Post General Assembly Townhall Forum
The Fifth Principle Project will host a post-General Assembly Townhall Forum to provide a venue for people to share their thoughts about this year’s General Assembly.
- Date: Wednesday, July 5, 2023
- Time: 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Mountain, 5:00 PM Pacific
- Duration: 75 – 90 minutes
Pre-registration is required. All are welcome.
Voting results announced today, Sunday, June 25.
- Preliminary approval of Article II language: Passed (1,816 (86.3%) to 289 (13.7%))
- Business Resolution Divestment and Reparations: Failed (1,412 (68.3%) to 654 (31.7%))
- Dick Burkhart did not win a seat on the Nominating Committee.
- All AIWs: Passed
For complete results, see this link.
Saturday, June 24, 2023
I started the morning with a music-filled, meaningful worship service led by Reggie Harris, a black musician, and Greg Greenway, a white musician, who collaborate under the name “Deeper than the Skin.” Their birthdays are three days apart, but their experiences are from different worlds. Their music blended with their personal stories of growing up with deep Virginia roots and finding common connections through music.
Interview with Religious News Service
At 1:00 PM, I joined an interview with Kathryn Post of Religious News Service. Kathryn had found us through the Savethe7Principles.org website. She reached out to Lincoln Baxter, who quickly put together a small group (Pat Mohr, Anne Schneider, and James Anderson) to help her understand our issues and the situation with the UUA. Her article will be published on the website on Monday and released to the wire services. There’s a possibility that it could get picked up by major news organizations.
Note: On June 21, 2023, Kathryn Post published an article on Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray.
A few of us got together for lunch. We didn’t have a full table, so an “unsuspecting couple” joined us. We learned from them that, even at this late date, not everyone understood the Article II discussion.
Rev. Sofia Betancourt
At the General Session, they announced Saturday’s vote results. Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt received 95.5% of the vote, and 4.5% voted against her.
Article II Pro/Con Discussion
I discovered that I was incorrect about the agenda for this general session, thinking that we would discuss two more Article II amendments. Instead, we started with a 30-minute Pro/Con discussion on the Article II Proposal.
There was still confusion even among the people at the Pro/Con lines. Disingenuously, the moderators claimed that a No vote would end the discussion, and a Yes vote would allow the discussion to continue. They should have said that a No vote would retain our current Article II language, and a Yes vote would provisionally accept the amended Article II language.
One woman in the Pro line said her congregation had instructed her to vote No, but she wanted to extend the time for conversation. She indicated that she would follow their instructions and vote No.
Even I was confused about what happens with a Yes vote. I thought that the proposed Article II language with the adopted amendments would be voted upon at the 2024 General Assembly, where a 2/3 vote is required to be adopted. However, there is a chance the Article II language could be further amended. Fifteen congregations can agree, by Board resolution, to present another amendment. This amendment would have to pass with 75% of the vote. There is only a slight possibility, but there could be new amendments.
Several people at the Con mic said we are not a white supremacy culture. This comment was met with derision by many delegates.
Seventy-two people spoke at the Pro/Con microphone. Another delegate provided this profile of those who spoke.
|Young adult (<35)
|*Pro = for the Proposal to change
The Pro/Con discussion moved along without incident. It was pretty dry.
Complete Divestment / Reparations
Next was the Business Resolution for “Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations.”
This Resolution was submitted by petition by the Unitarian Universalist Young Adults for Divestment, and the sponsors were able to explain their reasoning. After a few Pro/Con speakers, the lines closed. Charles DuMond, the UUA co-Moderator, then approached the podium, preparing to move on to the next order of business.
Immediately young people leaped up from their seats and shouted a responsive chant waving signs and moving forward. One quickly got between the podium and the camera and held a sign reading “Divestment Now” before Charles. Another sign read, “Reparations Now.” They continued their responsive chant for a few long minutes and then marched toward the exit. The cameras caught all the action.
After a pause, Charles resumed the agenda without comment.
The Actions of Immediate Witness were then presented. There were no Responsive Resolutions that met the criteria. Still, Charles noted that action would be taken on a recommendation made by Dick Burkhart that the Congregational Study/Action Issue be resumed after several years of suspension.
The program came to an end, and Susan Frederick-Gray returned to the stage with four members of the executive team.
Youth Program Associate Fired
At the beginning of the General Session, the young adult members of the Care Team made a statement that the young people were grieving due to the firing of (name withheld) a Youth and Young Adult Program Associate for Lifespan Faith Engagement. Their room key was canceled, and they were told to change their plane ticket and leave immediately. Apparently, this was connected to the Business Resolution for Divestment and Reparations.
At the end of the business day, Susan Frederick Gray confirmed that they had been terminated. She said that the termination was in keeping with our values, our policies, and our procedures. She said there was a lot of context that could not be shared.
Note: In the original publication on June 25 of this post, we provided the name of the fired UUA employee. Based on a request, we removed the name.
Imani Perry delivered the Ware Lecture. It was a warm and moving presentation referencing our ancestors, Thoreau, Emerson, and Francis Harper. She urged us to listen to each other and hold a deep respect for different voices.
As the evening closed, I joined the UUMUAC Zoom conversation. We are regrouping for another long year ahead to defeat the Article II Proposal.
After the worship service, they will announce the voting results and hold the closing ceremonies on Sunday.