General Session I, General Assembly 2018

General Assembly 2018 Event 110 (which also included the Banner Parade and Opening Worship)

Program Description

We gather in chaotic times that try our souls. In grief and joy we meet in this moment of unraveling to strengthen our bonds and proclaim our callings with compassion and strength. All Are Called! Let us celebrate, once again!


  • Welcome to GA and Banner Parade
  • Call to Order
  • Invocation
  • Review and Adopt Rules
  • Honoring our Ancestors
  • Introduction: Chaplains
  • Introduction: Right Relationship Team
  • Introduction: Safety Team
  • GA Accessibility
  • Song: “All Are Called” (Video)

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.

Welcome to GA

Elandria Williams: Hello, everybody! I am Elandria Williams.

Barb Greve: And I am Barb Greve. Together, we are the Co-Moderators of your Unitarian Universalist Association.

Susan Frederick-Gray: And I am Susan Frederick-Gray, President of your Unitarian Universalist Association!

Elandria: Welcome Unitarian Universalists to the 2018 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri!

Barb: Welcome Unitarian Universalists from near and far, from all across the world, we gather once more as a collective body of faith.

Susan: It is good to be together!

Elandria, Barb and Susan: Let the Banner Parade Begin!

Banner Parade

Call to Order

Barb Greve: I now call to order the Fifty-Seventh General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Review and Adopt Rules of Procedure

Elandria: The proposed Rules of Procedure can be found on pages 70 through 72 of the Final Agenda or Program Book.

These rules will govern our consideration of, and voting upon, the business items that come before us during our general sessions. The rules are largely the same as in previous years. There are a couple of items that I want to direct your attention to.

Please note that Rule 5 provides that no amendments to a business resolution, bylaw change or rule change will be in order unless submitted for consideration at the mini-assembly for that item.

Also, please note that Rule 6b indicates that thirty minutes are allowed for discussion of any proposed bylaw or rule amendment, resolution, or action on a report that is on or admitted to the Final agenda. Before debate begins, time will be provided for you to informally discuss the agenda item with others sitting around you; this informal discussion time will not count towards the thirty-minute limit.

The thirty minutes of debate time does include time devoted to discussing any amendments to the proposed amendment.

As a reminder, Rule 7 provides that separate microphones will be designated as pro and con for discussion of proposed bylaw amendments, rules, resolutions or actions.

The pro microphone is up front on the left (point). The con microphone is up front on the right (point). There is also an amendment microphone which has been placed at the front of the arena (point), and a procedural microphone which has been placed immediately in front of me (point).

Please note that points of personal privilege and points of information must be made from the procedural mike, not from the pro or con mikes or the amendment mike. By the way, ​only delegates may speak from the microphones, except by express permission of a Co-Moderator.

I strongly urge those of you who are attending General Assembly General Sessions for the first time to read the Rules of Procedure. Particularly look at Rule 6 on page 70 of the Rules, so that you understand the time limits in effect. No person may speak on any motion for more than two minutes.

Before proceeding with our business, I want to introduce you to Tom Bean, our legal counsel and Nina Elmo parliamentarian. All clear?

Will the Board Secretary make the appropriate motion with respect to the Rules of Procedure?

Christina Rivera: Moved that the Rules of Procedure of this General Assembly as set forth in full on pages 70 through 72 of the Final Agenda be adopted.

Co-Moderator: Is there a second?

Does anyone want to discuss the rules?

There being no [time for further] discussion of the Rules of Procedure, discussion is now closed, and a vote is in order. All those in favor of adopting the Rules of Procedure, please do so by raising your voting card.

(Pause for response.) All those opposed.

(Pause for response.) Let's wait for the off-site delegates to vote on these rules.

(A two-thirds vote is required to adopt the Rules of Procedure; any Amendment requires a two-thirds vote. The Co-Moderator announces the result of the vote.) The motion carries.

The Empty Chair

Barb Greve: My name is Barb Greve, and I serve as a Hospice Chaplain, the Religious Education Assistant at the UU Church of Palo Alto, and am one of the Co-Moderators of this Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Elandria Williams: Hello, my name is Elandria Williams and I am a member of Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, TN. I am also the Training Director of People’s Hub and Cooperative Developer for Cooperation Jackson and am one of the Co- Moderators of this Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Barb: As we gather here at this General Assembly, we do so in with awareness of all that is happening in the world around us and here within our own faith tradition. Each one of us has different sources of strength and inspiration. For many of us, one of these sources is our ancestors—those who have come before us, who have navigated troubled waters, and whose dreams, actions, wisdom, and strength we build upon. Each year, some of our contemporaries make the great transition to join the ancestors. This year is no different.

For the second year in a row we honor one of our moderator predecessors, Denny Davidoff. Along with Denny, we honor Danielle Glad and Alyce Gowdy-Wright. All three were friends and mentors to many of us here in the hall. May this open chair, which will remain as such throughout General Assembly, honor them and all the other ancestors in our lives. All were important.

Elandria: It is customary that when the Board meet together physically (as opposed to virtually), we leave an open chair at the board table. This chair honors the spirits that have blessed proceedings in the past, and leaves space for observers to join us when appropriate. It is an important and sacred custom.

In the spirit of remembering and honoring our ancestors in some African and African American cultures we pour libations. Libations are poured to honor their lives, their courage and to remember the lessons that they taught us. As we pour libations this evening, we do so to remember and Denny Davidoff, Danielle Glad, and Alyce Gowdy-Wright, along with those in your life who have had great value. We will begin by first calling out some names from here and after we call each name we will pour some water onto this plant (bowl??) and we will all say Ashe. Can everyone say Ashe with me? Repeat after me Ashe. Ashe.

