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General Session VI, General Assembly 2015 (Video)
General Session VI, General Assembly 2015
General Assembly, Online GA

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General Assembly 2015 Event 507

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Moderator Jim Key presides over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is being conducted. Please refer to the Agenda (PDF, 30 pages) for details on specific items addressed. Presenters have been asked to demonstrate how their work relates to our Global Ends also known as our Shared Vision, and to raise important questions for delegates to consider going forward.

Agenda

Approximate start times noted in parentheses.

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary.

Call to Order

Moderator: I now call to Order the Sixth General Session of the Fifty-Fourth General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Declare Election Results

Moderator: Before I call on the Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie, let me remind you of those who were elected.

  • Board of Trustees

    • Gregory Boyd
    • Tim Atkins
    • Rev. Patrick McLaughlin
  • Commission on Appraisal
    • Kathleen Henry
    • Peter Kandis
    • Brian Chenowith
  • Commission on Social Witness
    • Dr. Susan Goekler (4-year term)
    • Richard Bock (2-year term)
  • Board of Review
    • John Bohman
  • General Assembly Planning Committee
    • Ila Klion
    • Rev. Paul Langston-Daly
    • David Rand
    • Rev. Jennifer Gray
    • Katherine Allen (2-year term)
  • Nominating Committee
    • Elissa McDavid (1-year term)
    • Rev. Joe Cherry
    • Steven Ballesteros
    • Aisha Hauser

Susan, install these good people who have agreed to serve this association of congregations.

Susan Ritchie: Guided by love for this tradition and hope for the future, this General Assembly has duly elected members of the Board of Trustees and committees of the Association. We welcome their gifts, skills, time, sacrifice and voice to be shared in love, trust and dedication in the years to come.

Please join with me as we covenant together to install these leaders to the offices to which we have elected them.

Susan Ritchie: May our Unitarian Universalist faith and heritage inform your work and deeds as you serve with our leadership, our congregations and our staff. May your efforts and work inspire good will among all.

Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

Susan Ritchie: As you signify Unitarian Universalism in the wider world, may you serve as an instrument of reconciliation, hope, and welcome.

Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote a goal of community of peace, justice, and liberty for all.

Susan Ritchie: May you deal forthrightly and honestly with us, keeping foremost in your heart the health and well being of our movement, speaking your truth without fear of repercussion and encouraging others to do the same.

Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process.

Susan Ritchie: In the spirit of hospitality and understanding among people may all who cross your path feel they have been heard and seriously considered

Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all.

General Assembly: We covenant to encourage you and support you as you serve our movement. May our trust carry you through both difficulty and triumph. In gratitude, we thank you for your willingness to serve.

Newly Elected Leaders: With gratitude I acknowledge and accept the trust that you have placed in me.

Moderator: Congratulations to you all.

Debate and Vote on Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs)

Moderator: Yesterday you voted to place three actions of immediate witness on today’s agenda. Today, we will take up each of the three items. According to the Rules we adopted on Wednesday, we will have up to 20 minutes of debate for each AIW. The mini-assembly to offer amendments was held yesterday morning. So let me once again turn to Susan Goekler.

[The CSW Alert for Sunday, June 28 (PDF) includes text of the proposed AIWs, which were amended before adoption during the session.]

Proposed AIW E: End Immigrant Child and Family Detention Now (Adopted)

Susan Goekler: The Commission on Social Witness moves to adopt the proposed AIW-1 as revised in today's CSW Alert.

Moderator: Thank you Susan. Before allowing any amendments, I will ask the AIW proposer to speak in favor of that issue. I recognize the delegate at the Pro mike.

(Debate ensues—amendments out of order for the first 12 minutes, Passage requires 2/3 vote)

Proposed AIW B: Act for a Livable Climate Climate (Adopted)

Susan Goekler: The Commission on Social Witness moves to adopt the proposed AIW-2 as revised in today's CSW Alert.

