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Plenary VII

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General Assembly 2010 Event 5007

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The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. See the UU World General Assembly Blog for up-to-date reporting.

Call to Order

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

I now call to order the Seventh Plenary Session of the Forty-Ninth General Assembly [GA] of the Unitarian Universalist Association [UUA].

Chalice Lighting

Transforming Governance: District Presidents’ Update

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Before this General Assembly even began, district presidents and district board members were here, meeting with the UUA Board. I’ve asked the current and incoming presidents of the District Presidents’ Association to give you an update on our meeting. Please welcome Mary Ellen Morgan, President of the Pacific Central District and John Sanders, President of the Northern New England District.

Secretary’s Report on 2009 Responsive Resolution on Power, Privilege and Oppression

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Recognition of Green Sanctuary Congregations

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Please welcome Robin Nelson.

[Moderator Robin Nelson speaking]

Robin: Good afternoon [Slide 1]. I’m Robin Nelson, Program Manager for Congregational Stewardship Services at the UUA and one of my jobs is managing the Green Sanctuary Program. This marks the second year that the UUA has had responsibility for managing the Green Sanctuary Program. We continue to give gratitude and thanks to the UU Ministry for Earth who originally founded and managed the program [Slide 2].

Through the Green Sanctuary program [Slide 3], we are building the UUA’s commitment to the environment. We are engaging individual congregations and inviting them to join our larger faith community in “greening” our faith and rectifying environmental problems. In conjunction with the UU Ministry for Earth, we are focusing more on environmental justice—the human affirmation of our place within the interdependent web of all existence. Environmental justice pursues simultaneously the protection of natural systems and the ecological health of human communities, specifically disadvantaged, oppressed, and indigenous communities, while building relationships to create a larger impact.

People of faith around the world, especially UUs and those of us in this plenary session, are coming to understand that threats to the environment are threats to the principles of justice and compassion at the core of every religion. The Green Sanctuary program invites congregations to participate in environmental stewardship and to practice our faith. Activism is faith—it’s the way our faith enriches and re-inspires us.

Including those that are being acknowledged today [Slide 4], there are 3 congregations participating in the re-accreditation process, 130 accredited Green Sanctuaries and 120 congregations in candidacy to become a Green Sanctuary. That’s a total of 253 congregations, or one out of four UU congregations that are committed to working together to restore Earth and renew Spirit. This is a great accomplishment. And I invite all those congregations who have yet to join the Green Sanctuary movement to make a commitment to living out our 7th Principle [Slide 5]—the respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part—as well as the other 6 Principles which environmental stewardship also appeals to.

Today we acknowledge and celebrate a record 35 congregations that have earned Green Sanctuary accreditation during the past year. Please hold your applause until I have finished reading the list.

  • [Slide 6] Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville in Florida
  • [Slide 7] Keene Unitarian Universalist Church in New Hampshire
  • [Slide 8] Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst in New York
  • [Slide 9] Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church in Maine
  • [Slide 10] First Parish in Concord in Massachusetts
  • [Slide 11] Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto in California
  • [Slide 12] First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis here in Minnesota
  • [Slide 13] Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley in North Carolina
  • [Slide 14] First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee in Wisconsin
  • [Slide 15] Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains in California
  • [Slide 16] Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Emerald Coast in Florida
  • [Slide 17] Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ohio
  • [Slide 18] Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church in New Hampshire
  • [Slide 19] Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin in California
  • [Slide 20] University Unitarian Church in Seattle, Washington
  • [Slide 21] First Universalist Church in Rockland in Maine
  • [Slide 22] Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County in Iowa
  • [Slide 23] Heritage Unitarian Universalist Church in Ohio
  • [Slide 24] Unitarian Church of Hinsdale in Illinois
  • [Slide 25] Kittitas Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington
  • [Slide 26] South Church in New Hampshire
  • [Slide 27] Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena in California
  • [Slide 28] All Souls Church, Unitarian in the District of Columbia
  • [Slide 29] Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing in New Jersey
  • [Slide 30] Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Canandaigua in New York
  • [Slide 31] Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Arizona
  • [Slide 32] Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven in Massachusetts
  • [Slide 33] Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Maryland
  • [Slide 34] Unitarian Universalist Church of the Eastern Slopes in New Hampshire
  • [Slide 35] First Parish, Lexington in Massachusetts
  • [Slide 36] First Parish in Framingham in Massachusetts
  • [Slide 37] Unitarian Church of Barnstable in Massachusetts
  • [Slide 38] Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno in California
  • [Slide 39] Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church in Massachusetts.
  • [Slide 40] Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix in Arizona

