Are You Ready for General Assembly?

Are You Ready for General Assembly?

General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. Please join us Wednesday, June 21 through Sunday, June 25, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and/or online for this 5-day immersive experience where we participate in inspirational worship services and informative workshops, reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore our bustling exhibit hall. GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend. Meet us online or in Pittsburgh and you’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large! Watch this video for more.

This Year’s Theme: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
General Assembly continues to be a time for us to gather, in body and spirit, to honor our history, celebrate who we are, and forge our future together. The General Assembly and Conference Services Team leads the initiative to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are woven throughout, from planning to fruition.
Over the next several months leading to General Assembly 2023, we will highlight aspects of DEIB through a series of videos. Our hope is that you will embrace the theme and activities and continue discussions, both in and outside of the UU community. American developer John Seely Brown said, “conversation is a catalyst for innovation.” Be an innovator and champion for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and accessibility at General Assembly 2023 and beyond.

Be A Delegate
Delegates are very important to the democratic process at General Assembly. It can also be a truly meaningful experience. Here are two testimonials from past delegates:

“Three years ago, I attended GA at the urging of my friend, Manny Brown. The experience opened up a new, larger world to me of Unitarian Universalism. In fact, the experience was so changing for me that I have continued to go as a delegate representing East Shore every year since. I plan to do so again this next June. I would love for more congregants of East Shore Unitarian Church to experience that wider world. And to consider being a delegate to insure appropriate representation. Delegates do not have to pay to attend General Assembly’s business meetings. Delegates can attend virtually which is how I have attended for the last three General Assemblies and plan to again next June. Please consider being a delegate; or, at least, going to General Assembly 2023.” – Maury Edwards

“Attending GA in person as a delegate is energizing and full of meaning. You experience the energy of hundreds of other UU’s thinking about the future of our faith in one room. There are people to talk with, including VIPs. Sessions give you the context and rationale for the issues you are voting on. You can speak to the question being voted on, or not, and amendments that have been approved in “mini-assemblies” are included in the final voting of any particular item. I found I needed to expect preparation before GA. After all, an educated voter makes better decisions. Preparation was worth it for the meaning full topics to vote on and a sense of community living into UUism!” – Grace Colton

If you would like information about serving as a delegate, please contact Nicole Duff.

What’s On The Ballot? New UUA President and Changes to Article II!
For a few years now, there has been an investigation of our national bylaws as is required by those bylaws every fifteen years. Included in that study are the Seven Principles voted in at General Assembly in 1984. Also included in that study is the language of the Eighth Principle that East Shore voted to adopt in 2020. After an intensive and exhausting study, the Article II Commission, the body responsible for making recommendations for bylaw change, is ready with its recommendations. Those recommendations can be found in this report, that will be presented at General Assembly in June of 2023 for a vote by delegates from across the United States. A history of how the Seven Principles were adopted in 1984 can be found here: How the UU Principles and Purposes were adopted. If the report has a 50% approval vote by those delegates, there will be a one-year discussion period. At General Assembly 2024, the recommendations will be put to a vote for approval by that year’s delegates. If the approval reaches a 66.67% approval vote, our bylaws will be amended to reflect the report’s recommendations.

We also will be voting in a new UUA President. Rev. Susan Frederick Gray has been a wonderful leader, but her term concludes in June. In November, the UUA nominated Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt. You can read more about her and the announcement here.


The UUA’s Article II Study Commission Update

The UUA’s Article II Study Commission Update

The Article II Study Commission has been working on revising the section of UUA Bylaws that has the Principles/Sources, UUA Purpose, Inclusion, and Freedom of Belief Statements. They have been working through feedback they got at General Assembly 2022 about the Principles/Sources and Inclusion statement. In September 2022, they asked for feedback on the UUA Purpose and Freedom of Belief Statements.

In September 2022, they scheduled ten Zoom sessions at various times for people to look at draft language and discuss it. Another round of revision will follow, with more feedback sessions in late October/early November. After it simmers over the holidays, they will put together their proposal in early 2023 to send to the board. The proposal will be considered in mini-assemblies before the vote at General Assembly 2023. Mini-assemblies are attended by delegates from each congregation.

You can find out a lot more here. Consider being a delegate for East Shore at General Assembly 2023. Look for a call for East Shore delegates in church communications. GA will be both in person in Pittsburgh and online. Being an online delegate was a free option last year.

by Grace Colton

The UUA’s Article II Study Commission Update

Will the Principles and Sources of Unitarian Universalism be Changed?

I attended the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) General Assembly at Portland, Oregon this year in person. An initiative to do a comprehensive review of the UUA’s Bylaws led to drafts of new language being presented at GA for everyone to give feedback on the section describing UU principles and sources.

General Assembly is the annual meeting of Unitarian Universalists at which the UUA’s business gets done, attendee’s go to workshops, to worship, and network with other congregations, the UUA, and a host of ancillary organizations. It’s a time to find out what is going on in the wider UU world and feel the connection around the world of UUism. A time to understand a congregation’s context for living into mission.

