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From the Road: Our Religious, Compassionate Justice GA

GA is over and I am exhausted! But what a wondrous, satisfying, joyful fatigue this is. I have rarely felt such gratitude—gratitude for colleagues, for our partners, for our guest speakers. My head is still spinning.

This was an extraordinary General Assembly. In the days ahead I want to reflect on why so many of us were profoundly moved. Something powerful happened that goes beyond excellent programming.

Here are some initial reflections.

First, this was the most religious GA I have ever experienced. Because we designated this as a “Justice GA,” everything revolved around our acting from our core religious value of compassion. Part of me wants to say, “Well, duh.” A religious association meets with a religious focus–what a concept. Yet I am thinking that the religious part of GA often feels like something added on.

Another key factor was the fact that we past the abstract. “Justice” and “right relations” can seem cold, formal and legalistic. At this GA justice was about the treatment of real people. At this GA we kept it real. We need to remember that.

Closely related to that is the fact that we did this GA in close cooperation with local partners. I am thinking that this helped us get outside our purely UU concerns. Our partners (and what wonderful, brave, committed partners we have) opened us up.

Yet another aspect of this GA was the presence of youth and young adults. Our youth enrollment was double what it has been. Having that many young people has a pervasive effect. Simply put, they raise the energy a couple of notches. Youth I spoke to told me that is was the focus on justice and public witness that attracted them.

Hmmm. A profound religious focus. Getting real. Working with partners. Involving more youth. We could do a lot worse in the future.

Were you at GA? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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