How We UUs Make Decisions!
Unitarian Universalists are a little different from most faith traditions. We have no bishops or hierarchy that makes decisions for our congregations. We have something called “congregational polity.” So – for example – I was not sent to you from some authoritative body as your minister. You – as a congregation – decided that you wanted me to be your minister. Similarly, congregations make decisions about purchasing property, by-laws, electing boards, and more. They authorize their boards to make decisions that may come up between annual meetings. These are not the bigger decisions like calling a minister or changing the by-laws – but the board does appoint committees, determine how we pay for unseen emergencies and more.
Then what is the UUA? Our congregation is affiliated with other UU congregations in an association - because we can do better if we cooperate. And the Association has their own set up by-laws that guide them which have been changed often through the years. The association also has a board – that like our board – is authorized for the smaller kinds of decisions that need to be made. But we have a big meeting once a year – where delegates vote on things like changes to the bylaws and statements of conscience and more. In more recent years, these meetings have been hybrid so that folks could attend online and even serve as delegates online. This year – the entire meeting will be conducted online, June 20-23. Next year – it will be hybrid again with an in-person event in Baltimore. Because of the convenience and reduced cost of the event this year, we are hoping that many of our folks “come” to the General Assembly. And it is not too early to think about this and make plans. Among the things that will be voted on this year will be the current draft of the revisions to Article 2. Last year, the first vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the changes the study commission had drafted with some amendments made. Now if you have been around a while, you know that when these proposed “Shared Values” first were shared by the study commission, I preached an entire sermon series on them. I’ve also shared in newsletter articles the link to the Article 2 Commission’s website so that you could read about their process, provide input, and more. I will share that link again here. https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/article-ii-study-commission
I encourage you to go straight to the source for this information and not depend on communication from those who would encourage you to believe something is there that is not. If you have more questions after studying this information, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our board can appoint two members of our congregation to serve as voting delegates to the General Assembly – and delegates may register for full attendance – or just attendance at business meetings. Of course, you don’t have to be a delegate to register and attend the General Assembly – but there is a special process for delegates. Information about registration can be found at this link: https://www.uua.org/ga/registration
If you are a member of our congregation and would be willing to serve as a delegate to General Assembly 2024, please contact our President, Abby Thompson, at email@example.com.
Peace and Love,