General Session 6, General Assembly 2020
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Co-Moderators Elandria Williams and Mr. Barb Greve preside over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is conducted.
See the Final Agenda (PDF, 12 pages) for more about the business process.
- Call to Order
- Opening Words
- Final Reports from Chaplains and Right Relationship Teams
- Courageous Love Awards
- Co-Moderators’ Report
- Installation of Incoming Co-Moderators
- Appreciation of Co-Moderators Rev. Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams
- Words of Thanks
- Invitation to GA 2021
- GA Theme—Rooted, Inspired, and Ready to Act
- Final Credentials Report
- Closing Words and Gavel
Rough Edited Captioning
CART captioning provided by Alternative Communication Services, LLC.
This is being provided in a rough-draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> To condense human relationships to a few short sentences and e-mailed response when hurt and calls for accountability have been brought to us, I know have felt dismissive, have felt like an inadequate response to our collective responsibility. Or building right relationships. I'm committed to learning together. This is my last year as right relationship co-chair, I support the team moving forward and I look forward to being in community with all of you.
>> Beloved, thank y'all for coming to GA. And thank y'all for all of the ways that you have been showing up in love, showing up in grace, and showing up in humility across the world and across this nation.
Today is a beautiful day because we have an opportunity to actually uplift those who have been fighting the good fight, not just now, but for generations. For Mel, when I think about what this moment is, this moment in time, I can't help but call back my lineage around what did it feel like and look like for enslaved people, enslaved black people to say one day we will be free. And that my children's children will be able to roam this place and roam these lands that we have put our blood, sweat, and tears in, and actually touch democracy. Actually be able to guide what we're doing. I can't help but to think about how stolen people actually ended up on stolen land and still have to fight to be human. To be recognized—something that you think a lot about. She at this moment in the midst of a pandemic and in the midst of the different versions of the pandemic happening to black, brown, and indigenous people across this country and across this land for generation. I say it's the courageous love and courageous actions of people who are just beautiful manifestation of our ancestors that we give out these awards—these awards to our people. I want to lift up the wonderful—not just freedom fighters, but those who are saying that you cannot take my dignity, you cannot take my—away from us. And those who say not only are we going to protect ourselves, we're protecting the land. And for that, I will—I am so humbled and grateful for the wonderful water protecters. We say not just the water protectors of the five folks we acknowledge and also their families. We know each time we hear the call to come out to stand up against our injustice, not only do we put our lives on the line, we stand in the gap or make the gap to make sure that we create a sustained rule change. And although we're acknowledging these five water protector s and their families, we also want to say to all of the folks across this country who are actually rising up in this moment that we—thank you for continuing to put your lives on the line. We thank you for sacrificing breath and time in this moment. And we thank you for believing in the best in us so that you can actually fight so we can have something, so we can live into. And with that, I'm also grateful to say thank you to reverend Ken—reverend—(indiscernible) for calling us into this place to say recognize these great people doing this work. This is what courageous looks like—courageous love looks like. And we can do this together. Without much more for me to say, thank y'all for this moment, thank y'all for all of the ways that you are showing up for love and showing up with dignity, and showing up for humanity.
>> When I came to Standing Rock, it was like something I never felt before, that feeling, setting foot on that sacred ground. No way out.F we always live, but we do not think about what our children's grandchildren are going to see, what we're destroying, what we're doing for wealth.
>> What kind of world do you want your grandchildren to live in? And I hope when you—when you think about it, that you don't think about how much time I'm going to spend in jail, you think about this is for my kids this, is for my grand kids. And I'll do it again and again.
>> We're not here just for the—we're here in a peaceful way. They came here angry, mad, trying to spike it at any cost.
>> When I get out, quite honestly, what I'm going to do is—is—the fight isn't over. I'm going to jump right back in it. You know? Because that's—that's the right thing to do and it's where I belong.
>> Each and every prayer and every energy and everybody somebody sends that, how you feel it. Grateful that's who we were raised, that's who we are. That's how we get through the hardest part of our life. I touch on and I stand in gratitude. My true honor, my humble honor to present the courageous love award to people I admire and respect and have deep lifelong gratitude to. Ageingry Bird, Little Feather, (indiscernible) Rattler, and Deon, and loved ones, families who also lift up these five—political prisoners and all of the political prisoners committee. The work that you do, the sacrifices that you make, some chosen, some put upon you are seen, are noticed, and are making a difference. In our world, in our moment, in our future. And the future of all of the generations to come.
