Many committees, task forces, staff offices, and meetings make GA happen, starting several years before the event.
General Assembly Planning
The Office of General Assembly and Conference Services, in conjunction with UUA Administration and Board oversee development of each GA. The Board directly manages the General Sessions at GA and matters specific to delegates.
Planning for GA is also a collaborative effort that includes the Office of General Assembly and Conference Services staff, UUA Board Moderator(s), a UUA Board liaison, Local Arrangements Chair(s), and a GA Advisory Council. Additionally, the GA Worship Arts Coordinator, GA Music Coordinator, and Care Team Leads contribute to planning.
2024 Advisory Council:
- Sarah Basehart, Local Area Accessibility Services Coordinator (2025)
- Valerie Hsu, Baltimore Local Area Coordinator (serving 2024 and 2025), Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, MD
- Ida Mae Jones
- Rev. Elizabeth Mount, UUA Board Trustee
- Kate Newkirk, former Safety Team Co-Lead
- LaTonya Richardson, Director, UUA General Assembly & Conference Services
- Rev. Meg Riley, Co-Moderator, UUA Board of Trustees
- Rev. Verdis LeVar Robinson, Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM)
- Michael Sallwasser. former UUA Board Trustee
- Mary Beth Spencer, GA Accessibility Services Consultant (2024)
2023 GA Care Team Leads: Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey and Rev. Kristina Spaude (Chaplains); Chloë Briedé and Karishma Gottfried (Covenant), Michael Sallwasser and Tessa Ellis (Systemic Justice), Chloe Merly-Weinke (Safety)
Board of Trustees – the Moderator sets agenda for and facilitates General Sessions. The Board of Trustees moderates Mini-Assemblies (set-aside time for delegates to work on specified agenda items prior to those items coming up for a vote in General Sessions) for Proposed Business Resolutions and Bylaws/Rules changes.
General Assembly Mission of the Association Partnership (GAMAP) – In September of each year, the UUA President convenes a meeting of staff and stakeholders to set the theme for the upcoming GA and determine areas of theological focus.
Grid Meeting – The conclusion of the GA MAP meeting is devoted to drafting for a schedule for a multi-day General Assembly. The draft is reviewed and finalized by the Office of General Assembly and Conference Services.
Program Development Group (PDG) – The PDG is a diverse team of individuals comprised of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff, religious professionals, lay leaders, and members of the GA Planning Committee. The PDG is charged with identifying and selecting excellent General Assembly programming aligned with the vision and mission of the UUA and its member congregations.
Worship Arts Coordinator (GAWC) – The GAWC is hired by and works in collaboration with the Director of General Assembly and Conference Services to work directly with worship leaders by providing liturgical guidance, support and direction to worship services held during GA. Services include those sponsored by others—the Service of the Living Tradition [UUMA], Synergy [Lifespan Faith Engagement Office], and Sunday Morning [President] – as well as daily worship services. The GAWC, in collaboration with the Director of General Assembly and Conferences Services, and the Program Development Group will identify daily worship leaders for both in-person and/or on-demand services. The GAWC manages the budget for worship and celebration in collaboration with the Director of General Assembly and Conference Services.
GA Music Coordinator (GAMC) – The GAMC may be hired based on the recommendation of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), when available, or through direct hire based on skill and prior experience. The GAMC works in collaboration with worship leaders to determine music and talent for each worship service and General Sessions. The GAMC manages the Music budget in collaboration with the GAMC and Director of General Assembly and Conference Services. The GAMC also manages the following Music Ministry Team: GA Choir Director, GA Band Leader, and GA Accompanist – all are recommended by the AUUMM and all report to GAMC.
UUA Staff & Committees
UUA President – besides participating in General Assembly Mission of the Association Partnership (GAMAP), the President invites the speaker for the Ware Lecture.
General Assembly and Conference Services (GACS) Staff– professional staff that oversee marketing and the many logistics of a multi-platform experience, including registration, financial support, housing, exhibit hall, advertising and sponsorship, production and accessibility services, entertainment, and programming.
Organizing Strategy Team (OST)– plans and manages the GA Witness event; the Local Area Task Force, and Conference Services Director provide logistical support.
Commission on Social Witness (CSW)– five members: three elected and two appointed; discern and craft a vision for the Association on pressing social issues; responsible for both Congregational Study/Action Issues (CSAI) leading to Statements of Conscience (SOC) and Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW). The Commission on Social Witness moderates Mini-Assemblies (set-aside time for delegates to work on specified agenda items prior to those items coming up for a vote in General Sessions) for Proposed CSAIs, Proposed SOCs, and Proposed AIWs.
