What Does General Assembly Have To Do With ME?

I attended my first General Assembly (GA) in 1984. I had been a UU for about 5 years, and the GA experience opened up whole worlds of new experiences for me. Even though I was a member of a large UU church, I learned that there was so much more going on among UU’s and so much to add to my own personal worldview. I was not able to attend another GA until 1993, but the window had been opened.

In-person GA is an amazing experience, but the past 2 GAs have been virtual. I’m sure this stressed those working to make the event happen, but what I discovered was that virtual GA is also amazing, and this type of participation expands what is possible for those who cannot take the time and travel. Still, this year, I plan to attend in person. It’s June 22-26, in Portland, OR. Both virtual and in-person experiences can be invaluable.

General Assembly is not just business meetings, though that is how the actual business is conducted. There are workshops on a huge variety of topics, from theology to music to justice. There are worship services each day, and the Sunday worship service is one of the few places UUs can be part of a UU worship experience along with several thousand other UUs. GA can be a family event, too. My youngest child, Katie, found friends that she looked forward to rejoining about every other year. And my oldest child, Margaret, turned out to be a bit of a policy geek. I would run into her at plenary sessions, where the Youth Caucus worked hard to craft an amendment to a resolution that year.

Leaders and aspiring leaders can watch and participate in the nuts and bolts of crafting resolutions or planning actions. GA is the place to cross paths with UUs who are passionate about ideas and causes. Just wandering the exhibit hall is a way to discover resources and new perspectives. Whether your motivations include leadership or personal development or satisfying curiosity, GA is an opportunity without compare.

Being a delegate from our congregation allows access to the business part of GA, but non-delegate attendance is fine, too. Delegate or non-delegate, virtual or in-person, GA isn’t something just for “them”. If you want more information, just ask. There is a website full of information, too. This is really an experience not to be missed.
— Mary Schatzman