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Public Witness at General Assembly

2014

WaterFire Providence—Love Reaches Out

“Justice is what love looks like in public.”—Cornel West

A major feature of every General Assembly is a public witness: an opportunity to stand on the side of love in our host city.

This year, on Saturday June 28, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will cosponsor WaterFire Providence under the theme “Love Reaches Out,” honoring our belief that love is justice and witnessing for the power of love to change the world in radical, faithful ways.

WaterFire is a non-profit riverfront community arts festival whose mission is to foster community engagement and creatively transform the city. The festival includes music, art, ritual, and the signature feature of lighting braziers of wood on the river. It is a celebration of community, the arts, and the natural world.

We will process together from a “Make Way for Love” worship service in the Convention Center to the WaterFire riverfront, wearing our “Love” shirts. We will sing together; spend time reflecting, meditating, or praying; light flames for love; and be part of this public art event.

A Standing on the Side of Love tent will showcase what it means for Unitarian Universalists to place love at the center of our efforts to be the change we want to see in the world. Stations around the river will offer places for reflecting and lighting candles for love. Let’s proclaim our “good news” in community.

Together we will embody the theme of GA—love reaches out!—igniting fires on the river and flames in our hearts; lighting up the sky with love!

Learn more about WaterFire Providence:

Prepare for this year’s public witness by considering and discussing with others:

  • What does “love reaching out” look like for you? What does it mean to you to be one of the “love people”?
  • What is your “UU elevator speech”? What does it mean to you to be UU? How does it relate to love?

2013

Where is Our Energy? Witness for Earth, Our Communities, and Our Future

UUs marched from the Louisville Convention Center to the Belvedere, a promenade overlooking the Ohio River, where musicians, activists, and ministers led them in song and prayer. “We can choose another way,” UUA President Peter Morales said. “We need not live in a way that degrades the planet.” He urged UUs to work for environmental justice together and with their faith partners “for all of humanity and all of the earth.” More from UUWorld

Joining the UUs were people from many faith communities, including representatives from Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Native Americans, Presbyterians, Hindus, and members of the United Church of Christ. Many environmental groups were represented as well, including Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light, 350 Louisville, and the Sierra Club. Author, spiritual environmental justice activist, economic critic, and farmer Wendell Berry and activist Tim DeChristopher also spoke.

2012

Interfaith Witness for Human Rights:
Candlelight Vigil at Tent City Jail

Over 2,000 people are being held at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s infamous Tent City Jail. Another 6,000 people are being held in other Maricopa County jails in the same areas, south of W. Durango St. To date over 427,000 inmates have gone through Tent City Jail where people are crowded together on wooden planks in broiling heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.

UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, United Church of Christ General Minister & President Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, other interfaith clergy, and local UU and human rights leaders participated. Multimedia coverage.

2011

Standing on the Side of Love with LGBT People Everywhere!

Rev. Peter Morales, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President, Rev. Mark Kiyimba, Minister of the UU Church of Kampala, Uganda, Ian Palmquist, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina Interfaith, and community partners joined together for a witness to help spread our values of equality and justice, inclusion and acceptance. Event Flyer (PDF)

2010

Standing on the Side of Love for Marriage Equality

General Assembly attendees were invited to join in an Interfaith Community Public Witness Event at the Twin Cities’ Pride Weekend—the fourth largest bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (BGLT) PRIDE in the nation. Full story.

2009

Members of the General Assembly joined Unitarian Universalist Association President William Sinkford, Bishop John C. Wester, The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, Rev. Canon Dr. Pablo Ramos, and interfaith and community leaders to Stand on the Side of Love with Immigrant Families.

2008

Public Witness at General Assembly 2008 (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) was Valuing ALL Families: Interfaith Community Witness Event—Immigrant & BGLT Families (PDF).

For more information contact socialwitness@uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

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WaterFire 2013 Highlights

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WaterFire Performer


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Activist Tim DeChristopher speaks at the 2013 Public Witness in Louisville, KY


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2012 Witness at Tent City in Phoenix, AZ

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