UU Asheville had 7 voting delegates attending the 2024 UUA General Assembly (GA): Nancy Bragg, T Kay Browning, Susan Foster, Shawn Gibson, Bernise Lynch, Anna Martin, and me, Mara Sprain. GA was virtual this year, meaning we each signed-in remotely from our homes or wherever we were comfortable. I opted to sit on my back deck, under the gazebo (shade!), where I could stream the proceedings via YouTube to a larger TV screen and use my laptop for viewing documents and monitoring other events.

Major news first: Article II to the UUA Bylaws (formerly Principles and Purposes, now Purposes and Covenant) was amended and approved by the Assembly by an 80.2% majority vote. One amendment was adopted and incorporated into the wording of the “Equity” section. Three other amendments were defeated by the Assembly: a second amendment in the Equity section, and adding Peace and Reason as separate individual values; these amendments did not get the ⅔ support required for adoption. 

Other significant news was the adoption of 3 Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs). (An AIW 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. These also require approval of ⅔ of the voting body.) After discussion and amendment following mini-assemblies (pre-GA and non-voting events), and further discussion in the General Assembly sessions, the following AIWs were approved (supporting percentage):

    • World on Fire: Humanitarian Work and Climate Change (95.6%)
    • Centering Love Amidst the Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 (86.1%)
    • Solidarity with Palestinians (73.5%)

We also passed a UUA Business Resolution: Embracing Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex People is a Fundamental Expressions of UU Religious Values (91.8%). (A business resolution directly involves the administration and structure of the UUA–guiding how the association does its work.)

Some of these discussions (pro and concern) were painful for many members and we were reminded to keep LOVE at the center of our interactions. GA Care Teams had several break-out rooms available for those who needed support during and following these discussion sessions. Beautiful demonstrations of our faith in action!

Also passed was a Responsponsive Resolution declaring GA support for release of the October 7 [2023] hostages in the Middle East (77%). A Responsive Resolution is made in response to a substantive portion of a report by an officer or committee reporting to a regular General Assembly, in this case, the Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt’s President’s report on Saturday at General Session III.

For more information, the text of these documents, and to read some of the discussion on these issues, head to https://discuss.uua.org and look under “General Assembly 2024”. You cannot provide additional comments, and this is not a transcript of discussions at GA, but many people who spoke at GA also provided similar comments in the online discussion threads.

Several of the GA events are available to non-delegates, including general session recordings and Sunday’s worship service. See UUA General Assembly for links and details. (For those attending our annual congregational retreat at The Mountain this fall we hope to have a session on GA so you can hear more about it.)

And mark your calendar: The 64th UUA General Assembly will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, June 18–22, 2025. Details to follow.

Mara Sprain

UU Asheville Board President