Over 4,200 Unitarian Universalists gather virtually for the 2021 General Assembly
General Assembly Business
In the only race contested at the 2021 GA, Reverend Sam Trumbore was elected to the # 8 position of the UUA Board of Directors (3-year term). Trumbore, who was nominated by the UUA nominating committee, received 1,922 votes, 87.4 percent of the total vote, while Jay Kiskel, who ran by petition, received 278 votes, 12.6 percent of the total.
Other elected in uncontested races were Reverend Elizabeth Mount and JeKaren Olaoya to the Board of Directors (3 year terms); Adrian Graham on the Evaluation Commission (6-year term); Lucia Santini-Field for financial advisor (1 year term); Chelsea Surfus on the GA planning committee (4-year term); and Tim Atkins, Reverend Danielle Di Bona and Cristy Cardinal on the nominating committee (terms of 2, 1 and 3 years, respectively).
On Saturday, delegates voted to adopt the three actions of immediate witness under consideration: “Stop the suppression of voters and partner for the right to vote and a multiracial democracy“;”Defend and advocate with transgender, non-binary and intersex communities“; and”The COVID-19 pandemic: justice, healing, courage. “
A suitable resolution called on the AU Article II Commission and Board to “ensure that the proposed changes to Article II include in the principles a clear and direct statement that anti-racist actions and systemic anti-oppressives responsible for building the beloved community are part of what it means to be unitary universalist. He passed with 91 percent in favor.
A responsive second resolution called for the AUU Common Endowment Fund to divest from fossil fuels, pipelines and the institutions that invest in them, and called for young adults to be involved in related discussions. He passed with 80 percent in favor.
At Sunday’s general session, delegates overwhelmingly supported the adoption of a UUA declaration of conscience affirming the UU’s commitment to defeat systemic white supremacy. Statements of Conscience are developed from a four-year engagement process with Study questions / congregational action (CSAI) and the congregation’s feedback on them. The 2018-2021 CSAI, passed by the 2018 General Assembly in Kansas City, Missouri, was “Cancel Systemic White Supremacy.”
Previously, the Commission for Social Witness conducted a survey understand what congregations and groups are already doing to implement the spirit of the Declaration of Conscience project. Of the 373 respondents, 221 said they had done some form of advocacy, for example, promoting laws or policy change; 355 engaged in education within their congregation or group; 110 engaged in education for the community at large; 94 were incubating new ways of doing things through pilot projects; and 121 amplified or announced broader anti-oppression actions.
Throughout the GA, AUU leadership and others stressed the importance of engaging with the recommendations of the Commission on Institutional Change report, Expand the circle of concerns on dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism.
Also throughout the GA, the Article II Study Commission engaged the constituents in its review of Article II of the UUA statutes, principles and objectives, the foundation for all work of the AU, through workshops and virtual exhibits and a presentation and discussion during the session general.
In other business, delegates voted on six proposed changes to the statutes:
On Friday, delegates adopted Amendment 1, requested by the Commission for Social Witness, which will allow Immediate witness actions to be submitted through the AUU website and through AUU communications, rather than in person to the GA.
Saturday they adopted Amendment 5, which will allow delegates and administrators to register, speak and vote at the GA without necessarily having to pay a registration fee. This allows UUA to change the registration structure for GA delegates and business sessions as it considers different approaches to the GA in the coming years. Once adopted, the board of directors will now adopt a rule defining how the conditions of registration for the GA and the participation of delegates will be defined.
Amendment 6, which was also passed, was requested by the Religious Education Accreditation Committee and will create more flexibility in terms and levels of religious education accreditation by removing references to current accreditation levels.
Delegates voted in favor of adopting two of the three proposed amendments to the UUA election statutes. Amendment 2 adjusts deadlines and modernizes language to shorten election campaigns for the moderator and president of the AUU and better reflect campaign realities. And Amendment 4 allow a newly elected UUA president to take office for up to 45 days after his election, rather than immediately after the election. This time can be used to allow the president-elect to rest after a campaign, to relocate his household, to say goodbye to his congregation or employer, or to make the first decisions regarding their administration at the AUU. The board will adopt a rule defining how the board will set the start date in conjunction with the president-elect.
Offers Amendment 3, which was not passed, reportedly updated the language to allow the Presidential Search Committee to nominate a single candidate for the AU presidency rather than multiple candidates.