June 2024 UUA GA Approves Revision of Article II and Other Matters

The all-virtual 2024 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association ended Sunday, June 23.

Delegates to the Assembly approved by a vote of 1809 for and 146 against a wording change to the Equity section of the proposed revision of Article II of the UUA Bylaws, so that provision would read:

Equity. We declare that every person is inherently worthy and has the right to flourish with dignity, love, and compassion.

They voted to reject other amendments to the proposed revision. Subsequently, they approved by a vote of 2025 for and 499 against the proposed revision of Article II, as just amended. The revised Article II is the Association’s statement of “values and beliefs,” replacing the former statement of “principles and purposes.” This decision concludes a process that began over two years ago, and which generated a lot of controversy concerning the need, wording and possible effects of the change.

Before the final vote on the revision of Article II, Adrienne Walker, Legal Counsel to the UUA and Parliamentarian of the General Assembly, delivered orally to the delegates her “Opinion on the Legal Impact of Proposed Article II Changes, concluding that it would have no legal effect on congregations or their members. This is recommended reading for those who have questions about the possible effects of the change, including whether UU congregations and individuals could continue to refer to the Seven Principles and 6 Sources. In an article of the current UUWorld, UUA Executive Vice President Carey McDonald states: “[i]ndividual UUs and their congregations are welcome to continue to hold and value the Seven Principles and Six Sources, which were adopted in 1984, as a meaningful part of the faith.”

The delegates also approved the uncontested elections of John Simmonds to position #3, Emily Koriah to position #6 and Rev. Sam Trumbore to position #8 of the Board of Trustees of the UUA. Likewise, Rachel A. Feltner was elected to the Commission on Appraisal, which consists of 9 members whose mission is “to provoke deep reflection and to evoke timely, creative transformation of Unitarian Universalism, our congregations, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.” They also elected the sole candidate, Andreas Rivera Young, to the Nominating Committee, which nominates candidates for all positions elected by the General Assembly except for President and Moderator.

Delegates approved an amendment to the Assembly Rules of Procedure that gives sponsors of a motion 90 seconds at the end of discussions of the motion for final comments and turned down an amendment that would increase total discussion time. They approved an amendment to Section 7.13 of the Bylaws relating to the religious education accrediting committee giving the committee the option to increase the number of its members should the need arise to do so.

Three Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW) were proposed and approved by wide margins. An Action of Immediate Witness “is a statement about a significant action, event, or development in the world that necessitates immediate engagement and action among UU member congregations and groups.” It is a call to engagement and action, not a legal requirement. The 3 AIWs were:

·       A call for a declaration of Climate Emergency and commitment to work on this issue.

·       A commitment to keep safe areas for persons still at high risk from COVID.

·       A statement of UU solidarity with Palestinians in the present crisis.

Delegates also approved a separate Responsive Resolution calling for support for and release of the remaining Israeli hostages of October 7.

Delegates adopted a Business Resolution entitled “Embracing Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex People is a Fundamental Expression of UU Religious Values.” A Business Resolution “directly involves the administration and structure of the Association. Any resolution submitted which, taken as a whole, has as its purpose the making of a statement of social concern or principle shall be deemed to be a Study/Action Issue for Social Justice.” The General Assembly will next convene on June 18-22, 2025 in Baltimore, Maryland.