(Debate ensues—amendments out of order for the first 12 minutes, Passage requires 2/3 vote)

Proposed AIW A: Support the Black Lives Matter Movement (Adopted)

Susan Goekler: The Commission on Social Witness moves to adopt the proposed AIW-3 as revised in today's CSW Alert.

(Debate ensues—amendments out of order for the first 12 minutes, Passage requires 2/3 vote)

Singing​

Unitarian Universalist (UU) Women’s Federation Report

Moderator: The UU Women's Federation (UUWF) is an organization that advances justice for women. The UUWF is an independent non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation and one of only three associate member organizations of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The UUWF was formed in 1963 through consolidation of the Association of Universalist Women, which was founded in 1869 and believed to be the first organization of lay church women in the United States, and the Alliance of Unitarian Women, founded in 1890.

Please welcome Kirstie Lewis, President of the UU Women’s Federation.

Kirstie Lewis: The UU Women’s Federation has experienced many changes since last year’s GA in Providence. [slide 2] First, let me remind you of our organization’s mission: “advancing justice for women and girls and promoting their spiritual growth.” Two years ago [slide 3] we celebrated 50 years as the UUA’s national organization representing UU women since the merger of 1963. Originally we were a national alliance of congregational women’s groups [slide 4] that kept church doors open and sanctuaries warmed. The UUA owes much to the skills women have of organizing themselves. From major contributions to getting the Roe v. Wade abortion rights case heard before the US Supreme Court, to billboards about sex trafficking, the UUWF has put UU women—and our faith movement—on the map.

[slide 5] Creating the Clara Barton Internship for Women’s Issues; [slide 6] raising funds for feminist theology projects; urging the UUA to recognize the necessity of using gender-neutral language; [slide 7] underwriting efforts by women in congregations to do bold justice and equity work; giving “Ministry to Women” awards to worthy women; providing scholarships to women of color entering the ministry, including those entering religious education and music ministries. [slide 8] Further details of these UUWF activities can be found on our website. We remain deeply proud of the work that has been done in the past.

Recently, the UUWF had a major shift [slide 9] in our organizational structure as our hard working, skillful executive administrator, Ellen Spencer, retired. She managed the daily details of running the UUWF’s programs and initiatives for more than 37 years, encompassing many administrations and boards. In many ways she carried the institutional memory of the UUWF; we are grateful for her long commitment; we feel her loss. [slide 10] However, we have five mighty board members with program portfolios and overall responsibility for the healthy future of this independent UU Associate organization, one of only two such organizations. [slide 11] In addition to our volunteer board, our newest position, that of UUWF affiliated minister, is filled currently by Rev. Marti Keller.

During 2014 we made decisions to streamline our work and carry us into the 21st century with an expanded on-line presence—including weekly blogs from Rev. Keller addressing topics of particular value to women. The blogs are full of up-to-the-minute information and passion regarding improving justice and equity for women and girls: [slide 12] Topics include: “She’s Going Places”; “A Conversation with SisterSong’s Monica Simpson”; “Minimum Wage is a Women’s Issue”; [slide 13] “Dark Monday with Darker Days Ahead”; “The Good and Bad News about Female Employment”; “Why Male Allies?”; “Justice for All Just Ain’t Specific Enough”; No Choices”; and recently, “Rape Culture.”

[slide 14] Rev. Keller and the UUWF are initiating a new project, funded in part by a challenge grant [slide 15] from the Fund for UU Social Responsibility [slide 16] as well as by the UUWF, called “The New Prophetic Sisterhood.” It aims to involve at least 100 fellowshipped and ordained UU women ministers in creating more awareness of and public witness around Reproductive Justice, our most recent congregational study initiative, and other urgent justice issues affecting women and girls. The project is named after the 19th century early wave of UU women clergy who founded liberal religious congregations on the American Prairie. The accomplishments of this “Iowa Sisterhood,” were brought to public attention through the landmark book [slide 17] Prophetic Sisterhood by our own Cynthia Grant Tucker. These female ministers spoke out on women’s voting rights, educational opportunities, abolition; and other social reforms. Their bold spiritedness—their struggles, defeats and legacy, provide a model for contemporary aspirations and tactics needed to overcome barriers facing us as women. Female identified ministers make up over half of our UU clergy. We hope to leverage this collective power inside and outside congregational walls.

