Thousands of Unitarian Universalists Gather for General Assembly in Portland, OR, June 24-28
For more information, contact:
UUA's Public Relations Director
pr [at] uua [dot] org
Boston, MA—The 2015 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will be held June 24-28 in Portland, OR, at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97232).
More than 5,000 Unitarian Universalists from around the world will gather for five days of workshops, worship, and witness around the theme of “Building a New Way.”
GA is the annual meeting of the UUA and is held each June in a different UUA region. Major highlights of the gathering include:
- GA opens with a banner parade by our congregations.
- The Service of the Living Tradition with the Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK, delivering the sermon.
- Indigenous communities including Lummi and Chinook Nations will lead a worship ceremony and public witness event for climate justice.
- Cornel West, prominent and provocative intellectual, will deliver the Ware Lecture.
- Unitarian Universalists gather for their largest annual Sunday morning worship service.
GA programming includes workshops on climate justice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the development of multicultural and multigenerational congregations. Detailed information on selected highlighted events:
Thursday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Service of the Living Tradition
Open to the Public
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. Marlin Lavanhar, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK.
Lavanhar grew up in Chicago. In 1990, he received a B.A. in Sociology from Tulane University. Upon graduation, he spent two years in Kyoto, Japan, after which he embarked on a three-year odyssey travelling 20,000 miles around the world on a mountain bike. He returned to the U.S. and entered Harvard Divinity School where he received his M.Div. Since 2000, Marlin has served All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa as their senior minister where, during his tenure, membership has increased by 80%.
Saturday, June 27, 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Worship Ceremony and Public Witness Event
Open to the Public
Thousands of Unitarian Universalists will join Lummi and Chinook leaders in a spiritual ceremony to call attention to the struggles of First Nation communities to protect their homes against climate change and environmental destruction.
SSA Marine has proposed the Gateway Pacific Terminal, the largest coal terminal in North America, for Puget Sound’s Cherry Point. This development would desecrate Lummi Nation’s sacred lands and water. This public witness event is part of the fight against SSA Marine and the proposed terminal.
Unitarian Universalists are deeply committed to creating a sustainable future for all. In the fall of 2014, the UUA and partner organizations launched Commit2Respond, a coalition effort working for climate justice.
Unitarian Universalists will be invited to take action on climate justice in their own communities following the event.
- Peter Morales, president of the UUA
- Jay Julius, Lummi Nation Councilman and treaty rights activist
- Jewell Praying Wolf James, Lummi Nation Elder, international climate justice activist, treaty rights scholar, and totem pole carver
Music will be provided by singer, songwriter, and activist Dana Lyons.
Saturday, June 27, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Ware Lecture delivered by Cornel West
Cornel West is a prominent and provocative intellectual and author. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D in philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary (where he has recently returned to teach), Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Paris. He has written nineteen books and edited thirteen books. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, published by Beacon Press in 1993. His latest books are Black Prophetic Fire and The Radical King, also published by Beacon Press. He has recently been deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter protests and was among those arrested in Ferguson in 2015.
Sunday, June 28, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship
Open to the Public
Thousands will gather for the largest annual UU worship service featuring a 180–voice choir. The sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Alison Miller, minister of Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, NJ. Music will be directed by Bertram Gulhaugen of West Side UU Congregation, Seattle, WA.
A complete list of General Assembly events and presentations are listed in the online program.
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 Saturday evening public witness event, the Sunday morning worship, and the Exhibit Hall on Sunday only.
Members of the press are invited and encouraged to cover any and all events live. Press badges will be available for credentialed, professional journalists and camera/audio crew members beginning Wednesday, June 25. Please contact Jill Goddard, Public Relations Director, as soon as possible to request credentials.
The UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance, and social justice.
Photos available upon request.
Follow the UUA’s General Assembly on Twitter using #uuaga.