by Rev. Sara Lewis
The General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association was held last week in Portland, and it was pretty great to gather in person with UU’s from around the country (and beyond) again, even as it was also strange and different and cautious – Covid is still very much here.
The gathering was multiplatform this year, with many participating virtually and some of us there on site. I appreciated the ways the gathering was adapted to try and make the experience more multiplatform friendly: for instance the banner parade that would have taken place in person before was replaced with a slide show of all the banners of congregations in attendance, so a virtual attendance congregation was shown in the same way that an on-site congregation was. Although we also had our new congregational banner hanging in the hall, to be admired by onsite attendees. Thank you again to the sewing ministry for the beautiful new banner!
Another change that was made to “even the playing field” between online and onsite participants was in the way we do business and how delegates vote. In the past, the UUA has utilized Robert’s Rules of Order and all voting has been done in person by raising your voting card to be counted during the meeting. This year, simplified business rules were voted on and adopted, and following discussion of business items all voting was done by virtual ballot with plenty of time to vote after the meeting. This change made business meetings much more enjoyable, easy to understand, and to participate in, I thought.
They’ve also changed the rules so you can sign up to be a “business only” online GA delegate for free, so if you are interested in being a delegate for OUUC and voting in next year’s General Assembly business (which will include the election of a new UUA President), please talk to me! It has never been this easy to participate in our associational decision making before. Honestly, it’s pretty painless to be a delegate now!
And the election of new leadership and practical changes to how we do our business is not the only thing going on with the UUA. This year we heard from the Article II Study Commission, which has been tasked with proposing changes to Article II of the UUA Bylaws. That sounds kind of boring, until you know that Article II is where we got the 7 Principles and the 6 Sources. The Commission had some preliminary possibilities to share with us all this year, and they are dreaming big. This won’t be a small edit, an added principle, or some minor wordsmithing. This is a re-examination of what lies at the heart of our purpose, our values, our inspiration, and our commitments as UU’s. It promises to be a big shift in our story of ourselves as a faith community and tradition! We will definitely be sharing more and paying attention to this process during the coming program year at OUUC, and you can also follow the Commission on Facebook.
I thought it was a great GA this year, and I want to thank the other OUUC folks who attended: Tami Black, Tiffany Felch, Fritz Wrede, Bobbie Adams, Elizabeth Rodrick, and Rev Carol McKinley.
And for everyone who would like a little taste of GA, join us on July 24th when we will be streaming the GA Sunday worship.