GA Thursday: Mini-assemblies, workshops, honoring clergy
On Thursday, the first full day of the 2011 General Assembly, delegates worked in mini-assemblies to refine the business on the plenary agenda. The first day was also the most heavily programmed day, with workshops from 9:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. The annual Service of the Living Tradition, which honors religious professionals, concluded the day. Here’s a quick guide to UU World’s coverage of Thursday’s events.
One mini-assembly reviewed proposed changes to Article XV of the UUA bylaws, which governs the process of amending the UUA’s Principles and Purposes. The same mini-assembly also considered an amendment that would clarify the process for removing a credentialed religious educator’s “credentialed” status. And it discussed a series of housekeeping amendments that would correct outdated references to categories of ministerial fellowship, staff groups, and district names.
Other mini-assemblies discussed the Board of Trustees’ proposal to shrink its size from 26 to 14 trustees, refined the draft Statement of Conscience “Ethical Eating” (which the full Assembly adopted Friday morning), and reviewed proposals to authorize offsite voting at GA and expand the definition of “congregation” in the UUA bylaws. The final mini-assembly of the day focused on two business resolutions related to the future of Actions of Immediate Witness, which the Board of Trustees is seeking to remove from the agenda for next year’s “Justice GA” in Phoenix; our report on changes to those resolutions is forthcoming.
Planners working on next summer’s immigration justice-focused General Assembly in Phoenix, Ariz., responded to UUs’ concerns and described their vision for the “Justice GA.” Antiracism activist-writer Tim Wise delivered an “impassioned, rapid-fire, and often hilarious speech” about the struggle for racial justice.
Tandi Rogers and the Rev. Howard Dana promoted UU evangelism. Other ministers urged UUs to ask the theological question, “Whose are you?” The Rev. Phil Lund and the Rev. Sue Sinnamon explored the Faith Formation 2020 initiative, which is designed to help churches respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing society.
The Rev. Michael Schuler offered an appraisal of ministerial authority in his sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition. Our congregations and their ordained leaders “are not yet doing our best work together. We have to come to terms with these authority issues.”
Peter Bowden is filing video reports for UU World. His Thursday videos offered a brief introduction to GA, chatted with two young adult leaders about next summer’s “Justice GA” in Phoenix, interviewed a GA volunteer, and asked “What’s with all the ribbons?”
The UUA website, meanwhile, offers on-demand video of plenaries and major events, as well as scripts, transcripts, and workshop materials from other events.