You are invited to gather to remember the extraordinary Wendi Winters. We invite all who knew her, especially youth, young adults, youth advisors, religious professionals from the Joseph Priestley District. Wendi attended more than 50 youth cons beginning in 2003 with her own children and staying on out of her dedication to Unitarian Universalist youth. We will gather to be together, in silence, meditation, and sharing. If you have an image of Wendi you’d like to submit for a montage, please email it to [email protected] before 4pm eastern 7/1/18. There will be a minister present from the UU Trauma Response team for personal support for anyone who needs it.
If you have a chalice or candle, please have it with you to light.
Whew! We’re recovering from a long week at General Assembly in Kansas City, MO. As this publishes, many of your CER staff are traveling home from Missouri and wading back through our email inboxes. We’ll be back in our offices and caught up by next week.
One of the highlights of the week was the Ware Lecture by Brittney Packnett. So we’ve provided the video here for those who might have missed it.
For all the highlights, news stories – like what happened when Westboro Baptist protested us again – and more, check the UU World’s GA page. They have covered General Assembly in great detail once again.
If you missed something, or want to revisit something much of General Assembly is online. Additional resources, such as the amended texts of the Actions of Immediate Witness and the accepted Congregational Study Action Issue will be published to the UUA website in the coming weeks.
Everything that was streamed live is now available on the UUA website. Here you can watch the Opening Ceremonies and Banner Parade, all the business sessions, the Ware Lecture, the Service of the Living Tradition, Sunday Morning Worship and the Closing Ceremonies. If you visit the UUA’s YouTube Channel you can also find the individual reports that were given during the different business sessions.
The UUA is in discernment about how to conduct business at General Assembly and we had a time of discussion in smaller groups around four main questions:
What is essential to you about being a Unitarian Universalist?
What do our purposes and principles capture well that is essential to who we are and what we must do as Unitarian Universalists? What do they leave out?
How could our mission, purposes, principles and bylaws more accurately convey our vision of a future for our faith that compels us to act on our deep commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression?
In what specific ways are we asked to transform lives, communities and the world in these times? How does our shared life in our congregations and covenanted communities prepare us to do this?
The report back to the full group can be found in this video clip. Additional details and information will be sent out to the delegates after there is more time to analyze the answers. The delegates were asked to bring these questions home to their congregations. How might you answer them? Might your congregation discuss these questions? How would the congregation answer them?
May we continue to work together to strengthen our faith
Beth Casebolt, CER Operations Manager and Communications Consultant
If you are unable to attend General Assembly, the UUA’s annual business meeting in Kansas City this year, you have other options to participate, including being a delegate. It’s not too late to decide to do any of these options!
If you are a delegate for congregation and can’t attend in person, you can fully participate in all business meetings including mini-assemblies for General Assembly. Your congregation is still represented and you can help with the decision making process of the association. Others who are not delegate can also register to participate as registered attendees. This allows you to participate and view a select set of workshops in addition to all the public events. You can see the full list of workshops that will be live-streamed on the GA Live-cast Workshops webpage.
Not able to participate as a registered attendee or delegate but still want to participate when you can? Much of GA is live-streamed including all the general (business) sessions, worship services and many of our celebrations. The full list includes the Ware Lecture with Brittany Packnett and Sunday Morning Worship with Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. See everything that is being live-streamed on the GA 2018 Online webpage.
We encourage congregations to consider live-streaming some of the bigger events for their congregants. If your congregation is interested in doing this please check the UUA’s Projecting GA Video at an Event guidelines to help you get it all set up. Some events to consider are the Sunday Morning Worship, which will be Sunday at 9 am Central, 10 am Eastern and the Ware Lecture on Saturday at 7:30 pm Central, 8:30 pm Eastern (when looking at the GA listing of events, do note that all times are Central Time Zone). If your congregation’s minister, religious educator or musician is being recognized in the Service of the Living Tradition, you may want to celebrate with them on Thursday at 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern. If you have a youth who is bridging to young adulthood, the Synergy Bridging Service is Friday at 4pm Central, 5 pm Eastern. We are the only denomination that recognizes its youth as they bridge at our national meeting, so this is very special event. The opening and closing ceremonies are also streamed.
This year’s public witness event is available to off-site folks as well. You can view the live-stream of the “Anatomy of a Bailout” Panel Discussion on Thursday and you can help with the on-site project by purchasing items from the Amazon wish list (not many are left, thanks to all of those who already participated!) and shipping them to the nearby congregation.
Did your congregation do something different? Host a watching party? Team up with the rest of your cluster to have your delegates participate together? Let us know! We’re interested in unique ways to participate in GA from off-site.
Summer is a glorious season. Traditionally it’s sold as a leisure time, a time to relax, enjoy yourself, get outdoors and have some fun. But anyone who has ever had children in or around their lives knows summer can actually be even more work – scheduling, planning, coordinating and entertaining – than the rest of the year. And whether because of travel or change in routine or just wanting to enjoy some extra lazing hours on cool Sunday mornings, many of us find our church attendance slipping during the summer months. But the beautiful part about beloved community is it calls us to practice our values beyond the limitations of Sunday mornings in the sanctuary. When I reflect on what keeps me coming back to my congregation in the fall, ready to re-commit, pouring our sacred water in covenant, I think about the relationships I’ve formed there. These bonds have not only expanded my own world, they’ve tied me to the congregation as a whole.
