Get ready to grow in faith at General Assembly 2018
Use these suggested resources to prepare for transformative experiences in worship, witness, collective decision-making, and learning.
Do at least one activity in each of five categories. Then:
- Print* the GA Prep booklet (PDF) and record your activities on the back cover. Bring the booklet to the UUA Expressway in the GA exhibit hall to claim a “GA Ready” badge ribbon. *When printing two-sided, select "flip short edge."
- Or, use this online form to report how you have prepared. At the UUA Expressway, staff will have your name.
1. Prepare to Be Together
In Unitarian Universalism, democratic process is a sacred matter embodied in our fifth Principle. Every waking minute of General Assembly offers opportunities to live our faith as we gather to make decisions together.
- Arrive with understanding of why some spaces will be separated by race/ethnicity. Read “Working Apart So We Can Work Together” for a tour through the merits and challenges of racial identity caucusing with members of Fractured Atlas, an anti-racist, arts-focused nonprofit technology organization in New York City.
- Refresh your familiarity with the role of "covenant" in Unitarian Universalism. Read Handout 1, Covenant As Promise from the Tapestry of Faith curriculum, The New UU. Answer the reflection questions, perhaps in a journal. Consider how your understanding of covenant can inform your time at GA.
- This year’s General Assembly marks the 25th Anniversary of the Thomas Jefferson Ball, a painful moment in UU history. Read an account of the controversial Thomas Jefferson Ball, held at GA 25 years ago.
2. Prepare Your Spirit
Above all, GA is a time to deepen connections to faith and faith community. Here are tips to make the most of your journey.
- Subscribe to Braver/Wiser and receive weekly reflection and prayer, grounded in Unitarian Universalism, in your inbox.
- Read these tips from hospice physician and author Karen Wyatt and these from the Chopra Center to maintain a personal spiritual practice while traveling.
- Check out the article, “Action as Prayer: Lessons from Oceti Sakowin" for a Christian perspective on the role of prayer in indigenous-led resistance at Standing Rock.
3. Prepare to Worship
Each year, General Assembly provides opportunities to worship with UUs from all around the world who bring multiple theologies and styles of worship. Get ready to be open and present for familiar and unfamiliar ways to worship together.
- Preview worship choices that will be offered at General Assembly 2018 and make a commitment to participate in at least one. Then, read about or watch some large-group worship from past GAs. Start with Broken Vows, Whole Lives (2013), Synergy Bridging Worship (2015), or We Ready—We Comin' (2016). Find more by searching "GA worship" on the UUA website.
- On the web page of Rise Up and Sing, learn what folk music ancestor Pete Seeger said about people singing together and follow the link to the Oxford University report that group singing draws people closer together. Also, listen to an NPR interview with Stacy Horn, a member of the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York and author of Imperfect Harmony: How Singing With Others Changes Your Life.
- Sample some of the hymns and songs likely to be shared at GA. Start with "Keep on Moving Forward" by emma's revolution; "Come, Come Whoever You Are" sung by the Oakland Chancel Choir, words adapted from Rumi, melody by Lynn Ungar; or a UU YouTube mix that opens with "Blue Boat Home" by Peter Mayer.
4. Prepare Your Inner Activist
Learn the pressing issues for our city/regional hosts and what's going on "on the ground." How will your UU values and Principles lead you to get involved, in Kansas City and afterward?
- Learn about the local work of Stand Up KC.org, a grassroots group focused on the minimum wage Fight for $15 campaign. They are affiliated with the national Poor People’s Campaign.
- Check out Resist Hate KC, a secular, progressive, legislative action organization for gender equality, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, reproductive rights, refugee rights, and more.
- Learn about the racial and socioeconomic segregation that splits Kansas City geographically and explore current concerns around urban gentrification. First, watch this informative, locally produced 13-minute video, “Building the Troost Wall: Structural Racism in Kansas City." Then, read the October, 2017 Kansas City Star article on gentrification bringing affluent white newcomers to an historically black city neighborhood, “The new ‘east of Troost’: Chef’s kitchens, lap pools, $600K homes — and class tension."
- Visit the Facebook page of Black Lives Matter Kansas City.
- Watch the video, "Josie's Story," on the website of KC Passages, an LGBTQ youth organization in Kansas City that does life-saving work.
- Find out ways to support the Kansas City Sierra Club and the Missouri Sierra Club while you are visiting or afterward. Priority local issues include reducing carbon emissions (Streetcar Extension Line Campaign), river conservation, & the Beyond Coal Campaign.
5. Prepare to Encounter Kansas City
Absorb some of the city's history before GA and plan some fun and edifying things to do when you are there.
- Local vlogger Mr. Beats explains “Why Kansas City is (Mostly) in Missouri” (5:30) rather than in neighboring Kansas.
- Listen to The Beyond Our Borders Project, public-radio produced program that explores the history and impact of the Troost Wall, which divides KC along distinct racial and class lines.
- Educate yourself in three steps about slavery's history and and long-term impact in the area. (1) KCUR public radio offers a five-minute story to hear and and an accompanying article, "Missouri River a Flashpoint for Slavery Conflict." (2) This article in a local publication, Squeezebox, tracks racism in Kansas City from slavery into the 20th century. (3) This page on the Kansas City Public Library website gives a 20th century timeline of civil rights and protest in Kansas City and includes links to biographies, oral histories, and primary source materials.
- Watch this video posted by KCPT public television for a timeline of public education equity in Kansas City. The 6:30 video touches on the roles of the slaughterhouse industry, immigration, segregation/integration and "restrictive covenants" (redlining) in Kansas City's development.
Things to Do
- Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
- Discover Kansas City’s vibrant live music scene.
- Reserve in advance to ensure a spot on a Be Bop and Beyond Walking Tour of the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz and Baseball District. Check out, too, the Civil Rights Tour and other offerings of the Kansas City Tour Company; video preview here.
- Preview what's happening in contemporary Kansas City food, drink, music, and art by downloading or streaming episodes of the “Speak Easy" podcast produced by Visit KC.
- Barbecue, or barbeque? Stockyards and meat-packing in KC gave rise to a world-famous culture of grilled meat cuisine. Check out “Everything You Need To Know About Barbeque in Kansas City.”
- Give your business to black-owned KC businesses, such as Urban Cafe at 4101 Troost Ave.
- Check out the fun and free or inexpensive things to do with kids in and around KC.