Faithfully Becoming: GA Reflections

Last week, I had the immense privilege of gathering with a couple of thousand other UUs in Pittsburgh and online for our 62nd annual General Assembly (GA). This all-in-one conference included professional networking opportunities, celebratory worship, important business meetings, lectures, and workshops. Each year I attend GA, I experience it as a place for Unitarian Universalists to re-center their attention on the wider faith community and connect across the vast diversity within our larger community. This year in particular, with the theme Faithfully Becoming, we asked a lot of questions about our future as a denomination; who we are, where we are going and situating ourselves in a unique time in human history.

More so than ever before, I am departing GA with a strengthened faith. By faith, I mean a deep, soul-level conviction that Unitarian Universalism has a saving message to share. It is a message that we are all held in a greater love, and we have the power, as individuals of many kinds, with many beliefs and identities, to share ourselves and be a force for good in the world. Freed from creedalism, and instead holding the commitments we make to one another as our highest purpose, we can care for one another and hold strong against systems of oppression that seek to isolate us.

As a faith, we are in a time of change, with all the challenges and opportunities that accompany change. One of the major debates this year was around the UUA’s Common Endowment Fund’s full divestment from the fossil fuel industry, something past General Assemblies have committed to, but that our youth and young adults are urging us to act more quickly upon. Ultimately, the particular Business Resolution put forth on divestment was voted down, but the newly elected UUA president and board members promised to prioritize, strategically working to more fully divest from these harmful companies and work toward reparations. This is one area where I leave with an unsteady hope, because the path forward is far from clear, but I sense that our wider community is committed to working on this issue together.

In the coming months, watch for other opportunities to learn more about this denominational gathering, and the work of transformation at the national gathering. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights for a couple of our Westside delegates:

“I’m just starting to explore the many GA workshops, but the two I’ve watched: Trauma Ministry & Resource Toolbox, and Conflict Resolution through Restorative Justice Circles – An Example, brilliantly apply to our work at Westside!” – Cynthia Townsend

“I love that at every GA there are so many great workshops and opportunities for me to learn, and I’m thrilled that we just elected our first out queer and our first woman of color President of the Unitarian Universalist Association at this year’s GA!” – Leilani Davenberry

The Installation Ceremony for Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt as the new UUA President.

You can read more about this year’s General Assembly at The UU World and Religion News Service.

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