We are stronger together. Our combined efforts to make the world more fair and humane can accomplish more than any one of us working alone. As Unitarian Universalists, we set priorities for our social justice efforts by investing in key issues that exemplify our commitments to justice, equity and compassion. Learn more about the social witness statement process.
Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAIs) are issues selected by Unitarian Universalist member congregations for four years of study, reflection and action. Statements of Conscience (SOC) are developed from CSAIs and feedback from congregations on them.
At General Assembly 2021, the following were adopted:
- Statement of Conscience: Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action
- Action of Immediate Witness: Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities
- Action of Immediate Witness: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing. Courage.
- Action of Immediate Witness: Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy
No CSAI Proposals for 2020
The Commission on Social Witness, in consultation with the UUA Administration, UUA legal counsel, UUA Board of Trustees and the General Assembly Planning Committee, has decided not to admit a new Congregational Study Action Issue (CSAI) for the 2020-2024 period.
The Commission’s charge is to oversee the UUA process of social witness, particularly the adoption of Statements of Conscience that are developed through the Congregational Study/Action Process: “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.” (See Section 4.12 UUA Statements of Conscience in the UUA By-Laws (PDF).)1
The Commissioners believe that the CSAI process will be best served at this time by concentrating our process on the recently adopted Statement of Conscience and the current CSAI, providing “an opportunity to mobilize energy, ideas, and resources around a common issue,” and therefore delaying the addition of a new CSAI. It is within the Commission’s charge to determine that, at this time, UU congregations and covenanting communities will best be served by a social witness process that allows focus and provides resources and support. Thus, in the spirit of “developing a greater capacity for congregations to take effective action,” the Commission is asking member congregations and covenanting communities to focus on the current Statement of Conscience (SOC): “Our Democracy Uncorrupted” and the current 2018-2021 Congregational Study Action Issue (CSAI): "Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action."
With this focus, the Commission will devote their energies to helping UUs implement the recommended actions in the Statement of Conscience on Democracy that the General Assembly voted to adopt at our last GA in Spokane, Washington, recognizing that in this crucial electoral year it is imperative that we all work for the SOC’s goal of defending and expanding democracy. Additionally, the Commission will develop a process for congregations to connect, study, and act on the CSAI “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” as a key commitment of our members.
It is the CSW’s hope and understanding, based on conversations conducted by the commissioners, that this decision will be welcomed by UU congregations, covenanted communities, and General Assembly delegates as an opportunity to support our faith in following our collective conscience and achieving our study goals. The CSW will be in further communication about opportunities for the upcoming year to implement the SOC on “Our Democracy Uncorrupted” and to study and act on the current CSAI on “Undoing White Supremacy.” The CSW looks forward to the 2020 General Assembly in Providence, Rhode Island which will include addressing these substantive goals of our collective social witness process.
1 While UUA By-Laws allow for the introduction of a new CSAI every two years, this is by no means mandated. The By-Laws state that “Each member congregation or covenanting community may submit to the Commission on Social Witness by October 1 in the year preceding a General Assembly one proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue…” (See UUA By-Law section 4.12(a)(1). Note, emphasis has been added).