envision the role of the GA Planning Committee (GAPC), also passed overwhelmingly, with 958 yes votes (95.9 percent), 41 no votes (4.1 percent), and one abstention.
A rules clarification to correct a typo in Rule G-9.13.10 regarding the Election Campaign Practice Committee (ECPC) garnered 973 yes votes (97.6 percent), 24 no votes (2.4 percent), and three abstentions.
There were two contested board of trustees races. For board slot number 11, the Rev. Justine Sullivan, nominated by the Nominating Committee, was elected with 1,766 votes (90.8 percent) over the Rev. Beverly Seese of the UU Fellowship of Kokomo, Indiana, who ran by petition and garnered 178 votes (9.2 percent).
For board slot number 7, current trustee the Rev. Suzanne Fast, who was nominated by the Nominating Committee, was re-elected with 1,735 votes (89.6 percent) over Rebecca Mattis, a member of the UU Church in Rutland, Vermont, who received 202 votes (10.4 percent).
Three Actions of Immediate Witness passed: “We Do Not Consent: Rejecting Legal Challenges to Abortion” (99.7 percent of the votes in favor); “Antiracism and Reparations via Restorative Justice” (95 percent); and “Stop the Privatization of Medicare” (77 percent).