Shape UUA Justice Commitments: About the Social Witness Process

While called by various names, the social witness process is the method by which the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) comes to understand and act on the social issues of our times, finally bearing witness through statements adopted as Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) policy by the delegates of a General Assembly (GA). The process has been an integral part of our faith since the merger between the Unitarians and the Universalists in 1961. This process is congregationally driven and is facilitated by the Commission on Social Witness (CSW).

The UUA makes two different types of social witness statements: Statements of Conscience (SOCs), which arise from Congregational Study/Action Issues, and Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs).

Congregational Study/Action Issues; Statements of Conscience

Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) are issues selected by Unitarian Universalist member congregations for three years of study, reflection and action. In the third year of this process, delegates at GA can vote to approve a Statement of Conscience (SOC) resulting from three years of congregational feedback on the CSAI.

Proposer's Guide

Part 1 of the Proposer's Guide provides information on the Congregational Study/Action Issue process.

Actions of Immediate Witness

Delegates at each annual General Assembly have the opportunity to take positions on issues that require immediate witness through the Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) process. An AIW expresses the conscience and carries the authority of the delegates at the GA at which it is passed. AIWs are initiated by individual delegates and move through their entire creation and adoption process during a single GA.

To assist Unitarian Universalists in organizing Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) at an upcoming General Assembly (GA), the Commission on Social Witness (CSW) encourages you to plan and collaborate online.

To post your idea between April 15 and June 1, email your:

1. topic title,
2. two-sentence description, and
3. contact email address to: socialwitness @
(Please start your Subject line with AIW).

The proposed AIWs will be posted online and people interested in learning more about a particular topic or collaborating on drafting an AIW can communicate directly with the original proposer. If you prefer to just propose a topic for others to consider, send only the title and description to be posted. If another person wants to coordinate planning that issue, they can notify us at socialwitness @

Proposer's Guide

Part 2 of the Proposer's Guide provides information on the AIW process.