On being a (virtual) GA delegate


My first experience as a delegate to the Unitarian Universalist Association General
Assembly –

How in the world would I know how to vote?

I attended GA virtually and, partly because of the inherent isolation of a computer
screen- no elevator chats or dinner conversations- I was concerned. Would I be
prepared to make decisions on behalf of the congregation? I imagined staring at a
lengthy ballot of dull bylaws changes, unfamiliar issues, and candidate names that
meant nothing to me.

As it turned out, I had a great experience. A forum gave us the chance to hear each of
the candidates for contested board seats answer questions. The UUA offered online
workshops that provided delegates with comprehensive information about each of the
issues as well as the process, with ample opportunity to ask questions. We could also
join online discussions with other delegates (including those attending in-person).
The workshops focused on the next ballot, so I never felt overwhelmed with information.
After the workshop, delegates had time to think over the issue as they experienced the
other opportunities of virtual GA. Each morning an email informed us of that day’s votes,
when the ballot would be available, and the deadline for voting. At the General Sessions
(business meetings), speakers shared summaries of the issues for the entire audience
and provided both in-person and virtual delegates the additional option of speaking in
favor of, or in opposition to, the items on the ballot.

I had more than enough information, and never felt that being a delegate prevented me
from attending the (limited) online sessions. I did opt out of some program opportunities
because of screen exhaustion!

Next year’s General Assembly will be in Pittsburgh, with a virtual option. It will be the
first time that the Article II Commission will present its proposed changes to the UUA
Bylaws after a multi-year review.

Purposes, sources, principles, oh my! If you’ve considered being a UUCT delegate,
offer your service next year. GA 2023 is guaranteed to be interesting!