The 2011 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will be held June 22-26 in Charlotte, NC, at the Charlotte Convention Center. More than 4,000 Unitarian Universalists from around the world will gather in Charlotte for five days of worship, educational workshops, and participation in the democratic process that guides the work of this liberal religious denomination.
The General Assembly delegates, representing more than 1,000 member congregations, will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UUA, created as a result of the 1961 consolidation of the Universalist Church of America (founded in 1793) and the American Unitarian Association (founded in 1825).
Several events during the General Assembly will look back at UU history and forward to the future of Unitarian Universalism in the US and beyond. Learn more about the 50th anniversary celebration from UU World.
The UUA’s General Assembly was last held in Charlotte in 1993. Since that time, membership in Charlotte-area UU congregations has increased dramatically.
A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations are listed in the online program. Major press events of the 2011 GA include:
- "An Interfaith Dialogue," a moderated discussion with leading Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian panelists, 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, with Karen Armstrong, Imam Feisal Rauf, and Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, moderated by Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA. This discussion, followed by a Q&A, is open to the press.
Karen Armstrong is one of the world’s leading commentators on religious affairs and a best-selling author whose books have been translated into 45 languages. Armstrong will deliver the prestigious Ware Lecture during GA 2011, addressing "The Challenge of Compassion."
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the Founder of Cordoba Initiative, an independent, multi-faith, and multi-national project that works to improve Muslim-West relations and the visionary behind the Cordoba House Community Center near ground zero that received worldwide attention in 2010.
Rev. Kyoichi Sugino has served since 1999 as Assistant Secretary General of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, coordinating Religions for Peace regional offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American and the Middle East, and its affiliated Inter-religious Councils (IRCs) in more than 80 countries.
Rev. Peter Morales is the first Latino president of the UUA, elected on a platform of growth and multiculturalism. Public witness is central to Morales’ presidency; he is especially passionate about immigration reform and environmental justice.
- "A Faith Community Rally Against Homophobia & Transphobia," a public interfaith event at 4:45 p.m. on Friday, June 24, in Marshall Park at 800 East 3rd Street, Charlotte. Open to all. Free.
UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, Rev. Mark Kiyimba, founder of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, and other faith and community leaders will speak out against proposals to marginalize and discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Cosponsors of the rally include the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Standing on the Side of Love” campaign, Time Out Youth, and Equality North Carolina.
- "The Challenge of Compassion," Ware Lecture by Karen Armstrong, 8-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, in Convention Center Hall C. Open to credentialed members of the media and registered GA attendees.
Armstrong is one of the world’s leading commentators on religious affairs and a best-selling author. She will discuss her new book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and the companion project, Charter for Compassion, during her appearance at GA.
Armstrong's book and the project rest on the idea that most religions affirm some version of the Golden Rule. She posits that one important purpose of religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions is to encourage kindness and compassion toward others by guiding us to use moral imagination to put ourselves in others' shoes.
- Sunday morning worship service, 9-10:15 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, in Convention Center Hall C. Open to all. Free.
Rev. Kaaren Anderson and Rev. Scott Tayler will preach on "Living Outside the Box," and Amber Fetner, music director at UU Fellowship of Athens, will conduct the 2011 General Assembly choir.
Members of the press are invited to cover events live in Charlotte. Press badges will be available for credentialed, professional journalists and camera/audio crew members beginning Wednesday, June 22. Please contact Daisy Kincaid, Public Relations Director, as soon as possible to request credentials.
Public Relations Director
857-928-6603 (June 22-June 27, 2011)
617-948-4386 (after June 27, 2011)