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Proposing a Program for General Assembly

Proposing a Program for GA 2015

Program proposal information for General Assembly (GA) 2015 in Portland, OR, will be posted here in September. The proposal submission process and requirements will be similar to those outlined below.

The theme for 2015 is Building a New Way. Program proposals will be due November 1, 2014.

Proposing a Program for GA 2014

The General Assembly Program Development Group (PDG) is a diverse team of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff and members of the GA Planning Committee charged with identifying excellent General Assembly programming aligned with the vision and mission of the UUA and its member congregations. 

All program proposals must have been submitted by Friday, November 1, 2013. Though the form was short, it still required the clear description of a fully designed 75-minute event (workshop, worship, etc.). Proposers also had the option to propose a 180-minute event that would occur during two workshop slots scheduled back-to-back. Proposers must assume that there will be participation of people of all abilities and of all generations in all General Assembly activities.

The PDG is currently reviewing all submitted program proposals and will select events for inclusion on the General Assembly schedule. The PDG will select up to 115 programs for inclusion; selection notices will be sent to all applicants in January.

Love Reaches Out

Religious life in America is changing dramatically and rapidly. Fewer people are identifying with specific denominations and most mainline religions are losing members in droves. People now find many outlets and places of engagement for their spiritual lives. Current studies of faith in America show that there is a movement toward a liberal, fluid kind of faith that doesn’t fit with traditional denominational identity and structure. We already know that for every adult member of Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, there are at least three non-members who also consider themselves to be Unitarian Universalist.

A core purpose of our faith is to help people grow in spirit and in service. We believe that our faith provides a path for each of us to unlock our transformational capacity to serve the world with love. We want to expand our faith not just to grow Unitarian Universalism, but also to better achieve this transformational purpose. Therefore, the General Assembly Planning Committee, the UUA Board of Trustees and the Administration want the General Assembly in 2014 help our association live into a future where our “Love Reaches Out” to share our faith both within and beyond our congregations’ walls.

This is a continuation of a conversation started with UUA President Peter Morales’s January 2012 paper Congregations and Beyond invites Unitarian Universalists to reimagine how we might help to shape liberal religion in a new age. To become the kind of multigenerational, multicultural and covenantal faith communities people are looking for today, congregations and communities in many forms are learning to use interactive technology and other non-traditional formats to put our values in service to the world.
To merit consideration, program proposals submitted for the 2014 GA should engage with one or more facets of how we can better share our message of Love.

  • What are the cultural changes that you see and how might our members, friends, congregations, clusters, districts, regions and UUA need to respond?
  • How might we lower the walls of existing congregations, making them welcoming and inclusive of different identities, experiences and understandings?
  • How might our understanding of mission (i.e. our core purpose) and vision (i.e. our aspiration of who we want to be) help us?
  • How might new and emerging technologies be used to reach those who may never step through the doors of a church?

Because this is an adaptive challenge, there is an understanding that there are no easy or sure answers, so we encourage the spirit of experimentation, e.g. learning from mistakes as well as from successes. Workshops that share examples of something that you are currently trying are encouraged—even if your experiment doesn’t feel “ready for prime time.” More detailed selection criteria are listed below.

Preparing to Submit a Program Proposal

  1. Though the form is short, it still requires you to describe a fully designed program. You need to state clear goals for the program and describe how those goals address the selection criteria below.
  2. We invite proposals for workshops, lectures, panel discussions, worship services, performances (with minimal technical requirements) and other types of presentations. Sequences or series of programs that build on each other are welcome. If your workshop is part of a sequence of workshops, please make that clear in your proposal.
  3. You will need to name your workshop leaders, moderators or presenters, list references who can provide insight into the content and quality of the proposal and indicate that you understand the financial obligations involved (see the section, “Financial Considerations” below).
  4. If your program is selected you will be provided with a 75-minute program slot or two slots back-to-back equaling 150 minutes. Rooms in the Convention Center range in seating capacity from 100 to 2,200 persons. The seating in all rooms is set theater style and cannot be altered.
  5. You will need to know your AV needs. All GA programmed events will be scheduled in meeting spaces provided with a podium and microphone, an audience microphone, a projection screen, and an AV cart with an extension cord. You may bring your own additional equipment (such as projectors) or indicate on the proposal that you want to rent additional equipment.
  6. Budget information is needed if you plan to request funding from the Program Development Group. Limited grants will be awarded based on need, the availability of additional revenue sources, and the merit of the proposal.

The Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on the degree to which proposals:

  • Address the topic of “Love Reaches Out”
  • Are grounded in our UU covenantal faith tradition
  • Partner with the community where we are meeting in mutually accountable relationships.

Additional Criteria

Additional criteria include:

  • Usefulness to our congregations (of a particular size or all sizes)
  • Incorporation of Antiracist/Anti-oppression/Multicultural awareness and practice
  • Including presenters of more than one generation and/or identity
  • If you are sharing your experience of an experimental program, we recommend partnering with another group who is doing something related and share both stories. (If you need help finding one, ask your district or regional staff for suggestions.)
  • Relevance to people of all abilities and of all generations
  • Clarity of program learning goals and strategy to achieve those goals
  • Possibility of program being offered in other venues (district conferences, webinars)
  • Incorporation of different learning styles
  • Presence of real-world examples to illustrate concepts
  • Excellence in presentation, fostering engaged participation and/or interaction
  • Depth, inspiration and prophetic vision
  • Overall variety of workshop offerings

Programming Suggestions and Requests

If you have suggestions or requests for GA programming, please contact or a member of the GA Planning Committee.

For more information contact

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

Last updated on Friday, August 15, 2014.

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