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UUA General Assembly

Not sure what to expect at the upcoming General Assembly?

There will be something for everyone at this GA, no matter where you may be in the spectrum of social justice work, whether you’re just beginning and coming to learn, or whether you’re a seasoned activist – there will be programming and opportunities for you to have meaningful involvement.

There will be community events outside as well as work done indoors. Phoenix will be hot, but the housing is nearby and there are a lot of food options in the convention center, so it will be possible to limit your sun exposure. There will be an exhibit hall, the Justice GA Expo, for which we are still accepting exhibitors. GA programming will be focused on justice issues, including topics such as the spiritual foundations of justice work, the theology of social justice, as well as a more tactical focus on organizing.

Much more information about the upcoming Justice General Assembly is available at www.uua.org/ga.

The Phoenix Convention Center (photo credit: Greater Phonenix CVB)



It’s Time For All Congregations To Certify and Vote!

Attention UUA Member Congregations: Be sure to Certify and Vote before 5 p.m. PST on February 1!

Certification of Membership is an annual process whereby member congregations report statistical information from their previous fiscal year, and a current certified membership number, to the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The certified number of members will be used as the basis for calculating your congregation’s Fair Share contribution to the UUA Annual Program Fund, as well as District dues (FY 2013).  The certified number also determines the number of voting delegates that may represent your congregation at the 2012 General Assembly.  Congregations are required to report this statistic each year before the February 1 deadline as part of the UUA’s Bylaws & Rules (Rule 3.5.1. Required Annual Report).

GA Delegates voting
The votes that GA delegates cast have a huge impact on Unitarian Universalism. They determine our elected leaders, amend the bylaws and rules that govern our Association, and shape the justice work that we do.

Congregations certify online by logging in to the Data Services Login for Congregations.  In addition to providing statistical and financial data, congregations are also asked to the update the congregation’s contact information for the UUA Directory, and to participate in the Congregational Poll.

Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) are issues selected by Unitarian Universalist member congregations for four years of study, reflection and action.  In the third year of this process, delegates at General Assembly can vote to approve a Statement of Conscience (SOC) resulting from congregational feedback on the CSAI.  A fourth year is devoted to implementation.

Five congregations have proposed Congregational Study/Action Issues for 2012-2016.  The Congregational Poll will determine whether any or all of these proposals will be submitted to the delegates of the 2012 General Assembly (GA) for consideration.  Congregations should vote “Yes” for the proposals that the GA delegates should consider for adoption; “No” for proposals they should not; and “Abstain” for proposals about which the congregation does not have an opinion.

Proposed CSAIs for 2012 – 2016

Maria Hinojosa selected as the 2012 Ware Lecturer

Maria Hinojosa, award winning broadcast journalist and author, as been selected as the Ware Lecturer for the 2012 Justice GA. She is the anchor and managing editor of NPR’s Latino USA.  In April 2010, Hinojosa launched The Futuro Media Group with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism that respects and celebrates the cultural richness of the American experience. In addition, Hinojosa is the anchor of the Emmy-award winning talk show Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One from WGBH/La Plaza.

Recently, Hinojosa was a corresponant for a powerful PBS Frontline documentary called Lost in Detention, a comprehensive examination of the detention, deportation and enforcement aspect of the United States’ controversial immigration policy.

 Watch Lost in Detention on PBS.org

From NPR:  Maria Hinojosa has helped tell America’s untold stories and brought to light unsung heroes in America and abroad.

Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—including the immigrant work camps in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, teen girl victims of sexual harassment on the job, and Emmy-award winning stories of the poor in Alabama—previously as a senior correspondent for PBS’Now and currently as a contributing correspondent on PBS’ Need to Know.

Throughout her career Hinojosa has helped define the conversation about our times and our society with one of the most authentic voices in broadcast. As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa told groundbreaking stories about youth and violence and immigrant communities. During her eight years as a CNN correspondent Hinojosa took viewers into communities that had never been shown on television. Her investigative journalism presses the powerful for the truth while giving voice to lives and stories that illuminate the world we live in.

Hinojosa has won top honors in American journalism including two Emmys, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking Child Brides: Stolen Lives. In 2009, Hinojosa was honored with an AWRT Gracie Award for Individual Achievement as Best TV Correspondent. Three times over the past decade, Hinojosa has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Latinos in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine. She has received the Ruben Salazar Communications Award from the National Council of La Raza and was inducted into the “She Made It” Hall of Fame at the Paley Center/Museum of Television and Radio in a program that honors women trail blazers in the media.

Hinojosa is author of two books including a motherhood memoir, Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son.

Born in Mexico City, Hinojosa was raised in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York.

Deadline Extended for GA 2012 Program Proposals!

Program proposals for the 2012 General Assembly, a Justice GA, will now be accepted until Wednesday, November 30.

Proposals submitted will be reviewed by the GA Program Development Group (PDG), a diverse team of Unitarian Universalist Association staff and members of the GA Panning Committee. For GA 2012, a Justice GA, the PDG will also include representatives from the Arizona Immigration Ministry (AZIM) and the GA 2012 Accountability Group.

The Program Development Group is charged with identifying excellent General Assembly programming – education and preparation that will build the capacity of Unitarian Universalists to stand in opposition to systemic racism and to witness on immigration, racial and economic justice. The PDG will review all submitted proposals and will select approximately 100 proposed events for inclusion on the General Assembly schedule.