[slide 18] The UUWF is initiating a survey of UU women that will give us updated information about issues that are most pressing to women today. A similar UUWF survey in 2004 led to our turning towards funding justice and equity projects and away from sponsoring direct service projects to congregations. Women wanted advocacy and hands-on projects; many such projects were funded and carried out. [slide 19] Now, we want to know if women feel the same way in 2015 as they did in 2004. We are also interested in whether women UU’s feel that their own congregations and ministers are attentive to the particular justice needs of women and girls and are providing information and inspiration towards that end.

Other advocacy work has included visits by our affiliated minister, Rev. Keller, to various pulpits and meetings in order to represent our strong interest in justice issues regarding women. Interaction [slide 20] and communications with groups such as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and SisterSong are growing. We have also signed on to several amicus briefs, letters, and legislative petitions. For example:

  1. The UUWF joined in a letter urging President Obama to support women’s reproductive health in Fiscal Year 2016 by omitting all language from his budget request that would restrict access to abortion, specifically the “Hyde Amendment”.
  2. The UUWF joined the UUA [slide 21] in decrying the Supreme Court decision permitting some employers to exclude coverage of contraception in their health plans.
  3. The Center for Reproductive Rights asked, and we agreed to add our voices [slide 22] to those of 55 groups that wrote President Obama and collectively objected to proposals that would allow groups working with women abroad to opt out of even providing referrals for women needing life-saving abortions or for those who have been raped.
  4. The UUWF joined in support of the Fair Employment Protection Act.

We implement [slide 23] our mission through the work of our Clara Barton Intern; our funding programs, our advocacy activities; and our newer website and Facebook communications and blog. Jessica Halperin, [slide 24] serving as the Clara Barton intern when the General Assembly adopted the 2012-16 reproductive justice study/action issue, helped call UUs to action on this issue by assembling the congregational resource packet and writing the curriculum. The intern position is currently open. Applicants are being sought. [slide 25] See our website.

We are re-conceptualizing our funding [slide 26] programs so that most projects will be commissioned works. We are developing a new Advisory Council on Commissioned Works to help determine the themes and topics which are most current, most urgent and will bring about the greatest positive change for women and girls. The Council will then seek out individuals and groups to carry out this vital work, providing funds for this purpose.

We are determined to keep issues impacting women and girls in the on-going conversations [slide 27] on social media and in the public market place. Please respond to our survey and to Rev. Keller’s blogs. We enjoyed meeting many of you at our two GA workshops this year. Rev Keller and a few early members of “A New Prophetic Sisterhood,” [slide 28] spoke yesterday about their hopes and plans for this project. On Thursday, in collaboration with the UU History and Heritage Society, we co-sponsored the workshop “Let Ours Be No Silent Witness” where Dr. Cynthia Grant Tucker spoke eloquently about some of our UU foremothers and a subsequent panel conversation focused on how those experiences can inform and inspire us today.

None of what I have spoken about to you today would be possible without the financial support of our members and the generous amounts of time and energy our volunteers contribute. [slide 29] There’s still time for you to join UUWF by visiting our booth in the display area or visit us on our website, click the Donate/Join button on the home page, read our blog. Go to the Women's Federation website.

General Assembly (GA) Talk: Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM)

Moderator: Please welcome Barbara Meyers, Suzanne Fast, and Michael Sallwasser to tell us about a new program.

Barbara Meyers: [Slide 1] Hi, everyone! Are you having a great GA? I'm Barbara Meyers and this is Suzanne Fast and Michael Sallwasser and we're here to share another way Unitarian Universalist communities can be Building a New Way!

Suzanne Fast: [Slide 2] This week we are launching a new program jointly sponsored by the UUA and EqUUal Access—a UU organization working to enable the full engagement of people with disabilities in UU communities and the broader society. The full name is Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry, AIM for short.