This year, General Assembly was both online and in person. Online attendance has happened before but this year it was given a great deal of attention and planning to make it more accessible and effective. It was possible to attend completely online for a reduced fee and be an online delegate for business only meetings for free.

See for more general info about General Assembly.

A complete review of the UUA’s bylaws was approved at this year’s General Assembly. One section of the Bylaws – Article II – is its own separate initiative and is under way now. It is being updated by the Article II Study Commission that was established in June 2020. The Commission is examining the Principles and Purposes of Unitarian Universalism (Article II) of the UUA Bylaws.

The UUA Board asked them to root their work in love to not edit only the words. They want a comprehensive evaluation of all parts of Article II. To revise, replace, restructure, hold nothing sacred about the wording. The focus is love as a principal guide, attending to ways we have understood, articulated and acted out of love.

The Principles and Purposes (Article II) section of the UUA Bylaws include the 7 Principles and 6 Sources of UUism, the purpose of the UUA, an Inclusion statement, and a freedom of belief clause. This year’s General Assembly had 3 hours for reporting out what the Commission has been doing and for attendees to give feedback on their drafts of a new Article II at

You can view all the public videos from GA online, including the Article II presentations, as follows:

Introduction to the work, Purpose, and Freedom of Belief in General Session II (beginning with Dan McKanan’s theological framing at 20:35 and the Article II’s  presentation at 32:30)

Values (Principles) and Covenant in General Session III (Article II presentation begins at 24:15, followed by a break, and then Dr. Elías Ortega’s theological framing, which begins at 1:29:20)

Inclusion and Inspirations (Sources) in General Session IV (Article II presentation begins at 33:00, followed by a break, and then Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt’s theological framing at 1:20:34)

The Article II Commission will continue to have opportunities to contribute to the process of reimagining Article II throughout the early fall. Watch for more information on how you can be involved!

You can learn more at the Article II Study Commission’s website:

Follow them on Facebook: Article II Study Commission or Instagram: RevUU_A2

Send them your thoughts via their feedback hub at

The timeline for the Article II Commission’s work is:

  • January 2023 present draft language to UUA Board.
  • June 2023 General Assembly – mini assemblies held to propose amendments in advance of GA 2023 and then a first vote will be done. If a majority approves, then 1 year of study time by congregations happens with no changes in language.
  • June 2024 final vote is held. There has to be 2/3 approval by GA delegates to pass.

by Grace Colton

1997 UUA Resolution

WHEREAS the 1996 General Assembly resolved that all congregations, districts, organizations, and professional and lay leaders participate in a reflection-action process throughout the 1996-97 church year using the Congregational Reflection and Action Process Guide and the Anti-Racism Assessment; and

WHEREAS our Unitarian Universalist principles call us to affirm and promote “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations” and “the goal of world community”; and

WHEREAS our history as Unitarian Universalists includes evidence of both great commitment and individual achievement in the struggle for racial justice as well as the failure of our Unitarian Universalist institutions to respond fully to the call for justice; and

WHEREAS racism and its effects, including economic injustice, are embedded in all social institutions as well as in ourselves and will not be eradicated without deliberate engagement in analysis and action; and

WHEREAS because of the impact of racism on all people, and the interconnection among oppressions, we realize we need to make an institutional commitment to end racism; and

WHEREAS the social, economic, and ecological health of our planet is imperiled by the deepening divisions in our world caused by inequitable and unjust distribution of power and resources; and

WHEREAS we are called yet again by our commitment to faith in action to pursue this anti-racist, multi-cultural initiative in the spirit of justice, compassion, and community;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 1997 General Assembly urges Unitarian Universalists to examine carefully their own conscious and unconscious racism as participants in a racist society, and the effect that racism has on all our lives, regardless of color.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly urges the Unitarian Universalist Association, its congregations, and community organizations to develop an ongoing process for the comprehensive institutionalization of anti-racism and multi-culturalism, understanding that whether or not a group becomes multi-racial, there is always the opportunity to become anti-racist. Early steps toward anti-racism might include using curricula such as Journey Toward Wholeness for all age groups, forming racial justice committees, and conducting anti-racism workshops.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly urges all Unitarian Universalist leaders, including ministers, religious educators, leaders of associate and affiliate organizations, governing boards, Unitarian Universalist Association staff, theological schools, and future General Assemblies to engage in ongoing anti-racism training, to examine basic assumptions, structures, and functions, and, in response to what is learned, to develop action plans.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to enter into relationships of sustained engagement with all people of color with a goal of opening up authentic dialogue that may include, but is not limited to, race and racism. Such dialogue should also include how to appropriately honor and affirm the cultural traditions of all people of color.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the General Assembly requests that the UUA Board of Trustees establish a committee to monitor and assess our transformation as an anti-racist, multi-cultural institution, and that the Board of Trustees shall report annually to the General Assembly specifically on the programs and resources dedicated to assisting our congregations in carrying out the objectives of this resolution.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that in order to transform the racist institutions of our world, the General Assembly urges the Unitarian Universalist Association and all its parts to establish relationships with other international and interfaith organizations that are working to dismantle racism.

July 1, 1997 – Read it on the UUA site here.