I could not be more grateful. For the movement that you carry forward into prison and beyond. Thank you. Through the water protector movement, I have learned that all prisoners are political prisoners, free them all.
>> Free them all. It's incredible to think that Barbara and I have been your co-moderators for the last three years and me four years as a member of the board. What a journey it has been these three year, and what tumultuous times we've had as a faith, as a society, and as a world. Three years ago, we would have never imagined we would have had an all virtual, all digital general assembly. Who would have ever thought? We're in the midst of two pandemics. The first pandemic that's been around since the beginning of the crafting of the United States, racism. And, its control arm, the police state, and military state. We are in a pandemic around what does it mean for us to value black lives? We're in a pandemic of what it means to value indigenous lives. We're in a pandemic of what it means for us to value humanity. We are also in a pandemic of the COVID-19. Which is also testing us and trying us about what does it mean for us to be responsive, resilient, and caring of each other as a faith, community, and as a people. Both of those pandemics have caused us what we are here today, and we sit in what does it mean as a Unitarian Universalists, the pandemic—(indiscernible) the country and the world. We're watching things we never would have imagined possible. Who would have thought at a Nascar would have done a ban on confederate flags, what? King Leopold taken down in Antwerpen, Belgium. Who would have thought that all of us right now in this movement would make fundamental changes in our system? Not just ones that are placation, right? But fundamental. We call for prison abolition in Portland. And now look, the whole country is talking about what prison abolition could mean.
It is our times like these that test us the most. And asks of ourselves what does it mean for us to come together as a community and really pull each other up. It's times like these how we transform our faith, not to be the faith of the past, but the faith of the future. It's times like these that we really do listen to the young people that are with us. And we listen to those when we were young, we call on those time, right, when we were younger, to do what we need to truly have a faith, truly have a community, truly have a world that is exactly what we need and that we are worthy of. Ed we also know we're in times of great stress and trauma. And it's a choice for how we want to live. We've been given to fear and greed and individualism, or we can give into our corrective power and our collective sense of hope, our collective sense of movement together, our collective sense of what can we do to really support and craft a new way of being.
That's the moment that we're calling for. How do we find creative solutions to the challenges that face us? And not just the things that we've always done, but the new possibility. We are so inspired by youth everywhere that our life—that are moving up, right? That are keeping employed their staff that are making space for those who need sanctuary. Doing so much for our world. We have people in our midst that are chaplains, that are in the streets protecting protesters. We have churches that close their doors to COVID-19 but are trying to figure out how to shelter people in the midst of the storm.
We value congregations that have gone all on-line. And from that are working together in concert to put on beautiful church together. And we are doing this not just as UUs individually, we're doing this with our social justice partners, with our interfaith groups, we ear doing this across the spectrum—we are doing this across the spectrum, really living in to our values of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
>> Looking back over the last three years, it's been a time of meaningful transition and the leadership of this association. We were appointed co-moderators in the wake of an enormous disruption of business as usual. Our faith community was grappling in a new way of how white supremacy culture operates in our midst, a challenge that is ongoing. We were asked to serve for a year, then another year, and then a third, when in an election for the next moderator or moderators was delayed after it became clear that the sorts of leaders the Board and moderator search committee we're seeking could not commit to a volunteer role of this tradition's traditional scope. This means that our role has been an extended interim role, much like an interim minister or interim director of religious education and a congregation. Our job was to create a bridge between past ways of doing things and the future that this movement is striving toward. We worked to build the infrastructure and nurture the cultural and structural change that would support the UUA's Board, committees, and administration in breaking out of patterns and habits that do not serve the fullest potential of Unitarian Universalism.
One of the things I've learned while doing interim work in congregation is how often people expect everything to either change immediately or not change at all during an interim period. Serving an interim leadership means finding a balance that could bring along everyone willing to make the journey, knowing that we are sometimes have to move faster than those who don't want change are willing to go. And slower than those who need change feel able to wait.
We are proud and grateful to the accomplishments of the association's leadership during this interim period, and are honored to have had the privilege of being a part of this leadership, in partnership with the UUA's Board, committees, and administration, we have worked to evaluate and transform leader transform leadership models, collaboration, and more fully value and create space for the leadership and contributions for those that are marginalized in our movement, such as people of color, queer and trans people, disabled people, low income people, and young people.
