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*Section 4.12. UUA Statements of Conscience.

The purpose of the Congregational Study/Action Process is to provide the member congregations of the Association with an opportunity to mobilize energy, ideas, and resources around a common issue. The end result will be a deeper understanding of our religious position on the issue, a clear statement of Association policy as expressed in a Statement of Conscience, and a greater capacity for the congregations to take effective action. The process for adoption of UUA Statements of Conscience shall be as follows:

  1. First Cycle Year
    1. Each member congregation, district, and sponsored organization (as designated by the Board of Trustees), may submit to the Commission on Social Witness by October 1 in the year preceding a General Assembly one proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue, such proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue to be approved at a duly called meeting of its members or its governing board at which a quorum is present. This commences the process of a four year UUA Statement of Conscience cycle (“the Cycle”). A Cycle year ends at the close of General Assembly.
    2. The Commission on Social Witness shall by November 1 of that year submit to the Board of Trustees for inclusion on the Tentative Agenda of the regular General Assembly not more than ten proposed Congregational Study/Action Issues, each of which shall be based in whole or in part on the issues submitted to it as described in the previous subsection. The Commission on Social Witness shall verify with the proposing congregation, district, or sponsored organization that the proposed Study/Action Issue reflects the intent of the proposer prior to being included in the poll ballot. The ten proposed Congregational Study/Action Issues shall be included for approval by the congregations on the Congregational Poll ballot, such ballot to be available and congregations notified of its availability by November 15 of the same year. Congregational Poll ballots concerning the proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue shall be due by February 1 of the following year (the first Cycle year).
    3. For the proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue to be placed on the Final Agenda of the General Assembly, twenty-five percent (25%) of all certified congregations must participate in the ballot vote concerning the proposed Congregational Study/Action Issues.
    4. The proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue shall be ranked in the order of the votes received in the Congregational Poll. The Study/Action Issues receiving the most votes (not to exceed five in number) shall be submitted to the General Assembly as follows:
      1. Each of the Proposed Congregational Study/Action Issues shall be presented to the General Assembly by a delegate, and one such proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue shall be referred for study by virtue of having received the highest number of votes among all proposed Congregational Study/Action votes cast by the General Assembly, provided, however, that if no proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue receives a majority of the votes cast, then a second vote shall be taken between the two issues receiving the highest number of votes cast in the initial election.
      2. After one Congregational Study/Action Issue has been referred for study in accordance with (i) above, the UUA staff shall conduct a workshop to discuss processes for study and action on the selected issue. By November 1 following the General Assembly, the UUA staff shall have developed a resource guide pertaining to the Congregational Study/Action Issue selected by the General Assembly. The resource guide shall be made available and congregations notified of its availability.
    5. If a UUA Statement of Conscience has been adopted in the previous year, the regular meeting of the General Assembly shall also conduct workshops on the implementation of such UUA Statement of Conscience.
    6. If no proposed Congregation Study/Action Issues are on the Final Agenda in the first Cycle year, or if no Congregational Study/Action Issue is referred for study by the General Assembly, then following the regular meeting of the General Assembly, the Cycle shall begin again as set forth in this subsection.
  2. Second Cycle Year
    1. Member congregations and the districts shall submit by not later than March 1 of the second Cycle year comments regarding the Congregational Study/Action Issue and the related resource guide to the Commission on Social Witness.
    2. During the meeting of the General Assembly in the second Cycle year the Commission on Social Witness shall conduct workshops on the Congregational Study/Action Issue.
  3. Third Cycle Year
    1. Member congregations and the districts shall submit by not later than March 1 of the third Cycle year comments regarding the Congregational Study/Action Issue and the related resource guide to the Commission on Social Witness.
    2. During the General Assembly in the third Cycle year, the Commission on Social Witness shall conduct workshops on the Congregational Study/Action Issue. Following the General Assembly, the Commission on Social Witness shall then compose a draft UUA Statement of Conscience.
    3. The draft UUA Statement of Conscience, a draft Statement of Conscience congregational comment form, and a ballot to place the draft UUA Statement of Conscience on the Final Agenda shall be included in the Congregational Poll, to be made available and congregations notified of its availability by November 15, following the General Assembly. Notice of the availability of these items shall be given to the congregations. Congregational Poll ballots and the congregational comment forms concerning the draft UUA Statement of Conscience shall be due by February 1 of the following year (the fourth Cycle year).
    4. The Commission on Social Witness shall then prepare a revised draft of the UUA Statement of Conscience taking into consideration comments received by the member congregations and districts and place this revised drat of the UUA Statement of Conscience on the Final Agenda.
    5. For a draft UUA Statement of Conscience to be placed on the Final Agenda of the General Assembly, twenty-five percent (25%) of all certified congregations must participate in the ballot vote concerning such draft UUA Statement of Conscience.
  4. Fourth Cycle Year
    1. If the draft UUA Statement of Conscience is placed on the Final Agenda for the next regular meeting of the General Assembly, then the next General Assembly must debate and vote on the proposed UUA Statement of Conscience. Adoption of the UUA Statement of Conscience shall require a two-thirds vote.
    2. If (i) the proposed UUA Statement of Conscience is not placed on the Final Agenda for the next regular meeting of the General Assembly; or (ii) the General Assembly chooses, by a two-thirds vote, to refer the proposed UUA Statement of Conscience to the Commission on Social Witness for one additional year of study/action, then the Commission of Social Witness shall continue the study and revision of the proposed UUA Statement of Conscience for one more year. The revised UUA Statement of Conscience may be placed on the Final Agenda for the next regular meeting of the General Assembly pursuant to subsections (c)(3), (c)(4) and (c)(5) above. If by the regular meeting of the General Assembly following the additional year the Commission on Social Witness has been unable to find support to generate an acceptable UUA Statement of Conscience, the Congregational Study/Action Issue may be placed on the Final Agenda with a proposal to drop such Congregational Study/Action Issue.
    3. Following the regular meeting of the General Assembly in the fourth Cycle year, the Cycle shall begin again as set forth in Section 4.12(a) above.
  5. The Cycle may begin again, as set forth in Section 4.12(a), only after the General Assembly in the second Cycle year of a Congregational Study/Action Issue, and as provided in Sections 4.12(a)(6) and 4.12(d)(3).

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Last updated on Tuesday, October 4, 2011.

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