Michael Sallwasser: [Slide 3] The AIM program is for congregations seeking to embrace disability as a dimension of human difference. AIM congregations welcome, embrace, integrate, and support people with disabilities and their families.

Barbara Meyers: We gratefully acknowledge the influence of two UUA programs after which this program is patterned: the Welcoming Congregation Program and the Green Sanctuary Program, both of which have helped and supported the development of AIM. Similar to both of its forbearers, the true work of AIM is when a congregation engages deeply with what it means to live with a disability in our congregation and in our world.

Michael Sallwasser: The AIM program’s sacred challenge to congregations is to recognize the humanity and gifts of all people. It honors the importance of religious life in living with disabilities, and challenges each and all of us to build faith communities that can be a central source of support and action for all. AIM honors both the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the web that connects us all.

Suzanne Fast: [Slide 4] In the early stages of AIM, a congregation conducts an assessment of accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in the congregation today. AIM always starts from where you are. Based on your self-assessment, you set priorities for where to focus your efforts. Then, the congregation submits an action plan describing worship, workshops, and projects that will help them address their priorities.

Michael Sallwasser: [Slide 5] Next the congregation will have that plan reviewed by the AIM Coordinating Committee; upon approval, they will then implement the plan. When the plan has been implemented, the congregation applies to be recognized as an AIM Certified Congregation. The final step? Celebrate your achievement!

Suzanne Fast: The rallying cry of the disability rights movement, going back to its early days, is “nothing about us without us.” The team a congregation puts together to lead the AIM process is an opportunity to model inclusive leadership.

Barbara Meyers: [Slide 6] The intent of the program is to meet each congregation where it is and move it forward at a reasonable pace. Every three years the congregation will conduct a re-assessment and report on its progress. Between assessments, continuing to work on other identified priorities may help to maintain formal recognition.

The process does not grade congregations; it moves a congregation forward, based on its unique resources, needs, and abilities.

Michael Sallwasser: Making a congregation accessible and inclusive is a continuous process. It is often difficult work, involving personal and culture change. And, after having put the hearts and spirits of the congregation into completing all the work it can, there will be new challenges ahead.

Suzanne Fast: For the past four years, a team of us from EqUUal Access and the UUA has been working on this program: Barbara Meyers, Suzanne Fast, Michael Sallwasser, Mark Bernstein, Barbara Ceconi, and a colleague who died last year—Rachel Klein, and our administrators, first Lisa Ferris and now Michelle Avery Ferguson.

The program asks congregations to address several areas:

  • Michael Sallwasser: [Slide 7] Worship services that focus on disability, often having a member of the congregation speak about living with disability and the importance of a faith community’s inclusion.
  • Barbara Meyers: [Slide 8] Accessibility: adding handrails, new signage, printing accessible orders of service, training ushers, installing sound systems, and re-designing websites.
  • Suzanne Fast: [Slide 9] Inclusion: changing attitudes and practices such that people with disabilities are welcomed into full participation in church activities. Actions may involve workshops, revising bylaws or training RE teachers.
  • Barbara Meyers: [Slide 10] One of the requirements of the program is to have at least one project focusing on disability justice.
  • Michael Sallwasser: [Slide 11] There have been eight field test sites using this program for the past two years. We have learned a lot… and so have the congregations. Here’s a quote from field test team member, Kate Warner, from Ann Arbor:
  • Barbara Meyers: “I feel that I have a chance to make a genuine contribution to the church through my membership on this team. Deciding to be inclusive is often thought of as for the benefit of a special population. But my experience tells me that it benefits the whole population.”

Suzanne Fast: [Slide 12] The program materials are all available on the UUA’s website. We invite you and your congregations to find out more about the program and its sacred challenge to live out our faith. You can learn more on the UUA and the EqUUal Access websites.

Michael Sallwasser: Thank you for helping us launch AIM!

Moderator: Thanks Barbara, Suzanne, and Michael.

