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Thousands of Unitarian Universalists To Gather in New Orleans For Annual General Assembly
Thousands of Unitarian Universalists To Gather in New Orleans For Annual General Assembly

Boston, MA – More than 4000 Unitarian Universalists (UU) from the United States, Canada, and around the world will gather in New Orleans June 21-25 for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) annual General Assembly (GA). Delegates will elect a new president from a slate of three candidates, and whoever is elected will become the first female president in the fifty-six year history of the Association.

The General Assembly will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans). Attendees will participate in workshops, worship services, and public witness around the theme of “Resist and Rejoice.”

Three UU ministers are running to serve the six-year term as UUA president.          

  • Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
  • Rev. Alison Miller
  • Rev. Jeanne Pupke

The election results will be announced Saturday evening, June 24. Find more information on each of the candidates on UUA.org.

Over 100 workshops, lectures, panel presentations, film screenings, and worship services will be offered at GA, including workshops on activism and organizing, racial justice and decentering whiteness, climate and environmental justice, economic justice, immigration and sanctuary, and much more.

Delegates will vote on a proposed Statement of Conscience entitled “Escalating Inequality” and will discuss bylaw and rule amendments.

Additional highlights of the General Assembly include:

Wednesday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Welcome and Opening Celebration

Location: Great Hall, Open to the Public

General Assembly kicks off with a lively celebration of music, song, and the procession of banners from hundreds of UU congregations (a great opportunity for capturing visual content).

Thursday, June 22, 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Service of the Living Tradition

Location: Great Hall, Open to the Public

The Service of the Living Tradition honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders, remembers those who have died, recognizes those who have completed active service, and welcomes those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. The sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Cheryl M. Walker, president of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association and minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wilmington, NC.

Friday, June 23, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
#LoveResists Rejoicing for Sanctuary & Solidarity
Location: Second Line Procession to Mississippi River Heritage Park

Open to the Public

GA attendees rally with interfaith partners and community organizations to bring attention to and encourage action on critical social justice issues.

Across the country, people of faith and conscience are engaging through the Love Resists campaign to resist hate and fear. In New Orleans, Unitarian Universalists will celebrate expanding the notion of sanctuary to help create safe spaces for all people under threat and will rejoice in the solidarity of working with community partners. Come for a distinctly New Orleans take on sanctuary infused with art and imagination, and get connected to the Love Resists campaign.

The event will start with a brass band-led “second-line” style procession to the event site, a tradition established by black New Orleanians to express grief and celebrate life. A short program starting at 5:45 p.m. will feature both community and UU activists and will honor local partner organizations. The Love Resists campaign is co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Learn more about the campaign online.

Speakers will include the Rev. Darcy Roake and Sara Green as co-hosts, the Rev. Juanita Ramos of First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans and member of New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers/Congreso de Jornaleros, spoken word artist, Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, and the Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Network. Music will be provided by The Young & Talented Brass Band.

Saturday, June 24, 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Ware Lecture delivered by Bryan Stevenson

Location: Great Hall

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major lawsuits to eliminate excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerate innocent death row prisoners, confront abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aid children prosecuted as adults. Mr. Stevenson has successfully argued several cases before the United States Supreme Court, including a recent case that banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. He is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Just Mercy, which was named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 best books of nonfiction for 2014. Among his other honors are the Carnegie Medal from the American Library Association for the best nonfiction book of 2014 and a 2015 NAACP Image Award. Just Mercy was the 2015-2016 UUA Common Read.

Sunday, June 25, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship

Location: Great Hall, Open to the Public

Thousands will gather for the largest annual UU worship service. The sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Mara Dowdall, senior minister of the First UU Society of Burlington, Vermont. Music will be directed by Mark Vogel.

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A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations can be found in the online program.

All participants in General Assembly program events must be registered for the conference. The only General Assembly program events that will be open to the public (registration not required) are the Opening Ceremony, the Service of the Living Tradition, the Thursday #LoveResists public witness event, the Sunday morning worship, and the Exhibit Hall on Sunday only.

Members of the press are invited and encouraged to cover any and all events live. Press badges will be available for credentialed, professional journalists and camera/audio crew members beginning Wednesday, June 21. Please contact Rachel Walden, Communications Specialist, as soon as possible to request credentials.

Follow the UUA’s General Assembly on Twitter using #UUAGA. Photos are available upon request.

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For more information contact pr@uua.org.