Delegate Report on 2023 General Assembly

I attended my first Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly this year. You might recall that our community, the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper (UU Casper), is a member of the UUA. Each January, we recertify our membership by submitting a report and updating our membership and staff records. We also pay annual dues. The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States and their mission is to equip congregations for health and vitality, to support and train lay and professional leaders, and to advance Unitarian Universalist values in the world.​

General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of the UUA. Participants worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Delegates chosen by member churches, affiliated ministers, some religious educators, and delegates chosen by associate member organizations such as the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee may vote at GA. UU Casper may send up to two delegates to GA, based on our size. This year, I was our only delegate. GA 2023 happened from Wednesday, June 21th through Sunday, June 25th.

I registered as a “Business Only” delegate this year because I planned to try to listen in on the business sessions while I worked and to represent UU Casper with my vote. There were many workshops and inspirational activities I could not participate in because of the “Business only” registration, but I also just didn’t have time for. The good news is this registration was free with a suggested donation, whereas the regular Virtual registration cost $300. In-person registration for the full event cost $600 (all categories have discount if registered early).

There were several categories of business items at GA this year.

  1. Three Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW). Actions of Immediate Witness may be brought forward by any UUA delegate and must satisfy the following: pertain to an issue that requires immediate action, call on UUA member congregations and groups to take specific meaningful action, present an opportunity for member congregations to build partnerships and/or act in solidarity with marginalized groups beyond and within the Association, be grounded in UU theology and practice, and be crafted in anti-oppressive and inclusive language that is conducive to justice. Member congregations are not required to act on AIW’s. AIW’s serve to bring important issues to our attention in a relatively quick way. Prior to the start of GA, there were more AIW’s brought forward. Delegates who were registered and engaged in the process before GA (June 7-14) got to vote on the AIW’s to narrow them down. UU Casper did not participate in the June 7 – 14 process. These three links will take you to the three AIW’s that were voted on and affirmed by vote at GA. AIW: Rise Up to Stop Cop City (PDF), AIW: Organizing for Health Equity (PDF), AIW: Protect the Dreamers, the Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) with a Pathway to Permanent Residence (PDF)
  2. Article II of the UUA’s By-Laws. Article II contains the Seven Principles and Six Sources that many UU’s consider the most concise and official summary of our beliefs that exists in any sort of document. They evolved from the Six Principles that were documented when Unitarians and Universalists joined together in 1961. In 2017 there was discussion of amending the Principles to add an 8th Principle, to address racism and to amend the 1st Principle, to address non-human life. In response to these discussions, among others, in 2021 the UUA committed to complete a study and offer a revised Article II. The study was completed and presented in January of 2023. After reading the new proposed Article II, I was alarmed by the absence of the Seven Principles and the Six Sources. Personally, those lists brought me to Unitarian Universalism. I was subsequently soothed by Rev. Sofía Betancourt’s speech during GA when she affirmed that even if the new Article II proposal passes at next year’s GA, she hopes to see the Seven Principles and Six Sources up on the walls of UU churches for many years to come. Early in 2023, the board of the UUA created an online form where any UU could submit feedback on the proposal until the end of April. Then, several public discussion workshops were held in May to review the suggestions and ideas. Public chat discussion was opened up at These discussions are still publicly viewable for the curious. Formal amendments to the proposed Article II were opened up with “priority” Amendments due by June 5. Hundreds of amendment ideas were submitted by the time GA started. Unfortunately, UU Casper members did not participate in these pre-GA processes, as far as I know. I did find out about the Article changes early this year and started discussing and learning about them. I personally did not have the time to write amendments, submit them, or participate in workshops. At GA, only 13 Amendments were actually voted on by delegates. It’s not clear to me how the amendments were prioritized, but my guess is that the Article II Commission and the UUA Board worked together in that process. The limit to 13 was a feature of the time allotted at GA for presenting them and allowing discussion for and against each amendment. The Preliminary Article II passed, with the amendments that passed. The rules for these discussions are defined in the UUA By-Laws. Laura Gossman, Leanne Woodfill, and Janet deVries will be presenting a Sunday Service about Article II on July 23. Here is the preliminary list of the prioritized amendments brought forward during GA. Next year, amendments will only be considered that have 15 congregations backing them or a ¾ vote in favor from the UUA Board of Trustees. These amendments must be submitted by February 1, 2024. Final approval of the new Article II must have a ⅔ vote of approval from next year’s GA delegates. Here is a list of the amendments to the proposed Article II that delegates were allowed to vote on.
    1. Amendment 51 by Janet Leavens – Failed
    2. Amendment 52 by John Millspaugh – Passed
    3. Amendment 6 by Anne Schneider – Failed
    4. Amendment 68 by Edward Wilson – Failed
    5. Amendment 5 by Matthew Johnson – Passed
    6. Amendment 70 by Melissa Egbertson – Failed
    7. Amendment 1 by Patricia Shifferd – Failed
    8. Amendment 13 by Kathi Bayne – Passed
    9. Amendment 30 by Viola Abbitt – Passed
    10. Amendment 26 by David Schwartz – Passed
    11. Amendment 19 by Bek Wheeler – Failed
    12. Amendment 61 by Jan Radoslovich – Failed
    13. Amendment 25 by Howard Tolley – Failed
  3. General Election. A number of positions were up for election this year. The most important, yet uncontested, position was for the UUA President. Rev. Susan Fredrick-Gray has now completed her term and the new President is Rev. Sofía Betancourt. Having read several of Rev. Sofía’s essays and listened to her speak during GA, I am personally optimistic that Rev. Sofía’s leadership will be good for Unitarian Universalism in the United States, but I’ll leave it to you to look her up online and see what you think of her yourself. For the rest of the election results, please follow this link: General Election Results (PDF).
  4. Proposed Amendment #3 to Business Resolution: Complete Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry and Subsequent Reparations. The last major piece of business that was voted on at GA 2023 was a proposal to completely divest from the fossil fuel industry. While the UUA has made commitments to sentiments like this in the past, this resolution required divestments from mixed investment portfolios where the exact contents are not always known, unless the investment firms will guarantee divestment. This would have hurt the UUA financially in a big way and the UUA Board of Trustees spoke against this resolution publicly. The resolution did not pass. You may read the full business resolution amendment here: Proposed Amendment to Business Resolution Ballot Results (PDF)

Full voting results can be seen at: 

Next year’s GA will be entirely Virtual and the 2025 GA will go back to a dual in-person and virtual format. I hope you all will keep an eye open for opportunities to participate in future workshops, discussions at, or as delegates to GA in future years. If you have any questions about my experience at General Assembly, please feel free to contact me.


Cindy Wright