Exhibiting “Green” at General Assembly

Did you know that UUA will reuse 48,600 square feet of recycled content carpet at General Assembly this year? Carpet reuse avoids about 170,000 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions and saves enough water to fill 74,000 milk jugs!

Through practices like carpet reuse UUA and exhibitors are trying to create a ‘greener’ exhibit hall. A big thank you to all of these exhibitors who took steps to reduce the environmental impact of their booths this year:

These exhibitors reduced their footprint in a variety of ways, including:

  • Avoiding disposable booth elements by using materials and furnishings that are re-usable, rented or able to be donated.
  • Choosing reusable signage options, or ones that can be recycled locally.
  • Reusing packing materials and eliminating non-recyclable packaging.
  • Reducing or eliminating giveaways or ensuring these items are sustainable.
  • Using no lighting for their booth or choosing energy efficient lighting options like LED or CFL bulbs.
  • Using no flooring or choosing a re-usable carpet option with recycled content.

Come visit them in the exhibit hall and applaud their green practices!

To see find out more about the exhibit hall you can visit the list on our website or our new online event guide.

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

An Invitation to Remember, Reflect and Aspire at General Assembly


50th Anniversary Perspectives:

The Spirit and Necessity of Liberal Theology
Dr. Gary Dorrien, Leading American theologian Union Theological Seminary New York
Friday 1:00 PM  Ballroom A&D

A People’s History of Universalists and Unitarians
Rev. Dr. John Buehrens
Thursday 2:45 PM Ballroom C

Community Churches and Consolidation: John Haynes Holmes and Clarence Skinner
Dr. Dan McKanan, UUA Senior Lecturer
Harvard Divinity School
Friday 10:45 AM 213 D

Moral Imagination: 50 Years of UU Social Justice
Panel Discussion
Thursday 9:00 AM Ballroom A&D
Looking Forward, Looking Back: UU Scholars of Color Assess our History Panel Discussion
Saturday 1:00 PM 208 A

Fifty Years of Sexual Justice
Rev. Debra Haffner
Thursday 10:45 AM 218-219

Rewriting the UU Narrative: Where We Went Wrong
Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed
Friday 2:45 PM Ballroom A&D

Meet the UUA Presidents
The Revs. Schulz, Buehrens, Sinkford and Morales
Thursday 10:45 AM Ballroom A&D

50th Anniversary Worship Services:

Opening Worship: Re-Covenanting after 50 Years
Wednesday 7:45 PM  Hall C

Love, Unity, Aspiration: Blended Family as Metaphor
Dr. Leon Spencer
Friday 8 AM  Hall C

A Promise We Will Keep: Synergy Bridging Worship
Friday 8 PM  Hall C

What They Dreamed Is Ours to Do
Rev. Claire Feingold Thoryn
Saturday 8 AM  Hall C

And more:

Visit the Fiftieth Anniversary Booth (#921) in the Exhibit Hall
Share your UU memories in our recording booth and get your free 50th Anniversary pin!

50th UUA Birthday Party
Join the Celebration in the Exhibit Hall immediately following Opening Worship

New Epiphany Revival Hour
with UU composer and songster Nick Page, Friday 7 PM Hall C

Sing Fifty Years of UU Music
Saturday 7 PM in Hall C, before the Ware Lecture by Karen Armstrong

Welcome Message to Future GA Choir Members

Hello Future GA Choir Members!

I am thrilled to be the GA Choir Director for 2011! John Herrick (from Charlotte, NC) will be our fabulous GA Accompanist. I want to invite you to join the GA Choir this year, and let you know some of the changes and special things we’ll be doing this year.

Registration NEW!
This year, registration for the GA Choir will be done differently. The intention is to minimize the chaos and delay of registering for choir immediately before the first choir rehearsal. Instead of lining up to register for choir before the first rehearsal outside the rehearsal room, you will be able to register for choir and pick up your music, for a fee of $10, at the main GA registration area anytime during regular conference registration hours, which will begin on Tuesday, June 21st, 2:00-6:00 pm.

Registration for choir will continue at the main registration area on Wednesday from noon until 2:45. At 2:45, we will move registration outside the choir rehearsal room. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. If all available choir spots fill, we will keep a waiting list for spots that may open after the first rehearsal and notify you in time for the second rehearsal.

The GA choir rehearsals will be Wednesday, 3:00-4:15 pm, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 1:00-2:15. Participation in the GA Choir is a large time commitment and will limit the number of the wonderful workshops you can attend. I appreciate your commitment to this important and valued part of GA.

Choir Attire
This year, choir members will wear all black. If you have a stole of scarf that you wear as part of your home choir, please bring it. If not, please bring a long scarf from home to wear over your black shirt.

This year, the repertoire, particularly for the Sunday morning service, will be more contemporary. The Sunday morning music will be lively, solo-driven, and will be accompanied by both John Herrick and the amazing GA Band. Ideally, we would learn some of these pieces aurally rather than with written music and sing them with our hands free. In the interest of time, we will have written music, but it is my hope that we can shed the sheet music as the week progresses and have our hands open when we sing for morning worship. Think, “open minds and open hands”!

There are two opportunities for the GA Choir to sing. We will sing for Sunday morning worship, 8:45-10:15 am. and for the Closing Celebration, 5:00-6:00 pm.

I look forward to making music with you!

Amber Fetner
Music Director
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens

Choir at GA