As interim leaders, we paid special attention to governance structures and practices that have long gone unquestioned, we've experimented with different models of the structure of a Board, and the last year, we implement ed a different sort of executive committee on the Board that broadens input and collaboration rather than narrowing it. We've moved away from Robert's Rules of Order and toward consensus. And we've taken a hard look at the role of moderator itself, and made adjustments to make it more sustainable and more possible for people like us to serve, people who are queer, non-binary, people of color, financially insecure, who have health challenges, who are in the workforce.
It has not been easy for Elandria and I to serve in this role due to the many barriers and assumptions we've encountered. We've done our best to help remove many of these barriers, not only to this position, but to the larger structure surrounding it, so that the future leadership of this association can represent the fullness of this state and its potential future. We embraced shared leadership among the board, the committees, and the administration. There have been times over the course of the Unitarian Universalist history, that these bodies either worked together or actively worked against each other. The respectful and collaborative relationships that currently exist are a testament to the deep commitment to everyone involved to work together, take the time to build trust, and live our values.
And it has shifted how decision-making happens for the better. This spirit of collaboration and shared leadership as well as the focus and commitment to dismantle the manifestations of white supremacy culture and oppression in all forms has infused the work of this association's leadership over these three years. Collaboration with the commission on institutional change and engagement with their recommendations has been deeply impactful. We honor the many committees that have done this, especially the socially responsible investing, and investment committees who updated their policies to more fully incorporate our movement's commitment to racial and economic justice.
This spirit of collaboration and shared leadership between the UUA's various leadership bodies have had many ripple effects, such as the work to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Board and Administration with respect and a creation of a shared ethics board through the collaboration of the UUA administration, all of our role-based UU religious professional organizations, and the religious professionals credentialing committees.
These are a few examples of the many ways leaders have been working together and working toward culture shift during this time.
>> As we look toward the future, we have so much hope. We feel blessed we have had a chance to work with a dedicated field leaders who are so committed to the promise of potential of Unitarian Universalism and we're so excited about these roles going forward. We're so happy to have reverend Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond, the incoming co-moderator going to help us take our faith to a whole new place. We look forward to being an ongoing resource to these fine people. We're grateful and so appreciative of the good work and recommendations of the commission on institutional change. And we have that the Board, the co-moderators, the committees, and administration of the UUA will go deeply with all of the recommendations, knowing that we have to radically change how we do things. In order for more people, for different types of people, right? And, for others to have access to power and a chance to offer their gift to this movement.
We're in a movement moment not just in the streets, not just in the world, but also in our faith. Are we really preparing our hope to really be able to rally our faith? Are we preparing our people like barb and I were prepared and nurtured and guided? Our guidance are accompanied.
There are so many, many people who got me to where I am today. And I am grateful and thankful to all of them because there is no way that I can be up here as your co-moderator. That same, loving, kind energy, that same teaching spirit, that same leadership development must happen for other people to do what barb and I have been able to do.
I particularly want to thank the commission for their work in terms of acknowledging and dismantling racism, white supremacy, and what it means that all of these are connected to other forms of oppression. As it is able nonbinary black person with other marginalized things that we don't have to go into, it's essential that we stay center disability justice. It's essential we have center transnonbinary justice. It's essential that our things are connected with our work around class and race, because all of those things combined together for most people. We must understand not this intersectionality as a mindset, but what it actually means for people to move in their existence as intersectional people. That is essential for us to move this work forward.
Truly caring for each other means having closed captioning and ASL interpretation regardless of whether they ask. It means sitting in free gathering so I can gather in person with you again. It means working hard to ensure that all of us can be in our faith, that might mean the church—(indiscernible) I see—we are saying do we need church vans to pick people up. We might have to do some things that we wouldn't normally do to allow all of our folks to be in. We have faith that the Board will continue the work we started, supporting and nominating, and appointments committee to streamline the nominating and appointments process in ways that build in leadership development a deep hope and dream we both share is that Unitarian Universalism would engage in that leadership and development work. That's essential. We must recommit ourselves to youth and young adult work. Let me say it again for the people in the back. We must recommit ourselves to youth and young adult work. We must build a program nationally that guides people. We must build a program nationally where young people know each other.
