What is GA and why attend? Notes from Rev. Barbara Coeyman

Perhaps the single most important national activity for Unitarian Universalists is the annual General Assembly (GA).

GA 2023 is coming up soon: June 21 to 25 in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s not too late for any and all in this congregation to register, for either in-person or online participation, and also to register as one of UUFD’s three credentialed delegates. (As of this writing, there is no delegate representation from UUFD other than my vote as resident minister. UUFD’s three faith formation staff members — Sharon, Harrison, and Nikki — will also attend GA, but cannot serve as delegates because, as staff, they do not hold membership in UUFD.)

Perhaps a brief review of some of the varied activities at GA can persuade some readers of this newsletter to register for the Assembly coming up in a few weeks.

Coming Together in Community: GA kicks off Wednesday evening, June 21, with the Banner Parade, a gala event which embodies the community-building and networking which abounds during GA. For official delegates, community-building continues during the five General Sessions, led by the UUA co-moderators to conduct official business of the Association. This year there are several important items on the national ballot, including the election of a new UUA President, and acceptance of the proposed “Article II,” a revision of the core UUA values statement. UU networking continues in several late-evening dance parties, as well as during a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game on Tuesday evening before the official opening the next day.

Program Sessions: GA also offers a wide range of informational programming: you are sure to find presentations on just about any area of UUFD’s shared ministries which you are involved in, such as building diverse multi-generational inclusive communities; expanding stewardship; developing Faith Formation for all ages; attending workshops on successful ministerial search; and much more. Also available for any registrant are nearly sixty On-Demand hour-long programs, which are already available for viewing at your convenience, through the end of GA.

Worship Services: GA includes worship services: several thousand Unitarian Universalists worshipping together is quite an experience! On Thursday evening we celebrate the Service of the Living Tradition, honoring credentialed religious leaders and recognizing the passing of departed colleagues. (I’ll be in the alto section of the ministers’ choir for this service). Friday evening is the Synergy Bridging Service: worship which recognizes the rite of passage of UU youth to young adults. Sunday morning worship on June 25 will be available to congregations: stay tuned for details in e-announcements about how and when UUFD will broadcast this service.

Featured Speakers: GA also features several distinguished speakers. This year, the long-lived Ware Lecture will be delivered by Imani Perry, professor of African American Studies and author of seven books, including South to America, named as one of President Obama’s favorite books in 2022. Previous Ware lecturers across the hundred-year history of the event have included Martin Luther King, Cornel West, and Mary Oliver.

Exhibit Hall and Marketplace: The GA marketplace includes dozens of booths, a chance for everyone who attends GA — in person and by mail-order — to stock up on UUA books, teaching and worship materials, information about UU organizations, UU jewelry and clothing, and much more. My contribution in the Exhibit Hall will be volunteering at the booth for the new “UU Studies Network.” (See me for more about this new group.)

Friends it’s not too late to register for General Assembly 2023, especially for online participation. For more information, go to https://www.uua.org/ga/registration. I am available to mentor anyone on what to expect during this four-day Assembly. For UUFD members for whom financial assistance would make your attendance possible, please contact me at intmin@durangouu.org.