When I first started seminary in Chicago, people kept asking me: “Have you been to GA?” I had just moved from South Carolina so of course, my response was, “Yes, I have been to Georgia.” GA is General Assembly. Unitarian Universalist congregations send delegates to GA decide the business of our movement. But GA is much, much more than that. It’s an idea factory. It’s a networking convention. It’s an exploration of who we wish to become.
General Assembly 2015 was all about learning what it means and what it takes to be radically inclusive.
First, listen to The Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, our minister in Tulsa, OK. Here’s a little background on what his congregation has been doing to be radically inclusive. Lavanhar spoke at The Service of the Living Tradition on Thursday night where all of our religious professionals, from entering ministers to retiring ministers, from religious educators to musicians, are recognized. Lavanhar spoke prophetically about our theological diversity. What are the ways you must closet yourself in our congregations? That’s gotta stop, says Lavanhar. We must build congregations that welcome the fullness of our theological centers and experiences. Please note: Fast forward to 1:23:10 for Lavanhar’s reading & sermon.
Making meaning this year around the events from Ferguson to Charleston has been challenging. It has been our great soul work. That’s why Cornel West, the prominent and provocative intellectual, was asked to speak at our Ware Lecture. Dr. West spoke directly to Unitarian Universalists on Saturday night, sharing what he thinks our unique role is. Listen here for how you can be a part of the solution to healing our country.
Finally, there’s our very own Director of Religious Education, Laura Beth Brown, telling the story for all ages at the Sunday Worship for thousands of Unitarian Universalists in the Portland Convention Center and online. (Laura Beth officially begins at UCS on July 1 and will start attending Sunday services on August 2nd.) Laura Beth was asked by The Rev. Alison Miller – minister at the Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Universalist Fellowship – who gave a powerful sermon called Re-Storying Hope. Listen to the story and the sermon.
Of course, don’t stop there! You can see and hear and read most of the events at General Assembly 2015, as well as videos from past GAs. You can also follow the coverage of GA by the UUWorld. As our UCS delegates, both in person and offline, return, they too will share their experiences of this amazing event.
GA 2016 will be in Columbus, OH on June 22-26! You could always go in person. But, just so we’re clear, GA is not Georgia.