We must build a platform again like huge where people can connect, still, grow, learn, and strengthen. We must rebuild the Krys list program where we learn how to hold each other in care, we learn leadership development skills for us to use not just in our congregation, but in the world. We must recommit ourselves to getting past our fears. What is essential. What's allowed these people to take leadership. What's allowed them to push me and to not be scared where my young people push up past the place where we want to go. Is
That is a job to move us past where we feel like we should be. I watch a lot of things be dismantled out of fear. A lot of things be dismantled because things were going too fast. Well now I'm for it. They're supposed to move too fast. If they're not moving past me, then we need a conversation. So our job, our job, I'm talking to young people, my age and older, is to really go how do we radically put things around you where you can push me past where I think we can go. How do I put things around you that radically alter who we are as a faith, knowing like a basic tenant, it will ring true. That is our goal. That is our job.
When Barb and I took these positions, when we were going to do anti-racial work, white supremacy is a term that's opinion around for a long time. You think it's new, it's not. I learned about prison abolition as a 14-year-old. I learned about defunding the police as a 14-year-old and I said I was for it. And we're in a 26-year-old Unitarian, Universalist conversation around where we're trying to be. Some of you been on a journey because you're the young movement, maybe your church was more conservative than mine. But I'm welcoming you on the journey today. I'm well combing you on the journey to think about what it means for us to have true citizen and cultural change. I welcome you on the journey, some of you have been there longer than me. So, together, we are on this journey to go how do we uproot not only in the streets with our yellow shirts on, not only when we think it's fun, but how do we uproot all of those things that keep Unitarian Universalism from being the faith we all needed so desperately to be. Er how do we take the report and say we want every professional of color, we want all of the trans professionals. We want all of the members in our congregation and friend, that needs so much hope right now to come in and find it. We don't want people leaving because the church is too off of the chain and not ready to provide hope, love, and care.
I'm calling on uh all of us to put radical care in the middle, not the deliver, this is the last time to tell you, it is care number one, impact number two, and deliverable, number three. If we keep care and impact number one and number two, we will not move. We will not move in scarcity, we will not move in either/or thinking, we will move holding everybody as worthy. We will move holding ourselves as worthy. And we will build a faith movement—y'all, we will build a faith movement—I'm about to get southern. We will build a faith movement, y'all. That can withstand anything. We will build up leaders in our communities and congregations that can withstand everything thrown at them.
That's what is calling for us right now, it's being rooted and what is real, being rooted in what we know is true. Being rooted in our values. And holding them dear. So, as we move forward, we are creating and have created an article to commission. And that article to commission is going to work with us to guide us, help us lead in conversations about what are the principles, the values, that move with us today. We know a lot of you have done work around the eight principle project. I want you to think about what it means so as not to be No. 8. Because Lord knows accountability should not be number eight, it probably should be number one. Don't get stuck that it's got to be at number eight, maybe it's one, two, three, or maybe the preamble. But we need you to participate.
Without your participation, we will not have what we need to move forward. The participation, though, needs to come with the understanding that we're moving forward and not back. So, if your participation and how you show up look like we're going oh back to 1960, you may need to reimagine the participation, because we're moving in 2023, 24, 2050. Times like these, we're in pandemic times, again, we're in pandemic times. Pandemic times allow for things that you could never imagine possible. Pandemic times have allowed for things that you could never dream of. Pandemic times allow you to radically reimagine what you want and need. So, as we radically reimagine what we need, it is not good enough to just diversify the leadership and to have us here in the positions that you didn't elect. We're appointed. It's not good enough, we've got Carrie as our Vice President. It's not good enough. Because until our congregation shift, it doesn't matter. Let me say it again, the congregations and community shifts, it doesn't matter. Just having a person of color as your Board chair while you make decisions about the endowment. That don't center at all—we make decisions about what songs we want to sing, you want to tell me how to pray like happened in our vigil for black people? It doesn't matter. We must think about how we diversify, what diversify righteously. We also know that COVID-19 has really shape add lot of our lives. As someone as you know respiratory issues and asthma, COVID-19 has reshaped my life and how I've been able to interact with people. It's caused a shift like we have never seen before. COVID-19 is one of the first things that has impacted everybody, regardless of race, income, where you live. It's—it's crossed all lines. And for the first time in my lifetime, people had to truly rethink how they were with each other, what it meant to care, and how we were going to do church. A lot of us, church is not the building, church is the people. Church is the faith we have in each other and ourselves. That means our church looks radically different right now and pretty similar. It means caring for those most isolated and vulnerable.
