Unitarian Universalists Take Annual Conference Online, Expanding Access and Ensuring Health and Safety

Boston, MA — The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is changing its annual General Assembly (GA) conference to an all-online event to expand access and ensure the health and safety of all participants given the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UUA holds GA annually to support the spiritual connection and the democratic governance of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith movement. It is a time of celebratory reunion, participatory governance, and leadership development. GA 2020 was to be held in Providence, RI, at the Rhode Island Convention Center. In response to federal guidelines mandating widespread social distancing to minimize spread of COVID-19, the UUA will transform the conference into a 100% virtual event.

“The UUA made this difficult decision after engaging in a thorough process of risk assessment, weighing various options and negotiating with the local businesses where we had contracts,” said UUA President the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. “In making this change, we hope to model the flexibility, creativity, and emphasis on community care that we are asking our congregations to embody in this time.”

The UUA has offered virtual attendance at GA for many years. This year, the UUA will scale technology to accommodate a more global audience, with pre-recorded segments and less emphasis on live participation. UUs are committed to inclusion and environmental sustainability. Virtual GA represents an important opportunity to live out those values by lowering the cost for conference attendance and eliminating most conference-related travel. The UUA is excited that this change will allow for the highest participation ever at GA—expanding access to governance and spiritual connection to more people than ever before.

The UUA is a religious association of congregations established in 1961 via the consolidation of the Universalist Church of America (organized in 1793) and the American Unitarian Association (organized in 1825). With the membership of more than 1,000 independently governed congregations in the United States, Canada, and overseas, the UUA helps UU congregations thrive and promotes the values of Unitarian Universalism.