UUA General Assembly this year marked a time of celebration and decision making for our Association of Congregations.
In the celebration category, we marked 50 years since the merger of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. The entire assembly paraded into the Exhibit Hall for cupcakes after Opening Ceremonies, which looked back at our joint history and began a week of investigating our future. PNWD and other districts also honored their district presidents over the years – click here to see our list.
Celebration was also in order as several congregations and individuals from PNWD were honored for their achievements:
· UU Fellowship of McMinnville (OR) was welcomed as a new Member Congregation of the UUA.
· Westside UU Congregation (Seattle, WA) was recognized as a Breakthrough Congregation, the most recent of three PNWD congregations so honored in recent years. Westside’s video of their story was fun and insightful – we’ll post a link when we find one!
· East Shore Unitarian Church (Bellevue, WA) was honored by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) as the 2011 Social Justice Congregation. The award, presented at a UUSC breakfast held during UUA General Assembly, recognizes exemplary institutional efforts to advance human rights work in collaboration with UUSC. The congregation’s many activities and generosity in supporting several UUSC efforts were noted as outstanding.
· Linda McKim Bell, First Unitarian Church of Portland (OR), received the 2011 Social Action Leadership Award from UUSC for her creative, inspiring, and effective leadership in working with UUSC to advance justice. Linda volunteers as regional coordinator for the UUSC in the Pacific Northwest.
· UUSC selected Alice Roup, University Unitarian Church (Seattle, WA), as one of two recipients of the 2011 Mary-Ella Holst Youth Activist Award. Alice was cited for her achievements in advancing human rights through her activities with UUSC, such as educating her congregation about UUSC’s Freedom Summer: A Civil Rights Journey, in which she participated in 2010.
· Fran and Roger Corn, East Shore Unitarian Church (Bellevue, WA), were among several recipients of the "Steward of Partnership" Award given by the UU Partner Church Council. They have been dedicated to nurturing partner churches in the Khasi Hills and in Transylvania.
· Four PNWD congregations were awarded Green Sanctuary accreditation: Anchorage UU Fellowship (AK), Atkinson Memorial Church (Oregon City, OR), Olympia UU Congregation (Olympia, WA), West Hills UU Fellowship (Portland, OR). Photos of their efforts were included in the "Going Green Beyond Belief" report given by UUA President Peter Morales. The report also featured PNWD's Green Team at District Assemblies, and Kitsap UU Fellowship's church garden (Bremerton, WA).
General Assembly is also the primary governance means of our Association of Congregations, and this year brought several landmark decisions.
· The size of the UUA Board was reduced from 26 to 14, eliminating district-elected trustees. Read the UU World Blog report here.
· Nominating Committee terms were reduced from one six year term to terms of 3 years (with a maximum of two elected terms). Read the UU World Blog report here.
· After three years of study and debate, delegates passed a “Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating.” Read the Statement and learn about resources for congregations by clicking here.
· Three “Actions of Immediate Witness” (AIW) were adopted, as follows:
o Protest Rep. Peter King’s Hearings on “Muslim Radicalization”
o Support Southern California Supermarket Workers’ Struggle for Decent Wages and Benefits
o Oppose Citizens United—Support Free Speech for People
A fourth AIW, “Toward Ending the U.S. Military Engagement in Afghanistan,” as it did at the 2010 GA as well. To see the text of all four AIWs as proposed, click here.
· The process of considering and adopting AIWs was eliminated entirely for GA 2012, and will be reinstated in a revised form beginning with GA 2013. Read the UU World Blog report here.
Note: From the Social Justice Statements Book, “Actions of Immediate Witness are proposed and voted on at the same General Assembly. As the name suggests, they deal with issues that are particularly time-sensitive. Since they are not subject to congregational review, they are not considered policy of the Association—just the viewpoint of the General Assembly itself. They must be passed by a two-thirds vote.”
· Off-site delegate voting was approved, and will be effective with the 2012 GA. Read the UU World Blog report here.
· Four “Reponsive Resolutions” were adopted in the final Plenary Session of GA. Read the UU World Blog report here.
Note: Similar to AIWs, “Responsive Resolutions” speak to specific perspectives on the proceedings of a given General Assembly. They are defined by Section 4.16(c) of the UUA Bylaws as resolutions “made in response to a substantive portion of a report by an officer or committee reporting to a regular General Assembly.”
Substantial discussion and focus was paid to preparations for the 2012 General Assembly, set for Phoenix, AZ. This “Justice GA” will depart from “business as usual” and prioritize education and direct action related to issues of immigration, justice and human rights. PNWD congregations are called to undertake special study and engagement – see more information and resources by clicking here.
In addition, audio recordings of GA 2011 programs are available for purchase (CDs, audio DVDs, or downloadable files) at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Live Learning Center
. Purchase individual sessions or a conference audio package. Every GA registrant will have full access to the 2011 content in the Live Learning Center
. After GA, at no additional charge, registrants will be able to stream or download digital audio mp3 files from all recorded GA programs as well as videos of General Session events such as the Opening and Closing Celebrations, the Service of the Living Tradition, the Sunday Morning Worship, and the Ware Lecture. These files will be available no later than July 11, 2011