In addition to these 35 congregations, three congregations that have already achieved Green Sanctuary accreditation are embarking on the re-accreditation process. Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in New Jersey [Slide 41], Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church in Maine [Slide 42], and Unitarian Universalist Church of Saco and Biddeford in Maine [Slide 43] are the first congregations in the UUA to show their continued commitment to the environment through participating in this process.

All of these congregations have done incredible work and are living examples of how we can promote stewardship of the Earth [Slide 44]. Congratulations.

Song: “My Life Flows On in Endless Song”

[John Hubert speaking]

Hi everyone! Let’s take a break for a minute and join in singing the Quaker song written by Robert Lowry and Anna Bartlett Warner known as “How Can I Keep from Singing?” I invite you to rise in body or spirit as we sing #108 from Singing the Living Tradition “My Life Flows On in Endless Song.”

My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the real though far off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing.
It sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing!

What though the tempest ‘round me roars, I know the truth, it liveth.
What though the darkness ‘round me close, songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love prevails in heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing!

When tyrants tremble as they hear the bells of freedom ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing!
To prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging;
When friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing!

Special Guest: Senator Al Franken

This is set for about 15 minutes into the next business item. Meg Riley will introduce Senator Franken.

Debate/Vote on Actions of Immediate Witness

[2010 Actions of Immediate Witness]

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

We will now take the final action on the Actions of Immediate Witness that you admitted to the agenda on Saturday morning. If you are a delegate, when you came into this Session today, you had the opportunity to pick up from the information table next to the Plenary hall entry doors a copy of admitted Actions of Immediate Witness, as amended. They are collected as an attachment to today's “CSW Alert.” You will find on the facing pages amendments proposed at mini assemblies but not incorporated by the Commission on Social Witness. They appear in the order of priority determined by the chair of the Commission on Social Witness in consultation with the Parliamentarian, our legal counsel, and me. The required vote to adopt an action of Immediate Witness is a two-thirds vote.

The [first] Action of Immediate Witness that is before you for adoption is titled ___________________________.

Will the Chair of the Commission on Social Witness please make the appropriate motion?


Moved: To adopt the Action of Immediate Witness entitled ____________ as set forth in the 2010 General Assembly Revised Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness.

[Debate occurs]

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

There being no [further] discussion of the motion, discussion is now closed and a vote is in order. All those in favor of adopting the Action Of Immediate Witness, please raise your voting cards. (pause for response.) All those opposed (pause for response).

[Moderator announces the results of the vote]

[Continue for up to 6 AIWs]

Song: “Circle ‘Round for Freedom”

[John Hubert speaking]

“Circle ‘Round for Freedom” was written by American songwriter Linda Hirschhorn, who believes that holding your own part while other parts are being sung in close harmony is a model for being able to survive in today’s world.

I am again joined by Kellie Walker from Valley UU Church in Chandler, AZ, and Sarah Dan Jones from the Georgia Mountains UU Church. Sarah Dan will be singing the melody and we will begin with her. Then Kellie and I will add some harmonies. Feel free to follow one of our three parts or make up one of your own!

Please rise in body or spirit and join in singing #155 in Singing the Living Tradition, “Circle ‘Round for Freedom.”

Circle ‘round for freedom
Circle ‘round for peace
For all of us imprisoned,
Circle for release.

