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Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

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Official Business at General Assembly 2014

Author Nadine Sapirman, Written Jul 2, 2014

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The UUA General Assembly Meeting of Congregations is an annual opportunity for delegates from member congregations to affirm, promote, and practice the democratic process while conducting the business of the Association.  I was honored to serve as one of our congregation’s three member voting delegates.

Each year, members vote on a Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI).  Five  very worthy CSAIs were proposed this year.  After much discussion in multiple settings, the single CSAI chosen is “Escalating Inequality“.  This will be a focus of study and potential action for the UUA and member congregations for the next four years, 2014-2018.  For more information, look here: http://uua.org/ga/justice/15344.shtml

One of the most exciting aspects of General Assembly is the unfolding Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) process. People come with a wide range of issues, engage one another in conversation, sign petitions, debate the issues, vote, and bring to life the Principles of Unitarian Universalism, all within the span of one General Assembly. An AIW does not carry the full authority of the Unitarian Universalist Association; rather, it expresses the conscience of the delegates at the GA at which it is passed.  Three Actions of Immediate Witness were approved (from 6).

  1. Support the “Pray for Relief” Faith Summit on Stopping Deportations in the U.S.
  2. Affirming Congregational Commitment to Gun Violence Prevention
  3. Support Uganda New Underground Railroad to safely extract LGBTQ people from persecution in Uganda

The member delegates considered, discussed and voted to approve a resolution to divest from fossil fuel investment.  This action makes a big statement from our denomination on where we feel our money should be invested.  Careful consideration was given to the language, allowing the UUA to retain enough shares to engage in shareholder action, if deemed appropriate.   http://uua.org/ga/virtual/2014/business/vi/296143.shtml

Finally, we voted to change the UUA by-laws and rules to have more inclusive language (rather than non-discrimination).  http://uua.org/documents/boardtrustees/1406_rule_g2.3.pdf

It was quite amazing to watch the democratic process in action, with folks waiting patiently at the “Pro”, “Con”, “Procedure”, and “Amendment” microphones to respectfully share their view or ask a question.  UUA Moderator Jim Key (a volunteer position) did a tremendous job handling the proceedings with grace and humor.

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