If “othering” or seeing persons or groups of people as somehow “different” or not “fitting in” is one of the stumbling blocks of beloved community then relationship is the jackhammer that breaks it down. I see this happen all the time in youth communities like Goldmine and Midwest Leadership Schools. We take teenagers from many different backgrounds with many different personalities and ways of being in the world and ask them to basically live and learn together for a week. During our time together we build covenant, play games, learn technical skills like how to plan a worship service or lead a meeting and even have some fun and insightful history and theology lessons. But the real magic is in the work we do together. Physical work like cooking and cleaning, gardening and taking care of our temporary home. Challenging work like creating a worship service and receiving feedback. And spiritual work like reflection and deep sharing. That work, done side by side and collaboratively, builds relationships that see them through not just the challenges and tests of the week but for many of them into young adulthood and beyond. It turns a bunch of teenagers who were apprehensive and nervous at the beginning of the week – who said they came to Leadership School because it would look good on their college applications or because their parent/minister/DRE made them – into family. The Group – the friendships – were now the reason they were there and why they didn’t want to leave.
Congregational life also gives us many opportunities for building the relationships that bond us to one another in community. And we can create even more connections on our own. This summer make some new friends in your congregation, invite someone over to your home for dinner, arrange a family playdate at a local park, spend time weeding each others gardens, or preserving your bounty together; build a shed, paint a fence, teach a new driver how to do minor maintenance on their car; coordinate a group trip to a local destination or a carpool to the library or shopping center. There are so many ways to spend time together in more personal ways. Nurturing authentic relationships that build solidarity and break down walls within our faith communities seems like the perfect summer homework during the season of leisure!
Shannon Harper, CER Youth and Young Adult Coordinator
Attending General Assembly can be an overwhelming experience even for those who have attended several times. Being a delegate and needing to understand what is happening in plenary is even more challenging.
Your Central East Regional team has some help for those who are delegates (and those who are not) for this year.
Attend a General Assembly Orientation Webinar. The Central East Region is offering an orientation for those attending GA on June 13 at 8 pm ET. The webinar is free but you do need to register. Attending from off-site? We held our off-site orientation webinar in May and the video is now available if you missed it (see below).
Learn about the Business Items You’ll Be Voting On. You can read all the agendas and documents for the general sessions (aka plenary sessions, aka business meetings) in the Final Business Agenda at the UUA GA website. In addition, the UUA Board is offering a webinar titled What Delegates Can Expect at GA 2018. There are four sessions being offered, each will be about 75 minutes long and they will cover the same material. Dates are June 5 at 8p ET, June 7 at 8p ET, June 9 at 4p ET and June 10 at 5p ET. Learn more and get the webinar info at their webpage. Do note that this is for both off site and on site delegates. If one of those dates doesn’t work they will record them and post it to the webinar webpage.
Make Sure You Have Your Credentials. All delegates need their credentials which your congregation can provide to you. The UUA has an online system for congregations to access those credentials. Need more information? Check out the Credentials page on the GA section of the UUA website. Don’t leave home without them!
Visit the Delegate Page for General Assembly. This page on the UUA website has links to important documents such as the General Session Participation Guide, an FAQ for delegates and information about being an off-site delegate. Learn more at the delegate page of the GA section of UUA website.
Learn about this year’s Public Witness BEFORE you leave home. This year our prophetic ministry at GA will not include a demonstration or rally. Instead we will kick off our #EndMoneyBail work and materially support local Kansas City organizing. So instead of your marching shoes, please bring a gently used purse or bag and generously support the Wish List of items for the care package build. This is an evolving event, so check the Public Witness page of the UUA GA website to learn more.
Download the GA App to your Smartphone. This app will allow you to network with other attendees and receive notifications and access documents such as the final business agenda and daily documents like the CSW Alert. It also contains the schedule, a list of exhibitors in the exhibit hall and information about the Public Witness plans. The app allows those who have smartphones to be greener than having as much paper at GA as well as allowing for networking and feedback. Learn more at the UUA website or search your app store for UUA GA.
New This Year!
Networking Sessions – This year there are two opportunities for individuals to network with others along different topics during time set aside just for this purpose. The first session is Wednesday at 4:30-6 pm and will be led by UUA staff and include networking, introductions, resources and information on the topic area and highlights for other GA programs related to the topic. The second session is Friday at 7-8:30 pm are organized by affinity groups. Please check the program book for the extensive list for each session to see what interests you.
Poster Sessions – This year there are two opportunities for individuals to showcase projects or programs in a poster display during GA. The three sessions are Thursday at 12:15-1:30, Friday at 12:15-1:30 and Saturday at 12:15-1:30. The list of presentations for each session is listed in the program book.
Workshop Lengths – This year the GA planning committee offered workshop presenters the option of having different time lengths of workshops. When you check your program book or app, please check the start and end times of the workshops you are interested in. Some workshops may run through two or three time slots this year.
For everyone attending, do check out the GA Prep materials to help you prepare for this year’s General Assembly. All the activities and a downloadable pdf can be found on the UUA website.
Plan ahead what you want to do by checking out the schedule of workshops and activities but be prepared to change your mind if you hear information about activities that make them sound more interesting that you initially thought. You can view a pdf of the program book or look at the activity listings on the GA App.
Are you a singer? The choir is currently registering online and is filled on a first come, first serve basis.
Questions about GA? Please ask them in the comments below or contact your congregation’s primary contact.