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
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 Thursday 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 ministers.
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 matters.
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 3,000 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 2014, GA will be held in Providence,
RI, from June 25 through June 29. This year's GA will focus on ways to help our association live into a future
where our “Love Reaches
Out” to share our faith both within and beyond our
congregations’ walls. Program details, registration forms, and tips for first-time
attendees can be found at the UUA”s General Assembly website. That site also has
photos, blogs, and videos from the past GA's.
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. Depending on demand,
the church may subsidize part of your trip expenses. 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/program/14599.shtml