The annual conference of
our denomination is the UUA General Assembly, affectionately known as GA. It
is held each summer and draws about 5,000 UUs from around the country. GA is
divided into two parts, a program part and a business part.
The program part of GA
The program part of GA
offers about 300 sessions of workshops, lectures, worship services and
activities just for fun such as a choir. It begins with the Opening
Celebration on Wednesday evening. You can choose from separate
tracks for young adults, professional staff, religious education, lay leaders
such as board members, and topical interests such as climate change or gay
rights. Several evenings are given over to distinguished lecture series
by big-name speakers. Every day they hold at least one worship service, often
in formats you may never have seen before.
A highlight of the GA
programming, usually one of its most moving moments, is the Service of the
Living Tradition, a worship conducted by the UUA Department of
Ministry. It often has several hundred UU ministers on stage at once, and it
honors those who have retired or died during the year or achieved other
distinctions. And, similar to a graduation ceremony, new UU ministers come
forward and individually shake the hand of the UUA president. Typically this
Service includes a powerful sermon by one of the denomination’s leading
Predictably, GA also has an
exhibit hall where dozens of vendors offer books, videos, UU jewelry, schools
and camps, interest groups to join, and more.
The business part of GA
The business sessions,
beginning on Friday morning and continuing on all of Saturday and Sunday,
consist of large plenary meetings where delegates hear UUA business reports,
debate various issues, and vote on the annual budget and other business
The delegates also vote
upon the UUA’s annual Statements of Social Conscience. These
Statements often attract national press coverage, and they have become a
major source of recognition and influence for our denomination. They often
are bellwethers of future social trends and are thus controversial. If you
can picture thousands of UUs in a room trying to agree on a volatile topic,
you’ll understand that this part of GA often gets quite spirited and lively.
you go ….
In 2016, GA will be held in
Columbus, OH, from June 22 through June 26. The theme for GA 2016 will be Heart
Land: Where Faiths Connect. The faith
world is increasingly multifaith. People are crossing borders of religion and
spiritual practice to create wholeness in their lives individually and
collectively. The labels – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, theist
and non-theist – no longer define who or what we love, or how spirit moves in
our lives. General Assembly 2016 in Columbus Ohio will assemble leaders and
communities of many faiths to worship together, learn from one another, and
create a new vision of faith that no longer divides us, but connects us to an
interdependent future that works for all.
- Most events will be held in
the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N High St, Columbus, OH
- Registration and housing
reservations open on March 1
Consider becoming an
official delegate. MDUUC gets to name 10 people each year as its official
representatives (delegates). You will help make our congregation’s voice
heard by participating in the votes and floor debates. And you’ll gain a much better understanding
of the key issues of the day in our denomination. If this idea interests you,
please contact Jon Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the General Assembly is available on the
UUA Web Site at: http://www.uua.org/ga.