News summary from the 2008 General Assembly

This week’s edition of includes a news story about General Assembly business, focusing especially on the passage of the so-called “Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution.” Be sure to check out the links in the story’s sidebar for lots of GA-related material.

More news coverage of the 2008 General Assembly

The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel focused on youth anti-racism workshops at the 2008 General Assembly, but mistakenly described the 3,000 GA-goers as “clergy”—including the teenagers interviewed for the piece. (“3,000 Unitarian Universalists gather for national assembly,” 6.29.08.) The Religion News Service focuses on resolutions passed by the General Assembly in support of gay marriage and immigrant […]

Clarification on ministerial fellowship bylaw change

The original headline of the General Assembly blog post about a bylaw change concerning the Ministerial Fellowship Committee—”Ministers can be terminated for incompetence”—imprecisely characterized an aspect of the new MFC rules. The rule change allows the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to terminate a minister’s fellowship with the Association—in effect, their accreditation—for incompetence, but the committee does […]

Another GA Comes to An End

A worship service closed out General Assembly tonight. The final service is always where we get to see the GA Choir, which has been practicing all week. It sang five numbers, including “Yonder Come Day,” based on a Georgia Sea Islands song. President Bill Sinkford and Moderator Gini Courter invited us in a sermonette to […]

Accountability established for Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Act

Three Responsive Resolutions, one in response to the Youth and Young Adult Empowerment Resolution, one advocating a consultation on ministry to young adults, and the third asking the UUA to leverage its power through socially responsible investing to achieve affordable health care for all, passed in the closing minutes of the 2008 General Assembly. Responsive […]

GA delegates endorse single-payer health care, other issues

GA delegates passed five Actions of Immediate Witness with little or no discussion in the sixth and final plenary session Sunday afternoon. One AIW, on ending present-day slavery in the fields, had passed at the morning plenary. According to the UUA bylaws, Actions of Immediate Witness are resolutions “concerned with a significant action, event, or […]

Minister’s fellowship can be terminated for incompetence

Two UUA bylaw changes were passed at this morning’s plenary, and one Action of Immediate witness statement was debated and passed. Controversy erupted over a proposed bylaw change allowing for the removal of a UU minister from fellowship* for incompetence. The sentence in question reads: “The fellowship of a minister may be terminated by the […]

Campaigning for president

At the 2009 GA in Salt Lake City delegates will elect a new UUA president and the Rev. William Sinkford will step down after eight years. The two announced candidates, the Rev. Laurel Hallman of First Unitarian in Dallas and the Rev. Peter Morales, of Jefferson Unitarian in Golden, Colorado, made several joint appearances this […]

Social activist inspires delegates

The Ware Lecture, the event at General Assembly that each year inspires delegates to go out and change the world, was given Saturday night by Van Jones, an activist who is working to combine solutions to America’s two biggest problems, social inequality and environmental destruction. Jones has been working to create a “green jobs corps” […]

Six Actions of Immediate Witness on Sunday’s agenda

All six of the proposed Actions of Immediate Witness were chosen to be placed on Sunday’s plenary agenda. They include: single-payer health care (universal health coverage); opposing a U.S. attack on Iran; ending present-day slavery in the fields; raising the federal minimum wage to $10 in 2010; extending the tax credit for wind and solar […]

Ethical eating is next Congregational Study/Action Issue

Ethical eating was chosen Saturday as the next Congregational Study/Action Issue, defeating nuclear disarmament by a large margin. The Rev. John Millspaugh, accompanied by members of the youth caucus, gave what may have been the most persuasive argument: “Eating is a delight for everyone, not just activists,” Millspaugh said. “UUs love to eat! It will […]

Immigration group is GA service project

Hispanic Unity of Florida was designated as this year’s GA service project. Hispanic Unity of Florida is a private nonprofit human services agency founded in 1982 that works to empower Hispanics and others in the community. During Saturday’s plenary, Josie Bacallard, one of the group’s leaders, described the organization, which serves recently arrived immigrants in […]

UUSC reports on partnerships, projects, relief funds

Dr. Charlie Clements, president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an independent human rights group, gave a report at Saturday’s plenary session on several of UUSC’s recent projects. UUSC has traditionally worked through partnerships with grassroots organizations (both domestic and international) serving the most marginalized in society. He described a recent effort in which UUSC […]

Board outlines its initiatives; Treasurer describes investing impact

Saturday’s four-and-a-half-hour-long morning plenary featured a variety of reports, including annual reports from the Board of Trustees, the Treasurer, and the Green Sanctuary program. Charlie King, Charlie Burke, the Rev. José Ballester, and Tamara Payne-Alex, the four at-large members of the UUA’s Board of Trustees, summarized four of the major issues facing the board. These […]

GA having a ‘green’ impact

This is the fourth GA since the UUA began making a concerted effort to make the annual gathering of congregational leaders “green.” From those first tentative efforts has grown a movement. Each year GA has been a little greener although each year it happens in different ways. The new thing this year is that we […]

Forrest Church honored with Distinguished Service award

“I am proud of this award, and don’t feel particularly sinful saying it,” said the Rev. Dr. Forrest Church, accepting the 2008 Annual Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism at the Saturday morning plenary. Church, who was senior minister at All Souls Church in New York City for more than 20 […]

Fewer at GA this year

General Assembly has a bit of a different feel to it this year here in Fort Lauderdale. For starters there are just under 3,000 people attending, about half the number who came to Portland a year ago. The decrease can be attributed to South Florida’s humidity, some anxiety about the need to pass through a […]

Youth and young adult empowerment resolution passes

Youth and young adults were jubilant after passage of the youth and young adult empowerment resolution at this morning’s plenary session. The resolution calls for congregational, financial, and spiritual support for youth and young adults. The vote was preceded by a heated debate in which numerous youth and young adults spoke to the importance of […]

Joy and sorrow at Service of the Living Tradition

Tonight was the Service of the Living Tradition, always a high point of General Assembly and an event which most people who come to GA attend. The worship service is the annual recognition of ministers who are beginning and ending their active ministries as well as a recognition of those ministers who have died within […]

President’s report focuses on year’s successes, future goals

In his address to the assembled throng at the 2008 General Assembly on Thursday, UUA President William G. Sinkford reiterated his commitment to develop and support UU ministers of color and to achieve an effective and comprehensive youth ministry. He also referenced the success of the UUA’s advertising campaign, an increase in the number of […]


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