General Assembly can mean a great number of things to people, depending on who you ask. The spectrum of UUs ranges from those who have never heard of GA, to those whom would be incomplete without this annual week-long gathering of thousands of their favorite type of people: fellow UUs.
Through various leadership positions each GA I've attended (the past three) has been dramatically different. Yet, there's one thing that I know is present at every GA: congregational leaders connecting with one another. It is this networking that allows for our congregations to connect with one another, learn from each other's experiences, and strengthen our Unitarian Universalist ministry.
I thought that this GA went very well, even with hot Florida in June temperatures which can often prompt blood to boil. There were a great number of things that made this General Assembly significant, here's my list:
Presidential candidates' forum: next year a new president of the UUA will be elected, this forum allowed the two candidates (Rev. Peter Morales and Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman) to voice their platform.
Service of the Living Tradition and Ware Lecture: these two events this year left me, as well as everyone I spoke to, feeling recharged and inspired. The Service of the Living Tradition is the worship honoring our fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders. The Ware lecturer this year was environmental leader and human rights activist Van Jones, whose name will now grace a list of past lecturers which includes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Both events this year were very moving and received overwhelmingly well.
Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution: at our District Assembly in April the delegates voted to approve this resolution in support of our UU Youth and Young Adults. The plenary of GA also voted in support of this resolution after an interesting debate. (This took place during Friday's plenary 58 minutes in.)
The debate on the plenary floor around the Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution fueled discussions of how it is we do ministry with our youth and young adults, and the momentum resulted in two responsive resolutions, one of which congregations should be aware especially aware of. The resolution asks the UUA administration, the Board of Trustees, the Nominating Committee, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the General Assembly Planning Committee, and each congregation and district to report back annually for the next three years on their progress in implementing the Empowerment Resolution. It asks the UUA administration to create a reporting mechanism and a means of presenting these reports at the next three GAs. The text of the responsive resolution can be found here (scroll down).
Live video streams of the plenary sessions and programming are available on-line.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer, staying cool, and having some fun.