Lifespan Faith Engagement Office (LFE) – provides support for General Assembly Youth, organized by and for high-school-aged youth, offering business meetings and other events; also provides support for Young Adults at General Assembly (YA@GA).
Local Area Task Force (LATF)
If you are interested in joining the Pittsburgh-based local area/arrangements team, please email email@example.com to learn more.
- Local Area Coordinator – recruited by UUA staff, appointed by the General Assembly Advisory Council; meets with GAAC starting April, one year prior to GA in their city; serves as liaison for Local and National volunteer staff with General Assembly and Conference Services staff and Advisory Council; recruits other members of the Local Area Task Force.
- Atmosphere Coordinator – responsible for ambience, the banner parade, and evening events. May include recruiting other UUs to help with pre-GA tasks and banner hanging at GA.
- Information Services Coordinator – responsible for Greeter/Ask Me staff and the provision of information about local restaurants and events that would be of interest to GA participants.
- Social Justice Project Coordinator – responsible for selection process, working as liaison with local social justice organization, oversight of the complementary booth in Exhibit Hall, and the “ask” before the collection/offertory at Sunday service (includes video piece).
Selected by General Assembly and Conference Services staff. These individuals learn their jobs by shadowing and serve for several years at the request of the General Assembly and Conference Services staff /General Assembly Planning Committee.
- Accessibility Coordinator
- House Manager, manages ushers and front-of-house duties
- Administrative Assistant, manages the Volunteer Office
- Ex-officio Members – by virtue of their roles, these individuals also serve for multiple years at the request of General Assembly and Conference Services/General Assembly Advisory Council.
- Production Manager/Stage Manager, Plenary Hall Tech/Production Company Liaison
- Registration Coordinator (filled by UUA staff)
Care Team Volunteers
Accessibility Services (onsite and off-site)
Onsite: Provide information and assistance to individuals with mobility difficulties and those who request other services. Experience with providing services to persons with disabilities is desirable.
Off-site: Help registrants encountering accessibility problems with the GA Participation Portal and finding solutions to the problems. Volunteers will work closely with staff to fix issues that can be resolved. Must be comfortable talking on the phone.
Chaplain Team (onsite and off-site)
GA Chaplains manage and coordinate care for registered attendees experiencing spiritual or physical crisis during GA. Chaplains must be in final fellowship with the UUA MFC and a member in good standing with the UUMA (retired ministers are also encouraged to apply).
Covenant Team (onsite and off-site)
The Covenant Team assists registered attendees of virtual General Assembly who are in conflict and/or whose actions violate the GA covenant (which is accepted and agreed to by all attendees. Team members must have prior training and experience in conflict resolution.
Inclusivity Review (pre-GA)
Work closely with the Worship Arts Team to apply ARAOMC lens to General Assembly pre-recorded video, written materials, and musical content to implement the UUA's Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive, Multi-Cultural principles.
Safety Team (onsite)
The safety team will respond to and intervene in incidents of harm, attend to crises both medical and emotional and interact with outside agencies including the police towards the safety of convening participants.
Systemic Justice Team (off-site)
The GA Systemic Justice Team assists registered attendees from currently and/or historically marginalized communities in creating structural change by providing access and advocacy to challenge and change oppressive structures and/or systems. Team members must have a thorough comprehension of the issues of oppression experienced by various individuals and groups in our event community.
Consulting mental health professional (onsite)
Volunteer recruited by Local Arrangements Chair to provide back-up as needed to General Assembly and Conference Services staff, the General Assembly Advisory Council, and the Chaplains; complementary registration through the General Assembly Planning Committee budget.
Off-site Production Volunteers – off-site volunteers who apply and receive a team assignment and a virtual registration in exchange for approximately 20 hours of work during GA, at jobs like transcription and video editing, zoom or chat hosting.
Onsite Production Volunteers – onsite volunteers who apply and receive a team assignment receive a t-shirt and a full-time registration in exchange for approximately 20 hours of work during GA, at jobs like registration check-in, ushering, and "ask me" greeters.
Honeycomb Strategies – experts in environmental stewardship with extensive knowledge of environmentally responsible meeting practices; contracted by General Assembly and Conference Services to monitor sustainability practices.
Video West – audio-visual provider for the General Session Hall at General Assembly; contracted by General Assembly and Conference Services to ensure excellent production values.
Stetson Show Management – a full-service special event and trade show contractor building out the GA Exhibit Hall.
Child Care – a local agency provides children with a comfortable, safe, and happy experience while their parents attend professional meetings; contracted by General Assembly and Conference Services to provide child care for children who have not yet completed 5th grade.
Middle School Day Camp – UU Religious Educators and volunteers provide youngsters who have completed 5th through 8th grades with a faith-based curriculum and activities during GA.