On the second full day of General Assembly 2007, delegates elected two trustees and candidates to five UUA committees and attendees took part in a giant open meeting exercise to work out an answer to the question, “In today’s complex world, what is our mission as a faith community?”
The goal of the exercise is to engage representatives of the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in shaping the association’s mission. The GA vocabulary refers to the exercise as Open Space because the process is adapted from a meeting technique called “Open Space Technology” that is designed for use by far smaller groups. The first round of Open Space meetings, on Thursday, drew about 1,000 participants who proposed 285 questions for exploration. On Friday, 120 of these questions were drawn at random and a second round of meetings to discuss them attracted about 800. (See uuworld.org's article about the Open Space initiative.)
In the morning plenary on Friday, UUA Secretary Paul Rickter estimated that more than half of all congregations had engaged in at least one action addressing racism or classism, as asked by resolution proposed from the floor of last year’s General Assembly. Several congregations gave brief reports about their activities. (See UU World’s article about congregational responses in the Summer issue.)
In the evening plenary, the Rev. José Ballester of the First Unitarian Church of Houston was reelected for a second term as an at-large trustee, and Charlie Burke of Milton, Massachusetts, who will be a student this fall at Whittier College in California, was elected as the youth trustee at large. All candidates elected were unopposed, including:
- Four members of the Commission on Appraisal, which is charged with reviewing “any function or activity of the Association which in its judgment will benefit from an independent review” and issues reports to the General Assembly. The Commission is currently conducting a review of the UUA’s Principles, Sources, and Purposes.
- One member of the Commission on Social Witness, whose mission is to engage individuals, congregations, and districts in an ongoing process of study, action and reflection on pressing social issues to deepen our faith, to foster a greater sense of association among Unitarian Universalists, and to proclaim our vision of justice in the world.
- Five members of the General Assembly Planning Committee, which selects the site for each General Assembly, sets the daily schedule, and determines which organizations affiliated with the UUA may present program material. In addition, the committee oversees the annual Ware Lecture, opening events, music, ambiance, and evening activities. The UUA Board, based on recommendations by the Planning Committee, selects GA sites four to five years in advance.
- Two members of the Ministerial Fellowship Board of Review, which hears appeals from ministers who have had their fellowship terminated by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee.
Three members of the Nominating Committee, the body which nominated the slate elected at this General Assembly.