Circle for the planet
Circle for each soul,
For the children of our children
Keep the circle whole.

Moderator’s Report

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Recognizing the GA Planning Committee, Local Committee, and Staff

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Well, we’ve almost survived another General Assembly. Before we get to the end, let’s thank some of the many people who made this General Assembly possible. Let’s have the GA Planning Committee, local committee, volunteers, Dr. Jan Sneegas and the members of her staff in the General Assembly and Conference Planning Services office all come up on stage so you can shower them with your love and appreciation.

Responsive Resolutions (if any)

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

We have come to the place on the Final Agenda where Responsive Resolutions may be considered. A responsive Resolution is defined by Section 4.16(c) of the Bylaws as a “resolution made in response to a substantive portion of a report by an officer or committee reporting to a regular General Assembly.” Are there any motions to adopt a Responsive Resolution?

Invitation to General Assembly 2011

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

May I now present Mary Alm, who will say a few words about next year’s General Assembly in Charlotte, NC.

[Mary Alm speaking]

I am so thrilled to stand here this afternoon and invite ALL of you (as well as your UU friends who are NOT here) to Charlotte, North Carolina, next June for the 50th Anniversary General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

My name is Mary Alm, and I am humbled to serve as the District Coordinator for next year’s GA. The Thomas Jefferson District encompasses five states in the southeast. We are 11,000 UUs strong, in 62 affiliated and 10 emerging congregations; North Carolina congregations have grown 16% in the last five years, making us one of the fastest growing states for UUs in the country. And every one of us is eager is eager to host every one of you in 2011!

From the coastal waters—where Unitarian Laura Towne founded a school in 1863 on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina, for those who hitherto had been held in chattel slavery—to the Appalachian mountains—where Universalist minister James Inman built a church near Cold Mountain in North Carolina to spread the good news of “no hell”among his rural neighbors—we have a long acquaintance with liberal religion.

Surprised? Come to Charlotte and learn more! Our District sponsors the longest running annual anti-racism conference—over 20 years. This year, we’ve funded a social justice staff position to assure that we live our commitment toward multi-cultural growth. And our Chalice Lighters program is one of the largest in the UUA. Since 1987, we’ve given over $700,000 to assure the continued and lively presence of Unitarian Universalists in the southeast.

If you attended the 1993 GA in Charlotte, you’ll be amazed at the transformation of this 18th largest city in the United States (and expected to grow by another 30% in the next decade!). 56% white, 34% African American, 11% Hispanic and Latino—Charlotte is a wonderfully diverse city.

Within walking distance of the new Convention Center are the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture (named for the first African-American mayor of Charlotte) as well as the Levine Museum of the New South, an interactive history museum interpreting post-Civil War southern society. Expect a vibrant city with museums, theaters, great dining, and a new light rail.

Plan some extra days to explore revolutionary war sites, hike the Blue Ridge, or do some white water rafting or sea kayaking. Or, what the heck, while in Charlotte—visit the Carolwinds theme park (13 roller coasters!) or the newly opened NASCAR Hall of Fame. As UUs, we welcome a diversity of interests.

Unitarian and Universalist roots are buried deep in our southern soil. On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the merging of these two faith traditions into one liberal religion, come to Charlotte next June so that we may affirm together that ours is, indeed, a religion for our time.

Right Relationship Team Final Report

[Garner Takahashi-Morris speaking]

Final Credentials and Announcements

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

Tom Loughrey, do you have any Secretary’s announcements to make at this time?

[Tom Loughrey speaking]


[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

I now call for the official adjournment of the Assembly. Is there a motion from the Planning Committee?


Moved: That this General Assembly now adjourn.

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

All those in favor of adjournment please so signify by raising your voting cards. (Pause for response.) All those opposed. (pause for response.)

[Moderator Gini Courter speaking]

The motion to adjourn is carried. I declare that the 2010 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association now stands finally adjourned. Have a wonderful summer and I'll look forward to seeing you in Charlotte, NC, next year.

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Last updated on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

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