>> The thing is, people at the margins of this movement have had to get creative forever. People who live in isolated rural areas, young, queer, and transfolk, people of color, disabled people, people who don't speak English, folks who are in prison. We have had to find ways for Unitarian Universalism to reach us outside of traditional structures because those structures aren't set up for us and don't work for us.
Right now, everyone is having to get creative because the traditional structure suddenly don't work for any of us. We need to be real about the fact that for a lot of us, those traditional structures never worked. So, if you're someone who is missing the way things were, and are eager to get back to normal, the invitation of this moment is to understand that in the words of disability activist, Nia Mingis, if we get this right, we'll never go back to normal.
Similarly, there are some people in this movement who feel like they are losing their Unitarian Universalism because of the culture shift of the last 20 years. They fear that if we draw the circle wider, they will be pushed out. But that's not how beloved community works. As your co-moderators and queer non- binary people of races and ability and ages, as two people raised and radicalized by Unitarian Universalism, we're here to tell you that UU-ism is not and never has been a religion of the few. It's a faith of the many. We couldn't be prouder of everyone out there receiving this right now, leaders and lay, who believe in this faith's potential and have opened yourself to transformation. So, may we make space for grief, but also make space for fierce joy as we cultivate and seek out the wisdom for those for whom traditional spaces never worked, creating spaces in which all of us can exist and breathe and share and learn from each other in collectively transform our faith and our world for the better.
>> Just shy of three years ago, the UUA board entered into a new leadership relationship that was intended to model what it means to have a beautiful way to work together and provide pastoral credit as a way to help lead our faith.
>> We have the goal of shared leadership and collaboration. Having seen the benefit since then and accordance with our bylaws and with the true spirit of covenant, we ask the general assembly to bless Charles Du Mond and the reverend Meg Riley as they pick up the gavel to lead and lift up in this faith we so love.
>> Please join me in these words adapted from Gina Whitaker.
>> We gather here this week, a community of leaders within a larger community of faith, our work before us, we are called to deliver the with commitment, leadership, and foresight.
>> Remembering we're a religious community, we develop our policies and express our opinions with love at the top of all of agenda items. Remembering we hold open the door to welcome the multitudes who may yet enter, we set the pace, teach by example and encourage growth, disdaining a spirit of abundance and a connection to the greater good.
>> Remembering, we hold the lamp to illuminate others, we pledge our service, listen to each other and our stakeholders, and pool our individual gifts with transformation as our overreaching goal.
>> Together we're building Unitarian Universalism, we're bonding in love, we're blessing each other.
>> Thanks. This is probably my last chance to sing live with you. We welcome our new moderator, let's share another great spiritual about moving into the future with hope. Come and go with me to that land where I'm bound.
>> Barb and Elandria, how can I find word to thank you for your shared leadership of our co-moderators of our movement, during what has been such an intense and turbulent time of transition for all of us, the needs have been so great. And we Unitarian Universalists owe each of you a tremendous debt of gratitude. We have had not just one visionary moderator to guide us through this time, but two. Your gifts of love and compassion for our denomination and for each of us and for me personally as I've experienced it has mattered, it's been transformative.
Thank you for being the leaders that have helped us and guided us during this time.
>> I did not know him very well when he became our co-moderator and joined our Board after a year of turmoil and unrest. I have found him to be very the calming, very smart, very caring. Very patient. And I've been around Barb where things were not going so good and I was happy to be a part of his thinking things through. And trying to move to a different space.
So I'm so blessed that Barb joined our Board and agreed to work with Elandria and us. I have a lifelong friend that I have that I perhaps wouldn't have had on the work of the trustees. I did not know Eve very well. I remember thinking, this person has conviction and—and is not afraid to speak their mind. And it intimidated me. That's the honest truth. I began to see her brilliance and conviction and her—and her story. And to hear Elandria's story. It changed my life, a lot of what Elandria has shown me has changed my life, right? We share a love of all things southern, I love Elandria, and I'm so proud to have known her, to know her, it and to have worked with her, and the gifts that she shared with all of us, me, especially. I know that both of them—both of them—carry the best intention and well wishes for our faith to move forward. And that has—that has moved them past whatever differences they had and moved us past whatever challenges that we had because they have kept this Unitarian Universalists Board on the same path of transformation. And I don't know two better people who could have taken us down this path than Barb and Elandria. I'm hopeful for what we've done and hopeful for the leadership because of the leadership they provided. I love you, Backer and Elandria. I know we will be lifelong friends and continue in the quest to make the Unitarian Universalist faith the faith I know we can be. Thank you so much. I love y'all. Take care of yourself, see you on the flip side. Won't it be fun? All right, take care. Love you both.
