Follow major developments at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, June 21-25 in St. Louis, right here at uuworld.org. I'll be filing daily reports on major developments. (My colleagues Tom Stites and Don Skinner may toss in a tidbit or two.) Updates will be posted to uuworld.org/news/ga; you can also keep up using the GA blog's feed.
For extended coverage of GA events and workshops, including audio and video of major programs, please see the General Assembly section at UUA.org.
What's new at this year's General Assembly? Don Skinner's report highlights the new Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule, the introduction of a voluntary environmental impact fee, the first-ever "UU University" mini-conference for congregational leaders (June 20-21), and proposed changes to the Assembly's resolutions process. (Learn more about the $6 carbon offset fee and other aspects of the "greening of GA" at UUA.org.)
The business agenda [pdf] contains most of the items delegates will be voting on — including a proposal to extend the duration of the "study/action issue" process and to require more congregational buy-in for denominational "statements of conscience." (The current process involves two years of congregational input, but very few congregations have participated in recent years.)
This year the Assembly will vote on three resolutions in the study/action process. A resolution on global warming comes to the end of the two-year study/action process and will be presented as a Statement of Conscience. A study/action issue introduced last year on moral values in a pluralistic society comes up for renewal this year. And, somewhat surprisingly, only one new proposed study/action issue made it onto the agenda for consideration this year (pdf; see page 10). It asks:
Should the Unitarian Universalist Association reject the use of any and all kinds of violence and war to resolve disputes between peoples and nations and adopt a principle of seeking just peace through nonviolent means?
That promises to generate some lively conversation.
Another innovation this year will be open discussions during plenary sessions of major issues selected by congregations. These aren't business or action items, but an opportunity for congregational representatives to discuss issues facing their communities. UUA moderator Gini Courter asked congregations for input about this new initiative earlier this year, and she has set aside time in three plenary sessions to discuss these questions:
Finally, there are many intriguing workshops on the schedule, but one is sure to draw a crowd: the Commission on Appraisal's session asking for input on its review of the UUA's Principles, Sources, and Purposes. The Commission announced in April that it will lead a denomination-wide review of the UUA's governing covenant, which the UUA's bylaws require at least every 15 years.
If you have a General Assembly news tip, email cwalton at uuworld.org.
[Links updated 6.16.06.]
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Christopher L. Walton is editor of UU World. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Utah and is a member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.