To merit consideration, proposals submitted for the 2012 GA should be related to the issues of migration and borders, and/or racial and economic justice. Workshops and other events that serve to educate and prepare attendees to publicly witness and to perform service, both in Arizona and at home, are especially sought. Every proposal need not be about immigration; however, a reasonable person must be able to draw a clear connection between the proposed topic(s) and the issue of Justice. For example, a program on water scarcity would be considered, as its relationship to immigration and economic justice is easily demonstrated.

All proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, November 30.  Though the Program Proposal Form is short, it still requires the clear description of a fully designed 75-minute event (workshop, worship, etc.). Proposers must assume the participation of people of all abilities and of all generations in all General Assembly activities.

GA 2012 Program Proposal Form

2011 Ware Lecturer is Karen Armstrong

Dr. Karen Armstrong, who has been named Ware Lecturer for 2011 General Assembly, will discuss her new book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and the companion project, Charter for Compassion during her appearance at GA.

Armstrong recommends that anyone attending this year’s Ware Lecture read Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life in advance of her engagement. The book offers thought-provoking information about religious, ethical, spiritual, philosophical, and literary traditions that supports Armstrong’s thesis that compassion is a central component of all.

Final Agenda for the 2011 General Assembly is Now Online

The Final Agenda for the 2011 General Assembly is now online. It contains substantive proposed amendments to the UUA Bylaws that were added to the agenda by the Board of Trustees after the Tentative Agenda was posted in March. Congregations are encouraged carefully review the Final Agenda and discuss the business items with their delegates.

Some of the proposed UUA Bylaw amendments would:

  • Reduce the size of the UUA Board from 26 persons to 14, change the process of electing Trustees, and shorten their terms of service
  • Modify the term of persons serving on the Nominating Committee
  • Introduce a mini-assembly process in the first year of a two year process to amend Article II of the UUA Bylaws, The Principles and Purposes
  • Eliminate Actions of Immediate Witness at General Assembly, or
  • Eliminate Actions of Immediate Witness at General Assembly in 2012, reconstitute them beginning with the 2013 General Assembly, and modify the process for submission

Delegates will also debate and vote on whether to adopt the draft Statement of Conscience Ethical Eating: Food & Environmental Justice.

A Message from the 50th Anniversary Task Force of the UUA

May 15

While we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Unitarian Universalist Association at this year’s General Assembly in Charlotte in June, the true date of the consolidation of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association falls on May 15, 1961, the anniversary of which will occur this coming Sunday, May 15, 2011. So let’s get the celebrations started now!

To help our congregations mark this important moment in our history, we would like to share the following possible Chalice Lightings or reflections for worship this Sunday.:


Fifty years ago this week, Universalism and Unitarianism in America combined to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. This “milestone moment,” as one leader of the time put it, envisioned a religious family of congregations and people dedicated to a faith that would be “history-making rather than history-bound.” Over the last fifty years Unitarian Universalists have indeed made religious history – at Selma, in courageous interfaith action for justice; in the Women and Religion movement; in pioneering efforts on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights; in environmental activism; and more. Therefore, “seeing that we are compassed round by so great a cloud of witnesses, the great of past and present and all the humble heroes who worked and sacrificed beside them, who, indeed, held up their hands and made strong their voices, let us now, in our own day, lay aside every weight of selfishness and fear and take up with faith and joy the urgent tasks to which this historic hour has summoned us. Let us together build the free and universal church of tomorrow.”

Based on the sermon given by the Rev. Dr. Donald Szantho Harrington at the
service in Symphony Hall, Boston, celebrating the formation of the UUA.


50th Anniversary Chalice Lighting words by Stefan Papa:

As two candles lit one flame fifty years ago, the chalice held two traditions with their histories, hopes, and dreams.

Our kindred fellowships have come together; united, we are stronger. With gifts from each tradition, we have developed our faith for today: an empowering, justice seeking and spiritually grounded faith, which blesses us and calls us to live with courage and love.

May this fire kindle within us, as it did for those who lit it fifty years ago, strength and hope, clarity and commitment, gratitude and faith in the future.


For more worship resources, to explore historical documents, or to share your own reflections about our Association and participate in our Oral History project, please visit us at http://www.uua.org/50th .  Happy Anniversary, everyone!

Yours in Faith and Celebration,

The 50th Anniversary Task Force of the UUA

UUA Congregational Life Staff Group invites you to TABLE TALKS at GA

The UUA Congregational Life Staff Group will be facilitating Table Talks throughout GA.  Table Talks may be follow-up questions from GA programming or stand alone questions on many topics.  Each Table Talk will last 27 minutes.

Visit the Congregational Life Booth in the GA Exhibit Hall ( Booth# 721 on the UUA Expressway) for a schedule of Table Talks.

Sample topics (subject to change):

  • Governance
  • Hot Worship (beyond the weekly announcements)
  • Stewardship
  • What is the Adaptive Leadership Toolkit?
  • Appreciative Inquiry: asking better questions for tomorrow
  • What IS Justice Ministry?
  • Ministerial Transition: how to best utilize your district staff when you’re in a ministerial transition?
  • Conflict
  • Size Changes: Transition conflicts
  • Family MinistryTable Talks