Denny Davidoff Danielle Glad Alyce Gowdy-Wright Marlys Brinkman Ibrahim Baba Farajaje Now please say a name and during this process we will all say Ashe until all the water has been poured.

We also want to recognize those that are still here and those yet to come. We know that we are joined by elders both of our faith and those we are in community with. If you consider yourself an elder please raise your hand or make some noise. Let’s all say thank you for what they have and are giving us.

Repeat after me: THANK YOU and we LOVE YOU!

Now for those of us yelders or if you haven’t reached yelder status those of us that are in in the middle and providing care, balance and support to both the elders and the younger folks. If you are their raise your hand or make some noise. Let us all say thank you for what they have and are giving us.

Repeat after me: THANK YOU AND LOVE YOU Now for those who are younger and not just young at heart. The youth that are leading the way in so many ways and helping the rest of us take notice. If you are a youth please either raise or hand or make some noise. Let us all say thank you for what they have and are giving us.

Repeat after me: THANK YOU AND LOVE YOU Now for those that have yet to come. Some are almost here about to be born and others we don’t even now about. Let’s offer a moment of silence sending them love.


Introduction: Chaplains

[Slide #1] Barb Greve: We welcome our 2018 GA Chaplains. The chaplains are available during GA and will often be in the Chaplain Office in Room 2206.

Rebekah Savage: [Slide #2] Greetings Beloved Unitarian Universalists far and wide! I am Rev. Rebekah Savage, your co-lead for the General Assembly Chaplains. This is Rev. Alex Holt also your co-lead chaplain. It is my honor to present to you our team of GA Chaplains: Rev. Neal Anderson Rev. Katie Romano Griffin Rev. Kate Landis Rev. Qiyamah Rahman and Rev. Cathy Harrington is serving as our offsite online chaplain.

These generous souls will be available in Room 2206 next to the Right Relations Team in the Convention Center. Our GA Chaplains are available for pastoral and spiritual support for the duration of General Assembly.

You can contact our team by calling us 24 hours a day [the chaplains' number can be found in the Program]. All GA chaplains will be wearing a Chaplain hat to be recognizable during program hours. We are here to support and serve your spiritual needs.

We will also be offering morning spiritual practice in the Meditation Room of the Convention Center from 7-7:30 a.m.

So come by and say hi, ask for a blessing or lay your burden down. We are honored to journey with you while at GA.

Introduction: Right Relationship Team

Elandria Williams: Please welcome the cochairs of your 2018 Right Relationship Team, Hannah Roberts Villnave and Yadenee Hailu.

Hannah Roberts Villnave / Yadenee Hailu: Welcome to this incredible gathering of Unitarian Universalists. It’s an honor to be serving as the co-chairs of your Right Relationship Team. I’m Yadenee Hailu and I’m Hannah Roberts Villnave, and we’re looking forward to spending this GA together engaged in the sticky, beautiful work of co-creating community that reflects our highest values.

Joining us on the team this year are: Mary Early-Zald, Shari Halliday-Quan, Julian Sharp, Stephen Carmody, Jim Lewis, Miguel Rivera Young, Rachael Miles, and Elizabeth Mount. This year, we are particularly excited to be partnering with the new Safety Team, as well as continuing to work closely with our GA Chaplains.

Maybe you’re wondering how the Right Relationship Team fits into that constellation of groups! We’re here to support you in working through issues that develop within the General Assembly community. Our support takes many forms, from holding space for your experiences, to acting as thought partners for participation, to accompanying and facilitating the conversations around transforming relationships.

If you need us, you can find us in room XXX here at the convention center, by calling us at the number in the program book and app, or by finding somebody in a stylish orange vest.

As Unitarian Universalists, we strive to create community that honors the ways the divine shows up in each of us.

And we are striving to root out white supremacy, the heteropatriarchy, disability erasure, and the many other ways our society fails to honor the divine in each and all.

This work will create deep discomfort and uncertainty, particularly for those of us who move in the world with privileged identities. Breathe.

We invite you to spend these days together letting go of being flawless or certain. Join us in finding new ways to be curious, open, courageous and humble with one another.

Introduction: Safety Team

Elandria Williams: Please welcome the co-chairs of your 2018 Safety Team, India Harris and Chris Crass.

India Harris / Chris Crass: [To be live-captioned.]

GA Accessibility

Elandria Williams: Please welcome Patty Cameron, who is here to tell us about Accessibility Services at this General Assembly. The GA Planning Committee and Patty have done a great job over the years in making GA more and more accessible to more and more people.

Patty Cameron: My name is Patty Cameron and it’s my great pleasure to coordinate Accessibility Services for General Assembly. But accessibility is not my job alone. It is our collective role to practice radical hospitality—a community that includes everyone—those who use mobility equipment, listening devices, interpreters, have chemical sensitivities, assist dogs, or need special seating to accommodate for vision or hearing. It’s our collective role to welcome all!

Our services are available to anyone registered here at General Assembly, and our goal is to provide assistance that allows everyone to participate fully in GA. Come visit our table in the main lobby.

I invite you to be with one another this week in ways that allow you to practice radical hospitality, stretch your comfort zone, enrich your spirit, and widen your field as you take in all those around you whether they walk or ride. Please reserve the elevators for people with mobility or health needs.

We are all part of this General Assembly—one beloved community—a bright, wonderful community of people of all abilities. Be with each other in loving kindness. Enjoy GA! Thank you!


Barb Greve: There being no further business to come before us, and in accordance with the schedule set forth in your program book, I declare that this general session of the General Assembly shall stand in recess until 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

UUA General Assembly Off-site Participation: Kansas City, Missouri | 2018