First we had the results of yesterday's ballots. All three items passed
Business Resolution 1: Renewing UUA Bylaws for Theologically Grounded and Mission-Focused Governance as Amended 951/95.5% yes vs. 45/4.5% no
This is the one calling for a thorough review and comprehensive rewrite of the By-Laws. See yesterday's post for more details.
Business Resolution 2: General Assembly Planning Committee 958/95.9% yes vs. 41/4.1% no
This is the one that called for a suspension of the By-Laws regarding the General Assembly Planning Committee while permanent reorganization of functions are considered, because the GAPC is now run by professional staff who do not belong in the by-laws. More details in yesterday;s Post.
UUA Rule Amendment G-9.13.10 Election Campaign Practices Committee 973/97.6% yes vs. 24/2.4% no
This was a minor revision to fix an error in a previous revision and improve clarity
We heard that if all churches sent the maximum number of delegates to the Assembly, there would be 4800 delegates in attendance. There are only about 1700 convention attendees, on site and remote. And only 1000 participated in today's vote, so they're not all delegates. That's less than 50% participation.
We discussed the inclusion clause, which is being reconsidered because "Inclusion implies a norm that someone outside is invited into." We were then asked to think of a time when we felt most welcome and what folks did to make us feel welcome. They specifically asked what folks had to learn about us to make us feel welcome. And I immediately when back to my first choir pot luck. I had said I wanted to join the choir, not knowing that the first meeting of the year was always a pot luck at someone's house. That meant I would have to go to the house of someone I'd never met to be with a bunch of people I'd never met in a social setting, something I thought was beyond this introverts capabilities. All the person who had taken me under their wing and the hostess knew about me was that I wanted to join a UU church (I wasn't a member yet), wanted to sing in the choir, and was extremely shy. I never felt so welcome in a place in my life. So for me it's acceptance that automatically includes someone that I find welcoming.
They also presented about what they now refer to as Inspirations (formerly Sources). The thought is that attempting to write a list always leaves something out because the world is constantly changing. So they have been trying out a summary statement that references taking inspiration from many sources but doesn't attempt to list them all.
The Commission is, as I said yesterday, looking for feedback in their review of our By-Laws.
If you would like to provide feedback there are forms at https://padlet.com/A2SC/GA22
Topics include Purpose, Freedom of Belief, Values, Covenant, Inspirations, and Future Hopes. There is also a form for general feedback that need not be tied to a specific topic.
If you want more background, you can find it at https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/article-ii-study-commission/resources but I found the forms made sense even without having done a lot prior reading.
Today's topic for the theological framing was inclusion. Dr. Sophia Bettencourt presented it and referenced the Commission on Institutional Change's report "Widening the Circle" about the need to draw in more of our neighbors. Dr. Betterncourt is an amazing theologian and a very accessible speaker. Also one who , when the audio went out, had the grace to stop her presentation until remote folks were back in the fold and get everyone in the onsite audience (we remoters couldn't hear her) singing while a repair was made. (There were a lot of technical glitches at this GA; I wouldn't recommend the venue again unless it has a technical upgrade.) She did it seemlessly and with aplomb.
We next had the results of the election. There were two contested positions.
Trustee #7: Rev. Suzanne Fast, an incumbernt, won re-election with 1735 votes (89.6%) against Rebecca Mattis (02 votes/10.%)
Trustee #11: Rev, Justine Sulvvian (YAY!) won election with 1766 votes (90..8%) against Beverly Seese (178 votes/9.2%)
We heard presentations on the 3 Actions of Immediate Witness that were accepted on the agenda. Procedures have changed. A lot of the work on wording of AIW's is actually done BEFORE GA. I got involved late so did not participate in that. First all AIW's submitted (I think there were 8) are vetted by the Committee on Social Witness to make sure they meet certain criteria, including not being duplications of previous AIW's.'s. From 8 they were winnowed down to five. Then we voted on which three we wanted to add to the agenda to be presented and voted on. Today we heard the presentations on the three that made the cut and voted on whether or not to affirm them, which means congregations will have opportunities to take action on some issues of immediate concern. The three AIW's are:
We Do Not Consent: Rejecting Legal Challenges to Abortion (799/98.5% voted yes, 36/1.5% voted no)
Draft text: https://www.uua.org/files/2022-06/2022%20AIW%20We%20Do%20Not%20Consent.pdf.
Because of the emotions running high after the Roe decision, the rules for discussion were suspended and everyone was allowed to speak who wanted to.
The most moving presentation was from a retired woman ob/gyn who had worked with male ob/gyns were all pro-choice because of what they experienced pre-Roe: whole hospital wards just for septic abortion patients who had had illegal abortions. The over 50% mortality rate is unimaginable and yet the Supreme Court has gone there..
Anti-Racism and Reparations via Restorative Justice (746/92.6% voted yes, 60/4.4% voted no
Draft text: https://www.uua.org/files/2022-06/2022%20AIW%20Anti%20Racism%20and%20Reparations%20via%20Restorative%20Justice.pdf
Stop the Privatization of Medicare (724/90.6% yes, 75/9.4% no)
Draft text: https://www.uua.org/files/2022-06/2022%20AIW%20Stop%20the%20Privatization%20of%20Medicare.pdf
This is about getting private equity out of healthcare, where it is, as it also does with affordable housing, retail and so much else, buying up providers, sucking all the profit out, and then abandoning the community with what little is left
All of the objections were about language. One person who opposed We Do Not Consent was concerned that the language about a mother controlling the fate of a fetus went too far.
We voted on whether we should be taking action on any or all of these. Results will be available Sunday.
There was a bonus session after the business session on the UUA response to the Roe decision.
Presented by Rob Keithen of he Social Justice Committee at the All Souls UU Church in Washington DC and Ashley Horan of Siding With Love
Rob Keithan is the co-chair of a new faith-based organization on reproductive rights called SACReD. There is a link to them in the text of the We Do Not Consent AIW above. At the link you will find actions to take, including signing on to affirmations in support of reproductive justice that the group put together.
The two reiterated that there is no rapid response to this. It took the right a long time to build the possibility of ending Roe v. Wade..
Ashley spoke of Reproductive Justice Framework that was formed by black women, who needed not just choice, but access, and not just access to reproductive care, but to ALL kinds of healthcare. Our goals must therefore be intersectional. And it must be to build a lasting movement to transform the culture.
She pointed out that oppression and politics intersect. A map by the Trevor Project looked all the places where abortion bans are in place or being added, all the places where anti-transgender legislation is being/has been passed, and all the states where Republican candidates reside. The maps all overlap. This is about political power, not concern for life.
The right has co-opted the values conversation. We need to reclaim it. (Hence the faith-based organization supporting reproductive rights.)
The courts cannot save us.
Working together WILL save us.
We must build up at the local level (as the Republicans have been doing for years)
Folks are urged to take part in
Siding with Love Reproductive Justice Series to be held this summer
(You'll find a link on this page: https://sidewithlove.org/ourstories/2022/6/24/a-time-to-grieve-a-time-to-re-commit )
UU the Vote: https://www.uuthevote.org/
When Democrats and progressives vote, Democrats and progressives are more likely to win. The magic of technology makes it possible to identify unregistered eligible voters most likely to vote Democratic. UUtheVote works to register people and motivate them to vote.
There were no Responsive Resolutions.
President’s Award for Volunteer Service
Beacon Press Report
Installation of Newly-Elected Leaders
Invitation to GA 2023 (Pittsburgh)
Recognition of All Who Made GA Possible
Final Credentials Report
I have to leave my house by 4:30 for the Rally in Lowell so will miss most of the last day.
Your delegate at GA