Report on the General Assembly in New Orleans 2017 -Part 1
By Sandra Engelhardt
The 56th General Assembly (GA) of the UUA was held in New Orleans, LA, from June 21-25, 2017. This annual meeting of Unitarian Universalists had over 4000 delegates representing more than 500 congregations. This includes over 490 off-site participants, which included Wayne Dawkins. On-site UUFP delegates were: Jamie Dingus, Sandra Engelhardt and Barbara Linde. Pat Sloan attended GA and the two day program on racism prior to GA. The theme of this GA was “Resist and Rejoice."
This GA was the most intense of my 17 GAs, as so many of the issues were difficult and uncomfortable. One issue was the selection of our new president. When we voted, we had to mark our choices with a 1, 2, or 3. Susan Frederick-Gray received 40% of the vote in the first round, to 33% for Rev. Jeanne Pupke, and 28% for Rev. Alison Miller. When second place votes were apportioned, Fredrick-Gray finished with 57% to Pupke’s 43%.
Another issue was the proposed changes to the Principles. The change of men and women to people was passed. The change of every person to every being was not passed.
A third issue was the Statement of Conscience (SOC) Escalating Economic Inequality (Click the red link to read the drafted version). After numerous changes were made at the mini-assembly and a long discussion at plenary, the SOC was passed overwhelming.
Perhaps the largest issue was the future role of our association in dealing with race. During a “Co-Presidents’ Reflection,” Interim Co-president Sofia Betancourt declared the moment is now for Unitarian Universalism “to be on the forward moving edge again on racial justice.” This was displayed throughout the entire GA with many of the remarks and workshops focused on this topic.
Some other highlights:
Part 2 will discuss: UUSC, Sunday morning worship and the three Responsive Resolutions, as well as various workshops attended.