>> I served on the UUA board with O LR andrea Williams and Bob grieve, I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for the incredible service for the UUA Board and the denomination at large. Thank you so much, great leaders, for what you've accomplished and what you've started and standing for justice. You will always be our leaders. And I appreciate all you have done and I have wonderful and great memories from working together with both of you. Thank you.
>> I want to offer my heart felt thanks to our service of the UUA Board. It up beginning in a difficult time three years ago, you can take pride in knowing our community is in a better place than we were. You have worked hard and sacrificed much, you have led us with love, compassion, and a commitment to justice. We are better for your leadership. Working with you has been a great joy. I love you and I wish you all possible blessings for your future. Thank you, again, for YOUSH great leadership.—for your great leadership.
It's Tim, remember me? The old treasurer, the guy who brought you those fun-filled budget reports. Truth is, I miss you both. And I'm really happy to be a part of this message, simply said, I want to express my profound gratitude to you both. You stepped into co-mod role at one of the most difficult times in our association's history. And now as your terms end, you're leading us through one of the most difficult times in our nation's history. There have been tough times along the way, challenges when it would have been easier to walk away. But you didn't. Ed is you stayed with us. I love you the better for it. Thank you.
>> I want to thank you for always showing up when there's difficult and urgent change that is needed and for staying until the end. And Elandria Williams, dear one, I want to thank you for organizing and loving the hell out of Unitarian Universalism. I love you both.
>> How can I thank you? You guys have been the most amazing leaders. A real A team. Complementary collaborator, visionary and pragmatic, powerful and sensitive, opinionated and open minded. Tough and tougher, playful and driven. Brilliant and humble, knowledgeable and inquisitive. You guys are the leaders that needed most in the time of the urgently needed change. I love you, I thank you, you have been the change.
>> Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication.
>> Hey. You foe, it's been a pleasure to have served with both of you this year. You showed what challenging times we have in our country and our association. Your passion for justice, compassion for humanity, have shown me what Board service is really all about. It's not just about governance. So I offer you my love, my appreciation, and gratitude. Thank you for your service and your continued commitment to Unitarian Universalism. May God bless you.
>> Hi, team. Before you leave your roles as co-moderators of our UUA, I want you to know a few things. I appreciated you. I appreciated your strength, I appreciated your vision and I appreciate the way you continue to lead. I watched you struggle and succeed, I watched you make difficult choices now and with an eye towards a future. And that is not an easy task. I appreciated your playfulness, your sense of humor, the ways that you love Unitarian Universalism and Unitarian Universalists. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I appreciate the ways you've allowed me to lead you sometimes. All of it, all of you. I appreciate it. Thank you, both.
>> Thank you both for your service and your faith and the UUA board you served under. Historic co-moderator ship is a new way of imagining leadership, a shared model that others have been looking to and for for a long time. For me it's a pleasure to work with you in the short time we've worked together and support the work you've done afar and up close has been a true joy and honor.
I want to mention that your co-moderatorship, something more that you brought to this process of attempting what leadership looks like. Challenge us as people empower to do better. And think about how shared power and power structures operate in the framework of Unitarian Universalism. I hope that—I should say I know that when the history books write about this time in Unitarian Universalism, Elandria Williams and Barb will be at the top of the list of people who pushed us in a new direction. You kept me in this space, you held me close when I needed to be, you supported the work I do and you've done that for so many other people. I know it was just a little piece of the work that you each do in the world, but I wanted to make sure you knew that it's made an immense difference and will continue to in the years and decades to come. Thank you so much for your service. I send my heart felt thanks and all of my love to you both. We're just getting started and thanks to you, we have sure footing to do this work under. So much love and thanks so much again, talk to you soon. Ed we've had lots of times to think and lots of chances to talk before you did stuff. A great learning experience and I think you're entitled to some rest. I'm going to miss you both. And I hope you can take some time to regroup and rethink and reclear yourself as much as possible during the pandemic and nation-wide protests of police brutality. Take care, good luck, God speed, and thank you, thank you so much.
>> I'm so grateful for this time we've worked together so closely, the relationships we built with love and respect and deep care. You have done so much for the UUA, no one will ever and fully know all of the sacrifices that you made. To support this faith and incredibly important time. I love you. I'm going to miss working with you. And I have learned you in way that I will keep as I move forward in the next section of my presidency. All of the love and gratitude to you both. Enjoy some time off, take care of yourselves, do the work in the world that you are called to do, and know that I'm always here and can't wait for the other things that we will do together for this space in the future.
