The Seven Eight Principles
  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

  8. And Restoration's Eighth Principle... We affirm and promote the following 8th Principle:

    Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by building a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community that by our actions accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.

General Assembly, a Meeting of Congregations

I’m writing to you in the afterglow of an incredible, imaginative, powerful, and all-virtual General Assembly. With the third-largest attendance ever to the UUA’s annual gathering (more than 4900 people!) we chatted, workshopped, listened, learned, worshipped, sang, gave, phoned, and committed to the calling of our faith to work for justice and liberation. If you registered for GA, all the content remains available online through the Participant Portal. If you missed it, you can still watch highlights like Sunday Morning Worship and more.

It hasn’t been easy making the shift from the usual in-person GA to one that is entirely online. To make it work, we asked more of our staff and volunteers than is sustainable in the long run. I know many of you can relate. UU congregations have wrestled with the same kind of shifts. Months into this pandemic, so many of us are exhausted as we strive to manage changing work and family realities without a clear end in sight. So my friends, it is vital that we also take time to rest, because the road ahead is long. Take time to rest—it’s advice that I myself need to hear! President Susan Frederick-Gray is taking the week off, and I’ll be following suit later this month. In fact, the UUA will be closing its virtual offices the last week in July to ensure all our staff are able to take time to rest and reenergize as much as we can. We want to be ready for what comes next.

Going into the fall, I’m excited and humbled by work called for in the final report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change. The Commission’s report and presentation was a highlight of this year’s virtual GA, a culmination of their three-year process. The published report, Widening the Circle of Concern, is now available and lays out ten areas of recommendations to become a truly anti-oppressive faith community. It is essential reading for every Unitarian Universalist, with recommendations for the UUA, UU organizations and seminaries, and all our congregations. A free copy has been mailed to all congregations; hardcopy editions can be purchased from InSpirit, the UUA bookstore, and you can read the report online. And watch for opportunities from the UUA to deepen, connect, and share these transformative aspirations for our faith.

This moment has demanded something new of us. It has opened up horizons in our communities to make them accessible to a much wider set of people. It has pushed us to grapple with fault lines and shortcomings that have long been present but cannot be ignored. A culture of overwork prevents us from being present to what is most essential right now and devalues our labor. In that sense, I’m thankful there is no “going back to normal.” Instead, we go forward with the slow, hard, beautiful, daily work of transformation.

We must help each other take the time we need for ourselves and our families so that we can continue on the journey. I hope you all find restoration and renewal for your spirits in the coming weeks.

Carey McDonald
UUA Executive Vice President

A 2020 General Assembly Highlight

Here's a highlight of the 2020 General Assembly you can watch. This is a brilliant lecture about the evolution of Universalism toward collective liberation, recommended by Fern and Cathy. The John Murray Distinguished Lecture that was delivered at the Virtual General Assembly is available to view. Rev. Schuyler Vogel, the minister of the 4th Universalist Church in NYC, gave a rousing inspirational lecture about the history of Universalism in America and his church in particular. He may be familiar to you if you participated in the online UU the Vote phone bank action back in May. He and some of his congregants joined our effort with UU churches here in the Philly area, and Washington, DC. We also got a brief introduction to the new Executive Director of Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center, Diem Jones. The Sestercentennial (250th) Celebration will be on Oct. 2 -- Oct. 4 at Murray Grove in nearby Lanoka Harbor, NJ.

Future General Assemblies

  • 2021: June 23 – 27, Milwaukee, WI
  • 2022: June 22 – 26, TBD
  • 2023: June 21 – 25, Pittsburgh, PA

    Previous General Assemblies

    2019: Spokane, Washington | June 19-23

    The Power of We
    In a time of great challenge and heartbreak in our world, what does our faith demand from us? At this year’s General Assembly we explored the power, possibility, purpose, struggle and joy of finding the path forward together as Unitarian Universalists. Attendees left Spokane inspired, with the tools needed to carry on the work into their own congregations and communities. Join us as we continue to work for collective liberation inside and outside our faith.

    2018: Kansas City, Missouri | June 20-24

    From the UUWorld: The call of our faith has a place for each of us. Join us in Kansas City as we dive deeply into questions of mission for our Unitarian Universalist Association, for our congregations and communities, and for each of us as individuals. Join us to build courageous, collective leadership with tools, skills and connections.

    2017: June 21-25, New Orleans, LA —

    General Assembly 2017 took place June 21-25 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70130.

    2016: June 22-26, Columbus, OH —

    This year's GA took place June 22-26 in Columbus, OH and included a Ware Lecture from award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author Krista Tippett.

    2015: Build A New Way at GA

    2015 General Assembly (GA) was not just have green practices: we worked for climate justice. With Commit2Respond, a broad Unitarian Universalist movement, GA built our capacities to: shift to a lower carbon future, advance the human rights of affected communities, and grow the climate justice movement. Unitarian Universalist worked for climate justice.

    The GA 2015 theme was "Building a New Way." It was about more than climate justice. It was about breaking out of our old ways, and using our creativity to live into something new. At GA we worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone who registers may attend; delegates from our member congregations may vote. Programs and childcare were also available for children.

    2014: The theme for GA was Love Reaches Out


    Religious life in America is changing dramatically and rapidly. Fewer people are identifying with specific denominations and most mainline religions are losing members in droves. People now find many outlets and places of engagement for their spiritual lives. Current studies of faith in America show that there is a movement toward a liberal, fluid kind of faith that doesn t fit with traditional denominational identity and structure. We already know that for every adult member of Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, there are at least three non-members who also consider themselves to be Unitarian Universalist.

    A core purpose of our faith is to help people grow in spirit and in service. We believe that our faith provides a path for each of us to unlock our transformational capacity to serve the world with love. We want to expand our faith not just to grow Unitarian Universalism, but also to better achieve this transformational purpose. Therefore, the General Assembly Planning Committee, the UUA Board of Trustees and the Administration want the General Assembly in 2014 help our association live into a future where our  Love Reaches Out to share our faith both within and beyond our congregations walls..

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