GA Talk: Faithify

Moderator: Now welcome Rev. Sue Phillips and Hilary Allen.

[slide #1]

Sue Phillips: [Faithify—slide #2] I’m Sue Phillips, and this is Hilary Allen. We’re staff of the New England Region of our UUA. We’re here to tell you about Unitarian Universalism’s crowd funding website FAITHIFY.

How many of you have heard of FAITHIFY? All right!

For those who have never heard of crowd funding, the simplest explanation is: people like you have ideas, you share those ideas with other people—or the crowd—and that crowd gives money to help those ideas come to life. You may have heard of—or used—sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe, and now our faith has its own crowdfunding site.

FAITHIFY launched at General Assembly last year, and since then, well, check this out: [video]

[slide #3]

Most of us have dreamed and hoped that Unitarian Universalism could be bigger and broader than it is, that we could reach more people with our ministries and amplify our impact [slide #4]. FAITHIFY gives us a way to easily share our best ideas, crossing barriers of geography and generation to reach a generous, enthusiastic crowd. Crowdfunding connects us with siblings in faith we might not otherwise have known.

Each of you has probably also been in some conversation at some point where someone’s great idea—maybe yours—has been met with “we don’t have money for that” [slide #5].

With FAITHIFY, there’s almost always money for that. You just have to go get it. 70% of our projects are successful. Almost of them exceed their goal [exceed your goals—slide #6]. Yours can too.

FAITHIFY’s crowd is growing [the crowd grows—slide #7]. As of yesterday, we have had 9,000 returning visits to the site. Nine thousand times people like you have returned to check out what’s there and many of those visits turn into donations.

FAITHIFY neutralizes “we don’t have money for that”. But it’s about so much more. It’s a place [a place, a gallery, a library—slide #8] you can go to see how folks are dealing with the same stuff you are. It’s a gallery highlighting what other creative, interesting, dreaming UUs are up to. It’s a library of how to fund youth service projects. Expand staff. Build community gardens. Buy houses or make improvements to buildings. FAITHIFY allows us to bring our ideas into the open and lets us learn from each other, in public. There’s inherent value in that learning, that exposure, above and beyond the money we raise.

Many FAITHIFY projects have served outreach efforts or supported Beyond communities. This makes sense because these communities are often comfortable using new technology. But you don’t have to use FAITHIFY for something “innovative” or new just because crowdfunding is a newer medium. We think we’ll soon see a lot more projects about everyday congregational life [slide #9]. You’re welcome to crowdfund things like repairing cherished stained glass windows. Buying hymnals. Sharing staff. And funding multigenerational service-learning.

FAITHIFY is a simple way to light the fuse on your good idea. Every experienced leader knows that generating good ideas [slide #10] is the easy part. What can be challenging is communicating your ideas to other people, inspiring their support, and giving those people concrete ways to express their enthusiasm.

Every flame needs oxygen. By posting projects on FAITHIFY, folks like you oxygenate [slide #11] the ideasphere around the rest of us. We now have a place to inspire our own dreams, generate concrete ideas, and expand our imagination for what’s possible.

FAITHIFY is about raising money, but it’s so much more than that. Let’s learn together. Let’s get inspired together. Let’s dream new dreams and hope new hopes. Let’s make cool stuff happen.

What will you FAITHIFY? [slide #12]

[faithify.org—slide #13]

Moderator: Thanks so much Sue; Faithify is a great program, I know.

GA Talk: YA@GA

Moderator: Now welcome Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen for another GA Talk YA@GA.

Elizabeth Nguyen: The best part of my New Years was sitting on a dock on a frozen lake at midnight, watching the clouds come cover the stars. The second best part of my New Years was watching the University of Wisconsin Badgers win, 34 to 31 against Auburn in overtime on the first day of 2015.