>> Serving as co-moderators has been life changing, one of the most challenging and heart breaking at times. One of the most joyous and inspirational most of the time. It's been an honor to lead alongside you, each one of you. To invite you into a collaborative leadership with us, to have your trust, and to be held to a high standard of accountability in liberation for our faith. Thanks to our beloved board members, all of you who we've served in the last three years. Thanks to the President, you have been wonderful partners in this journey. Blessings to you all.
We want to take a moment to thank—(indiscernible) who works in the background tracking the details, reminding us of all of it will thing, keeping the ball moving forward, holding out to the best selves. Without your faithful work of love, we could not have done this.
And thank you to UU's everywhere, continue to hold the faith and know that while we transition out of this role, we are not transitioning out of our faith.
>> Thank you. I wouldn't be in this position without—(indiscernible) and so just for me to lift his name up here, because we're—we're serving out his term. Thank you. The people I served on the board and—(indiscernible) I'm so—and the gratitude—the gratitude to everybody we worked with, everybody that supported us, everybody that's guided us, thank you to my family, my friends, who like without you at general assembly, I couldn't walk around, couldn't eat. Like Barbara had to have them eat every day, thank you. So I want to keep it moving forward. So we hope and pray that we'll have leadership that looks like this again in the future, that have radical vision, we don't want to have people that look like us that don't have radical vision. But that can be elected. Can't do this in different ways right and we hope that everybody all that you use together we shift our world and faith. It going to take all of us, right? It's going to take all of us doing leadership different. So, I love y'all. I'm so excited, excited to have learned. I learned a lot, right? Like I have learned so much about leadership. So, so much about listening. Barb has made me a better person, a better writer, a better everything.
Members of our board have taught, oh, my gosh—y'all all know, I'm like a different person now. I'm grateful. And so just thank you. Thank you so much for letting us—it's been an honor, it's been hard. But it's been a huge honor.
>> If we were on stage together, weed put our arms around each other and we would say to all of you, thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you, we love you.
>> There are so many people to thank this year.
>> Our tellers.
>> Our Wright relationship team.
>> Our chaplains.
>> Our accessibility team.
>> Our young adults.
>> Our youth.
>> Diverse revolutionary, Unitarian, Universalist, multicultural ministries.
>> Equal access?
>> Black lives of Unitarian Universalism.
>> Trust, transgender Unitarian Universalists together.
>> The educators association.
>> The UU ministers' association.
>> The association of UUA ministers.
>> Director Benjie Messer.
>> The association of UU music ministries and all of the wonderful musicians and singers who have been a part of the general assembly this year.
>> Everyone who facilitated or took notes in the breakout groups.
>> Our general planning committee.
>> Jan Sneegas, for years of being behind the scenes and helping GA to be nationally recognized for reducing our carbon footprint.
>> Your Board of Trustees.
>> The incredible tech deck.
>> Larry and the always supportive and knowledgeable IT staff who without this our virtual GA would not be possible this year.
>> Our amazing UUA staff, including the truly wonderful general assembly and conference services director, Latonya Richardson.
>> Remarkable President, Ann Karen McDonald.
>> The commission on institutional change.
>> And all of you who have attended your very first all virtual general assembly. Let's give ourselves a big round of applause. Thanks to all of you who discern, learned, and continue to grow on the journey we call Unitarian Universalism.
>> Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> Hello. I'm the local area coordinator for the 2021 general assembly held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Indiscernible) it's not flashy and it's certainly not glamorous. Down to earth. And it can be both gritty and beautiful. It's also surprising. Did you know that Milwaukee has a history of socialist mayors?
And did you know that America's black holocaust museum was founded here in Milwaukee in 1984. Come, gather with us by the waters of Lake Michigan for the 2021 General Assembly and be surprised by the spirit of Milwaukee.
>> I'm Cesar, I'm a musician and social justice coordinator for the first Unitarian society of Milwaukee. Milwaukee has a spirit of resilience. I was born and raised on the south side of Milwaukee, full of community, culture, but also struggle. Milwaukee's often a tale of two cities, financially stable and others dealing with various disparities and marginalized communities. I want to empower my community to building relationships and finding new ways to create connections. An example of that community building is in Wisconsin hip-hop chess club. The community organization that I helped to coordinate where we let kids play chess, teach them about the fundamentals of hip-hop, and let them embrace their creativity over all. Milwaukee is a city of struggle, but also stride. And we've come a long way over the past few years in building relationships within the community with each other. Come see for yourself.
