Monday, July 06, 2009

Views from General Assembly 2009

Let me just hit some of the high points of GA for you and let you know where you can get more information and details. Of course by now you probably know that Rev. Peter Morales has been elected president of the UUA. While it seemed to many that this would be a very close election either way, Peter had a very strong win by more than 500 votes out of just over 3,500 cast both on site and by mail. In a very moving ceremony on Sunday evening the service and GA concluded with a traditional "laying on of hands" for the newly installed president by members of his family, the Board of Trustees and gathered clergy on the stage.

Peter joined the Board along with new Board members and the re-elected moderator, Gini Courter and Financial Advisor, Dan Brodie. Joe Gayeski was elected as the new youth observer and Nick Allen, the prior youth observer, was elected to a two year term as the youth trustee at large. Rev. Jeanne Pupke also was elected as a trustee at large.

Several important votes were taken including a vote to change Article II of our bylaws, the Purposes and Principles. On a very narrow counted ballot the proposed ammendments were not accepted and so we continue to have our unchanged Article II.

The Statement of Conscience on "Peacemaking", presented by the Commission on Social Witness also failed to pass and was referred back to CSW for more refinement. Most concerns seemed to revolve around language rejecting any reason for the US to enter into war. A sufficient number felt there might be reasons and so this goes back for another year of study.

All the Actions of Immediate Witness passed. There were nine intrroduced but only six could be approved by the delegates. These included:

  • “Advocate Pending Legislation Toward Clean, Honest, and Fair Elections in the United States,” which endorsed three election reform bills in Congress: H.R.2894, H.R.1826, and S751-752;

  • “U.S. Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” which urged the Senate finally to ratify a treaty signed by the United States in 1996;

  • “In Support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,” S799/H.R.1925, which would protect 9 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land in Utah;

  • “Support Bolivian UUs Struggling for Justice and Human Rights,” which offered support for Bolivian UU leader Olga Flores Bedregal, who has been calling on her government to provide information about victims of disappearance by the country’s military government, and asked UUs to write to the Bolivian ambassador urging the country to establish a truth commission to investigate human rights violations;

  • “U.S.-Sponsored Torture: A Call for a Commission of Inquiry,” which endorsed the National Religious Coalition Against Torture’s call for a commission of inquiry; and

  • “Oppose Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity–Based Violence in Iraq,” which called for UUs to lobby the U.S. government to work with the United Nations to protect sexual minorities in Iraq.

More detailed information is available from UU World at and video of selected events.

On a personal note, I was sad to see Bill Sinkford leaving as president. I have appreciated his leadership, collegiality and his fierce promotion of our faith tot he larger world. Bill has left an indelible mark on our movement and I am very appreciative of everything he has done. It is a very difficult job and he carried it with grace, humility, good humor, bravery and with a vision for a greater and more meaningful Association that can and does make a difference in the world.

On another personal note I am happy to tell you that I will be serving as the Secretary of the UUA replacing Paul Rickter. I look forward to the work.

As always, I welcome your comments,concerns and questions. Please feel free to contact me at

In faith and trust,


1 comment:

Robin Edgar said...

Tom I see that you have updated your profile photo and want to let you know that it is a major improvement over the old profile photo which, to be as blunt and to the point as Rev. Peter Morales can be at times, made you look like a stodgy old gentleman. ;-) No offense intended here, just stating the impression that your original profile photo left with me and quite likely other readers. I had intended to contact you and suggest that you update your profile photo when I saw you in a video shot at GA this year. You were wearing a white informal "golf-shirt" and looked much younger and dynamic than in that photo. I guess the video helped with the dynamic part. :-) In any case this new photo is a lot better than the old one but you might want to consider using another one that portrays you as (comparatively) young, or at least young at heart, and informal as the GA video did.

Best Regards,

Robin Edgar