I think this was the 9th General Assembly (and Ministry Days) that I attended in person. It was the first time I attended as a minister serving a US congregation and therefore was able to vote. In some ways, that made it an entirely different experience for me.

There are many elements in the GA experience… rich music-full worship services, engaging programming, throngs of UUs, seeing old friends and making new acquaintances, important business decisions… I expect our UUCW delegates will share more about this. Let me tell you about just two things that I found meaningful.

First, I’m fascinated and impressed by the way our UUA has evolved in the way business is done in this age of virtual participation. I was at the first GA where online voting was allowed (I think it was New Orleans in 2016, long before covid) and the attempt to increase accessibility in this way was clunky at best. This year, discussion between the online community and those in the convention hall ‘seemed’ pretty seamless; all the voting was done electronically (a giant leap for efficiency) and the ability to see/hear discussion from virtual participants on the big screen was a technical marvel. Even among UUCW delegates (at home and in Pittsburgh) we created a group message chat and were able to talk about what was happening on the floor in real-time. Go democracy!

Second, I hope that you’ll take the time to watch the Berry Street Essay. Begun by the Rev. William Ellery Channing, the Berry Street Conference has convened every year save one (during WWII) since 1820, and thus is the oldest lecture series on the North American continent. This year, my colleague Rev. Cecilia Kingman spoke passionately about the conditions for and the rise of fascism…such a critical topic for us to explore and understand…and address! For me, it was one of the highlights of my time at GA. You can watch/listen HERE.

Finally, if I can say one more thing. I LOVE singing with the “Singers of the Living Tradition”, a choir of ministers who rehearse for and sing at the annual Service of the Living Tradition. Thanks to Kelly Bognar for catching this moment and posting it on the UUCW Facebook page. It was such fun!!

So, THANK YOU for supporting me in attending Ministry Days and GA this year. May this experience trickle down to all of you in the coming year!

Rev. Jullan