>> Greetings from Milwaukee. I'm the director of Yvette experience here in visit Milwaukee. I'm sorry I'm not there in person to greet all of you. We're so excited and thrilled to be hosting the 2021 general assembly in Milwaukee, whether you're arriving early or staying late, there's tons of options for you to enjoy your city and bring your family.
>> From the beginning we wanted to do something for everybody. You can see it in one stage and you can see the hip-hop act on another stage. And what that gives people the opportunity to walk along and see—they don't know. We have everything from the sports areas to the children's play area where people can come down and continue to have fun in the day. There's plenty of cold beverage and the best restaurants in town, you can't miss out on that. It's the greatest in the world. So people come on down, experience Milwaukee for four or five days and just come on out and have a good time.
>> Oh, and there's a little thing happening next year called the democratic national convention. Milwaukee will be on display for the more than 50,000 people flocking to the first national political convention.
>> Thanks, can't wait to see you next year.
>> Now, everybody. Let us take a moment to celebrate and reflect on what we've accomplished with each other. We've conducted the business of this association and the funds and entirely virtually on-line for the first time. The commission on change has given us the charge and given us long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems and affirms the promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism. We are organizing for the 2020 election and are ready to UU the vote and make a measurable impact in this country. We in the midst of these pandemic times are showing us new ways of operating and we're ready to shift what's happening in mass incarceration and galvanizing behind black, indigenous, and Latino leadership around what it means to move forward.
>> We have celebrated our credentialed leaders, minister, educators, and musicians, thanked those who are retiring and mourned those who have died. We have learned from the wisdom of each other, from our featured speaker, our workshop leaders, and for everyone who participated in discussion groups and on-line chat rooms.
We have built community together, on-line and across geographical boundaries and time zones. We have heard reports on the exciting and essential work happening all across Unitarian Universalism. We have voted on business resolutions and newly elected leaders on our association.
>> We have honored our youth built essential resilience for the work ahead. We've learned about Unitarian Universalism complicitity in colonialism. And how colonialism and land theft continue today. We've nurtured partnership for ongoing solidarity within indigenous communities across this country. We've learned from organizers, leaders, and theologians within and beyond our tradition.
We've done all of this and so much more. We're not done yet. We'll hear from Naomi Kline who's this year's Ware lecturers.
There are reports and speakers to gather in reflection groups. And tomorrow, Unitarian Universalists from across the country and across the world will gather for worship led by the reverend Joan Javier Duval.
>> My fellow UUs, my fellow Unitarian Universalists, I don't want us to underestimate how ground breaking this gathering has been. From across time zones and technology, and all of the ways, right, we have gathered and accomplished so much. Thank you all for being a part of this general assembly. This historic general assembly, 4,000 plus of us, and your commitment to Universal Unitarianism, our faith, to this life-giving, life enriching, and we will radically align the tradition to match where we want to go today.
>> May we continue to be rooted in our revolutionary and living faith tradition, inspired to live our mission in new, innovative ways, and ready to build the Unitarian Universalism that we aspire to be. And now, let us turn to our secretary, Patrick, for the final credentials report.
>> Friends, I am so grateful to you all for making this historic event happen. We are 4,933 of us registered for this event. We are will, if I'm correct, the third largest general assembly on record that includes 60 youth. We have over 4600 people who we know have logged in to the delegate portal. We have 1856 will delegates who have participating, 382 ministers and another 25 ministers Emeriti, 407 ministers in total. Another 133 religious educators here as delegates. I am so grateful to you all. This is 2,399 delegates. Representing 635 of our congregations from 49 states, Mexico, and Canada. We are here having done the work and now we know that we are accountable to each other and to the future.
>> I now call for the official adjournment of this assembly.
>> Patrick, is there a motion from the Board?
>> I move that this general assembly be called to an end.
>> All those in favor of adjournment, please vote now and can we open the polls? Ed
>> I say it is time.
>> The motion to adjourn is carried. We declare that the 2020 general assembly of the Unitarian Universalist association now stands fully adjourned.
>> See you at the Ware lecture. Have a great summer. See you next June in Milwaukee.