Thousands of Unitarian Universalists Gather for General Assembly in Columbus, OH
Boston, MA—The 2016 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will be held June 22-26 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center (400 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215).
More than 3,500 Unitarian Universalists from around the world will gather for five days of workshops, worship, and witness around the theme of “Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect.”
GA is the annual meeting of the UUA and is held each June in a different UUA region. Major highlights of the gathering include:
- An opening celebration and banner parade by our congregations.
- An interfaith rally for racial justice on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse featuring speakers Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, Alicia Garza, and more.
- The Service of the Living Tradition with the Rev. Dr. William Sinkford, former UUA president and current senior minister of First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR.
- Krista Tippett, author, journalist, and radio host of On Being, will deliver the Ware Lecture.
- Unitarian Universalists gather for their largest annual Sunday morning worship service.
(Detailed information on highlighted events including times and locations can be found below.)
GA programming includes workshops on the Black Lives Matter movement, multifaith collaboration, and reproductive justice featuring Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with UUA presidential candidates. The UUA presidential election will be held at the 2017 General Assembly in New Orleans, LA.
Delegates will vote on two business resolutions: Thanksgiving Day Reconsidered (PDF) and Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Violation of Palestinian Rights (PDF).
Details on highlighted events:
Welcome and Opening Celebration, Wednesday, June 22, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
General Assembly kicks off with a lively celebration of music, song, and the procession of banners from hundreds of UU congregations (great opportunity for visual content).
State of Emergence: Interfaith Rally for Racial Justice, Thursday, June 23, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thousands of Unitarian Universalists, in collaboration with the Ohio Student Association, the People’s Justice Project, UU Justice Ohio and our interfaith partners, will hold a rally for racial justice on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse.
A mass movement for black lives continues to grow in Ohio and across the United States. UU congregations have been participating in local actions as well as displaying Black Lives Matter banners in support of the movement. Many of those banners have been vandalized or destroyed. Local organizers have been fighting for criminal justice reform, raising the minimum wage, and defending voting rights.
With racist rhetoric and personal attacks in this year’s electoral cycle, it is more important than ever for interfaith communities and local partners to speak up, come together, and shift the dialogue back to real issues affecting people.
This event will highlight Unitarian Universalists’ and local and interfaith partners’ commitment to working for racial justice and equity.
- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, leader of the Moral Mondays, Forward Together, and NAACP NC
- Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement
- Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA
- Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ
- Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism
- Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America
The emcee will be Monica Raye Simpson, executive director of SisterSong. Music will be provided by Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost.
Service of the Living Tradition, Thursday, June 23, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Service of the Living Tradition honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders, remembers those who have died, recognizes those who have completed active service, and welcomes those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. The sermon for this service will be delivered by the Rev. Dr. Bill Sinkford, former UUA president and current senior minister of First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR.
Ware Lecture delivered by Krista Tippett, Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Krista Tippett is an author, journalist, and radio host of On Being. In 2014, Tippett received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence." The show she created, initially called Speaking of Faith and later renamed On Being is now heard on over 330 public radio stations and downloaded by millions as a podcast. From physics to parenting, from civil society to aging, from yoga to neuroscience, and from the environment to the economy, Krista and her guests trace the ancient, animating questions of human existence.
Sunday Morning Worship, Sunday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Thousands will gather for the largest annual UU worship service. The sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd, senior minister of River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD. Music will be directed by Dr. Glen Thomas of First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, MI.
A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations are listed in the online program (PDF).
All participants in General Assembly program events must be registered for the conference. The only General Assembly program events that will be open to the public (registration not required) are the Service of the Living Tradition, the Thursday interfaith rally for racial justice, the Sunday morning worship, and the Exhibit Hall on Sunday only.
Follow the UUA’s General Assembly on Twitter using #UUAGA. Photos available upon request.