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Commission on Social Witness

Vision

The Commission on Social Witness envisions a faith that engages in multigenerational, multicultural, accessible, social witness that is in relationship with what is emerging in social justice movements within and beyond the UU faith tradition, enabling us to live into discomfort and to adapt into a healing, transformative reality. As we work toward this vision, we do so in accountable relationships that seek equitable empowerment with people and groups most impacted by oppression, hate, and violence. Rooted in love and seeking to adapt to congregational needs in a changing world, the Commission is re-imagining transformative ways to empower both the social witness action of congregations and the collective will of the association. We welcome Unitarian Universalists everywhere to join us on this journey toward transformative social witness. Toward this, in the weeks that follow, this website will unfold the groundbreaking and inspiring work of congregational social witness within our association, in addition to providing additional resources for current statements and issues.

History

The 1984 General Assembly in Columbus, OH, established the Commission on General Resolutions. The 1996 General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN, changed the name to the Commission on Social Witness and approved other terminology and process.

Members

The Commission on Social Witness (CSW) is made up of five members, three elected by the General Assembly and two appointed by the Board of Trustees, for a term of four years. The current commissioners are:

  • Ms. Jyaphia Christos-Rodgers, term expires 2023
  • Rev. Dr. Meredith Garmon, term expires 2021
  • Ms. Alison Aguilar Lopez Gutierrez McLeod, term expires 2022
  • Rev. Jessica Star Rockers, term expires 2022
  • Rev. Dr. Pippin Whitaker, Chair, term expires 2023

Covenant

This covenant for the CSW was affirmed Aug. 7, 2018:

As we endeavor to do the best possible work on behalf of Unitarian Universalist congregations and the UUA principles they have affirmed, we covenant to be in right relationship with one another by:

  • finding the holy within each of us;
  • listening to understand; acknowledging and articulating discomfort when it arises;
  • being honest and open about our personal biases;
  • respecting the contributions and circumstances of one another;
  • trusting one another’s good intentions and commitment to our work;
  • affirming different learning and working styles; and
  • grounding our relationships and work in the practices of anti-racism and anti- oppression.

We covenant to hold ourselves and one another accountable by referring to these commitments during process observations at the end of each convening.

Current Focus Priorities/Actions of the Commission

Are you wondering what priorities and actions the commission is currently working on? A major focus of this year is inner and relational work to help transform the way we operate in order to embody our highest UU ideals for the times we live in. This year, we are engaged in relationship-building and listening to varied voices, as well as a few experiments to explore new ways of functioning. The highlights below provide some context on our current work. Please feel free to reach out to us at socialwitness@uua.org any time to get engaged.

  • Listening to UU groups and individuals who are actively engaged in social witness and action, along with other stakeholders, in order to discover ways we as a commission can better facilitate the process of collective social witness for the association.
  • Showing up as we are able and aware in order to celebrate and amplify your acts of social witness. If you or your congregation/group are involved in social witness action and would appreciate our presence, we would love to connect with you (please email socialwitness@uua.org).
  • Organizing a late-winter/early spring convening on implementation of the most recent AIWs, most recent SOC, and current draft SOC. Stay tuned for details as we pin down a date (to stay in the loop, sign up for our list serve here! https://lists.uua.org/mailman/listinfo/csw-l/)
  • Building relationships across the association, including under-nourished relationships with BIPOC and historically marginalized groups, to further empower our process of collective social witness.
  • Planning and eagerly looking forward to General Assembly 2021 when we will share all that we are learning and how we may envision our future. Not attending GA 2021? No problem, we will report out after GA as well via the website and listserve.

Bylaws & Minutes

Unitarian Universalist Association Bylaws under which the Commission on Social Witness operates:

  • Section 5.10 Commission on Social Witness
  • Section 4.11. Tentative Agenda for Regular General Assemblies
  • Section 4.12. UUA Statements of Conscience
  • Section 4.13. Revision of UUA Statements of Conscience Process Schedule
  • Section 4.14. Final Agenda for Regular General Assemblies
  • Section 4.15. Agenda for Special General Assemblies
  • Section 4.16. Additions to the Agenda of Regular General Assemblies
  • RULE IV—General Assembly

Available minutes from prior meetings.