As I write this, I am on a plane headed to Portland, OR, for General
Assembly. By the time you read it, the annual conference of the Unitarian
Universalist Association will be in full swing, with approximately 5000 UUs
from across the country attending. GA is held each year at the end of June,
a week of workshops and worship, all centered around the main purpose of the
gathering, which is to conduct the business of the denomination. We as a
congregation operate under congregational polity – in which the membership
has a voice regarding what they want the organization to accomplish. The UUA
operates under the same principles, which means that we meet annually, each
congregation sending delegates to vote on the important business of the

For some of you, this is old news, you’ve been to GA or at least heard of
it. For others, it is new information. In either case, you may wonder why I
mention it, why it matters. One of the things that I observed when I went to
Boston last week with the Coming of Age group is that the trip, particularly
the visit to the UUA headquarters, gave the youth a clearer sense of being
connected to something larger. Most of the youth grew up at UUCA, and
therefore it was their only reference for a UU congregation – it felt like it
existed on its own. I imagine that it is also true for some of you that this
congregation, here in Asheville, is your first interaction with Unitarian
Universalism, and so you are not particularly aware of its connection to the
larger denomination.

It can be an important part of UU identity to know that there are other
people who worship together and lift up the same values as we do each week.
It matters that we are not alone. General Assembly is only one way to
accomplish this goal. There are other congregations nearby, as well as the
Cluster (which includes parts of North and South Carolina) and Region. We
also see UUs working together on regional and national campaigns with
Standing on the Side of Love. The Moral Monday action in Winston-Salem on
July 13 is one such event (see the enews FMI).

I invite you to explore ways to become involved with Unitarian Universalism
outside of the congregation — it can be a great complement to our work as a
congregation — sharing best practices and experiences around social justice
initiatives, or just getting to know like-minded people. Check the enews for
announcements, and let me know if you would like more information about any
of these possibilities in the year to come.