General Assembly (Unitarian Universalist Association)
General Assembly (GA) is an annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is held in June, in a different city in the United States every year. The last GA held outside the United States was in Quebec in 2002, after which congregations belonging to the Canadian Unitarian Council separated from the UUA. Member congregations (and three associate member organizations) send delegates and conventioneers to participate in the plenary sessions, workshops, regional gatherings, public witness events, and worship services. In recent years, attendance at each General Assembly has reached over 5,500.
The General Assembly opens with a parade of banners borne by members of and representing member churches. Plenary Sessions at General Assembly consist of discussing and voting on Study Action Issues and Statements of Conscience; elections for Board of Trustees, officer and committee positions; and reports from the President, Moderator and other leaders of the UUA. A Synergy Bridging ceremony is held to congratulate graduates of individual churches' Religious Education programs.
In addition, the event is keynoted by the Ware Lectures, which are offered by individuals selected by the GA Planning Committee; they have been held since 1922 by the preceding American Unitarian Association in honor of Harriet E. Ware, who bequeathed $5,000 to the AUA. The 2013 Ware Lecturer was Eboo Patel.
Social Justice and Witness statements
Delegates of the General Assembly often passes a number of statements and guidances for social justice issues. Statements vary upon the description of weight for each statement:
- Statement of Conscience (SoC): An SoC is a statement which has been ratified by the General Assembly after three years of study and reflection (during which it remains in the stage of a Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI), with a fourth year dedicated to implementation. SoCs hold the weight of endorsement from the UUA at large.
- Action of Immediate Witness (AIW): An AIW is a statement which only holds the weight of endorsement by delegates for a single GA iteration.
Actions taken at GA meetings have included the 1984 decision to approve religious blessing of same-sex marriages, making the UUA the first major church to have done so.
At the 2007 General Assembly the Unitarian Universalist Association announced the new five year Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign entitled: "Now Is The Time: a Campaign to Grow Our Faith". The campaign funds will support programs that will encourage growth of Unitarian Universalism as a whole. These programs fall under the following categories: Growing Our Numbers, Growing Our Diversity, Growing Our Witness, Growing Our Leadership, and Growing Our Spirit.
|May 16-22, 1966||Hollywood, Florida||"Creative Use of Controversy"||Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|May 1-6, 1967||Denver, Colorado||"Responding to a Revolutionary Age"||Saul Alinsky|
|May 23-30, 1968||Cleveland, Ohio||"Determining Our Priorities"||Carl B. Stokes|
|Jul 11-20, 1969||Boston, Massachusetts||"Encounter with Change"||Martin E. Marty,
|June 29-July 4, 1970||Seattle, Washington||"Dynamics of Diversity"||Rollo May|
|June 25-30, 1979||East Lansing, Michigan||"A Time to Grow...To Everything There is a Season"||Jesse Jackson|
|June 13-18, 1980||Albuquerque, New Mexico||"Touching Our Heritage...Enriching Our Tomorrows"||LaDonna Harris|
|June 12-18, 1981||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||"An Urban Experience"||Vernon Jordan|
|June 21-26, 1982||Brunswick, Maine||"Coming of Age"||May Sarton|
|June 12-17, 1983||Vancouver, British Columbia||"L'Assemblee Generale"||Thomas R. Berger|
|June 25-30, 1984||Columbus, Ohio||"Being Human in an Age of Technology"||Helen Caldicott|
|June 17–22, 1985||Atlanta, Georgia||"Like the Phoenix Rising"||Shirley Chisholm|
|June 22–27, 1986||Rochester, New York||"Take Up the Song"||Kurt Vonnegut|
|June 22–27, 1987||Little Rock, Arkansas||"Faith of the Free"||Anthony Lewis|
|June 16–21, 1988||Palm Springs, California||"Touch the Earth... Reach the Sky"||Robert Coles|
|June 22–27, 1989||New Haven, Connecticut||"Bend Toward Justice"||Sissela Bok|
|June 21–26, 1990||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||"Sound the Chorus of Faith"||Schuyler Chapin|
|June 10–25, 1991||Hollywood, Florida||"Speak to the Earth and It Shall Teach Thee"||Elizabeth Dodson Gray|
|June 25–30, 1992||Calgary, Alberta||"Building the Global Village"||Mel Hurtig|
|June 24–29, 1993||Charlotte, North Carolina||"Universalism: For Such a Time as This"||Marian Wright Edelman|
|June 23–28, 1994||Fort Worth, Texas||"Facing Our New Frontiers"||Holland Hendrix|
|June 15–20, 1995||Spokane, Washington||"Building Our Future Generation by Generation"||Norman Lear|
|June 20–25, 1996||Indianapolis, Indiana||"The Future is Now"||Sylvia Ann Hewlett|
|June 19–24, 1997||Phoenix, Arizona||"Building Interfaith Cooperation: Interfaith Action for a Just Community"||Joan Brown Campbell|
|June 25–30, 1998||Rochester, New York||"Fulfilling the Promise"||Amitai Etzioni|
|June 24–28, 1999||Salt Lake City, Utah||"Fulfilling the Promise: To Help One Another"||Mary Pipher|
|June 22–26, 2000||Nashville, Tennessee||"Fulfilling the Promise: Our Common Call"||Morris Dees|
|June 21–25, 2001||Cleveland, Ohio||"Fulfilling the Promise"||James A. Forbes|
|June 20–24, 2002||Quebec City, Quebec||N/A||Stephen Lewis|
|June 26–30, 2003||Boston, Massachusetts||N/A||Julian Bond|
|June 24–27, 2004||Long Beach, California||N/A||Holly Near|
|June 23–27, 2005||Fort Worth, Texas||"Ministering to Families in Today's World"||Elaine Pagels|
|June 21–25, 2006||St. Louis, Missouri||"Toward Right Relations"||Mary Oliver|
|June 20–24, 2007||Portland, Oregon||"Choices That Matter"||Rashid Khalidi|
|June 25–29, 2008||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||"Common Threads"||Van Jones|
|June 24–28, 2009||Salt Lake City, Utah||Melissa Harris-Lacewell|
|June 23–27, 2010||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Winona LaDuke|
|June 22–26, 2011||Charlotte, North Carolina||Karen Armstrong|
|June 20–24, 2012||Phoenix, Arizona||"Justice GA"||Maria Hinojosa|
|June 19–23, 2013||Louisville, Kentucky||"From Promise to Commitment"||Eboo Patel|
|June 25–29, 2014||Providence, Rhode Island||Love Reaches Out||Simone Campbell|
|June 24–28, 2015||Portland, Oregon||Building a New Way||Cornel West|
|June 22-26, 2016||Columbus, Ohio||Heart Land: Where Faiths Connect||Krista Tippett|
|June 21-25, 2017*||New Orleans, Louisiana||TBD||Bryan Stevenson|
|June 20-24, 2018*||Kansas City, Missouri||TBD||TBD|
|June 19-23, 2019*||Spokane, Washington||TBD||TBD|
*Future General Assemblies