College football is in my culture—and while I used to be uneasy with my family’s fandom, I’ve learned to love the belonging that the Badgers offered to my father when he first immigrated to Milwaukee, WI, fresh from the refugee camps. To worry at the trauma of it, yes, and the racism and gladiator spectacle of it. But if I’m honest, there is something compelling about snatching footballs out of the air, helmets smacking and shoulders crashing, block and tackle and touchdown.

My own simple analysis is this: I have never figured out how to be angry and so the anger of the football field—the conflict, the violence, the aggression is a proxy. Football is catharsis for what I don't know how to express.

Before I was a UU minister, I hung out in prisons, facilitating workshops on nonviolence. My mentors were incarcerated men. They’d done some things out of want or need or love or sickness, and they’d done many out of anger—at people or powerlessness or the pain of the world. In those workshops, we would draw a big iceberg with the tip above the surface. That tip was violence. Underneath the surface of the water were the feelings that led to violence—anger was always a popular choice. At the bottom of the iceberg we brainstormed the systems or ideas that created the emotions—racism, sexism, classism.

Audre Lorde wrote this amazing speech, “The Uses of Anger” about the middle of the iceberg—anger, neither action nor source, but feeling. She says, “To my sisters of Color who like me still tremble their rage under harness, or who sometimes question the expression of our rage as useless and disruptive—I want to speak about anger, my anger, and what I have learned from my travels through its dominions.”

It’s been a year of anger—in response to the non indictment of the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, and then Eric Garner in Staten Island and then Tamir Rice, Renisha McBride, John Crawford III, Tony Robinson, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray... we add new names every day.

At protests this winter I’ve been surrounded by anger and evidence of its usefulness. But even with thousands behind me, up against a police line, I often couldn’t feel my own. Shoulder to shoulder with youth in the center of their anger, shutting down streets—and my anger, that anger, was stuck, below the surface, somewhere between the system that caused it and my ability to express it. My rage trembling under harness.

I’ve said “I am so angry.” And said it, and it was true and I couldn’t even feel it, couldn’t show it. Couldn’t be like Fatuma, 17, who said that was she pissed and didn’t want to stop being pissed. Couldn't be like Mary, 15, said she was so angry that she would stay in the streets until the police joined the protesters.

Lorde’s words “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change."

A lot of very smart spiritual teachers say that we must in some way, let go of anger. I think that is true to- but maybe that letting go is what we do after we know what it is, after we have learned to express it freely without doing harm to ourselves or others, after we have used it with precision for good. There is no way to let go of what we don’t know how to have.

Lorde offers, “It is not the anger of others that will destroy us but our refusals...to listen to its rhythms...to tap that anger as a source of empowerment. Anger has eaten clefts into my living only when it remained unspoken, useless to anyone.”

I had a temper, in college, I would bang on the hoods of cars when boys stuck their heads of the windows, yelling out cat calls. I was my anger in those moments and while I'm not proud of them, it could feel some kind of holy, to be empowered by my anger instead paralyzed by it, communicating my anger with those whose actions hurt me instead of turning it inward, cementing it into bitterness, distrust, despair.

The thing that is true is that many of us our angry. Those of us who are stopped by cops and whose children and parents and brothers are dead, whose people are doing time for a system, are angry. Those of us Asian and Latino, Indigenous and Middle Eastern, who are stopped by cops, too, who are dying, too, in different ways sometimes, who find ourselves in solidarity but also apart from the particular anti-blackness of this nation, we too, are angry. And those of us who the system supports, who get friendly warnings from cops and don’t know anyone in prison and whose gated communities, private schools and cars with the doors locked keep us separate from our fellow humans, we who they say they are trying to protect, are angry.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s says “Breathing in, I know that anger has manifested in me. Hello, my little anger.” And breathing out, “I will take good care of you. Once we have recognized our anger, we embrace it. It is like cooking potatoes. You must keep the stove on for at least twenty minutes for the potatoes to cook. Your anger is a kind of potato and you cannot eat a raw potato.”

Just as we pray that we do not inherit anger that is bitter, vengeful, cruel, may we also not inherit an avoidance. May we embrace, hello my little anger.

Anger is how people who, a year ago, had never been to a protest or who hadn’t been to one in thirty years, who did not have the words to talk about race or racism or who had forgotten, now find themselves facilitating dialogues with police officers, planning direct actions and building movements. Anger drives us from comfort, despair, uncertainty into the land of doing. Rev. Martin Luther King said that “The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.”

May we speak about anger, my anger, yours and what we have learned from our travels through its dominions. May we not be spectators to our anger—not let it be the providence of the football field or the young people in the streets. May we hold our little potatoes, recognize our anger, share it well and without harm, put it to use: a source of empowerment, clarity, and justice.

Right Relations Team Final Report

Moderator: Please give it up one more time for the Right Relationship Team for the 2014 General Assembly.

Right Relations Team: (caption live)

Final Credentials Report

Moderator: I call on the Secretary of the Association, Rev. Susan Ritchie, for a final credentials report and any announcements.

Susan Ritchie: (caption live)

Invitation to Columbus

Moderator: Thank you Susan. Guess what folks? We get to do this GA thing all over again next year. Welcome Laura Howe to give us a sneak preview.

Laura Howe: My name is Laura Howe and I would like to welcome you to Columbus Ohio for GA 2016. You will find Columbus to be a Unique, Exciting, Unexpected, Open, and Smart city. (Start video clip.) GA will be at the Columbus Convention Center. To the north of the convention center is Short North with iron work arches over the main street. It is a vibrant community with gallery hops and many fine restaurants and bars. The Convention center is across the street from North Market which has many food vendors with fresh vegetables, meals, chocolate, and ice cream.

Did you know that Columbus has been noted as an “up and coming gay city” by bestgaycities.com. The weekend before GA will be the Columbus Pride weekend with one of largest Pride parades in the Midwest with more than 300,000 people.

There are parks throughout the city and along the Scioto River. You will find easy bike rentals and buses to get around. The closest park to the convention center will be home to CommFest the weekend of GA, This is an annual community festival with an active community of volunteers, a focus on reuse and recycle, and entertainment.

I invite you to Experience Columbus June 22 through 26 for GA 2016!

Recognition of All Who Made GA Portland Possible

Moderator: Well folks, here we are, five days later, after 42 hours of programming, 175 workshops, 10 hours of worship, and Dr. Cornell West. Wow.

It takes an incredible number of volunteers and staff to bring this five-day event to you. I want to thank them all and have them join me on the stage.

First the GA Planning Committee who spend an inordinate amount of time and energy pulling off an event like this; Rev. Chip Roush and his team.

Thanks to Dr. Jan Sneegas, General Assembly and Conferences Director and her staff, Don Plante, Stacy Dixon, and Steve Ranson.

Thanks to the many volunteers from across the country who contribute their time as well. The witty and charming Denise Rimes and her ushers and tellers.

The many volunteers from Oregon who were organized by Ken Wheeler, the District GA Coordinator.

The tech deck who organize the slides, videos, the off-site delegates, the closed captioning, etc

The Meet Green folks organized by Aaaron Elliott.

Our chaplains chaired by Rev. Jennifer Brooks.

Our right relations team, co-chaired by Mr. Barb Greve and Raziq Brown.

The Worship Arts Team chaired by Rev. Carolyn Patierno.

The Program Development Group chaired by Renee Ruchotzke [ ruh-HUT-skee ] and Gail Forsyth-Vail.

And our attorneys, Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe. I mean Tom Bean.

What a group! Thank you.

Adjournment

Moderator: I now call for the official adjournment of the Assembly. Is there a motion from the Board?

Donna Harrison: Moved: That this General Assembly is now adjourned.

Moderator: All those in favor of adjournment please so signify by raising your voting cards. (Pause for response.) All those opposed. (pause for response.)

What say our online delegates?

The motion to adjourn is carried. I declare that the 2015 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association now stands finally adjourned. Have a wonderful summer and I’ll look forward to seeing you in Columbus, OH, next June.

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For more information contact generalassembly@uua.org.