Youth Caucus at GA 2016 by Joanne Dingus
I wanted to share some of my experiences of General Assembly with you. It was inspirational, trying, exhausting, rejuvenating and humbling.
The Service of the Living Tradition was a moving reminder of the many people who grow and lead our faith. It recognizes ministers, religious educators and music directors who are beginning and continuing work, retiring, and those who have passed this year. Throughout the week other people were recognized for their life’s work and contributions to Unitarian Universalism.
The Synergy service was one of the highlights of the week filled with dynamic music, recognition of bridging youth and a charge to them to use the tools that UUism has provided to navigate their life’s path.
I spent most of my time in the youth caucus room where we had a variety of student led workshops. From games, to songs of justice, to identity, to anti-racism. There was an opening worship for youth and also a youth and young adult combined worship as well as a closing circle. The youth got a chance to question the 3 candidates for UUA president. They also had a personal meeting with Krista Tippett, the Ware lecturer. Within the youth space they posted a map for regional norms, a Good Deeds Board, and a meet up space to help youth stay connected. They also had Community Cards which they distributed and passed along to the greater GA community and General Session Bingo to help them stay engaged.
The youth created a Responsive Resolution to the Action of Immediate Witness on Black Lives Matter. They requested more accountability from the UUA in reporting what is being done, they wanted less talk and patting themselves on the back and more real action.
The Responsive Resolution raised a lot of emotional response. There is a lot of pain in our congregations and several people were able to voice their anger to the community. Time and again people of color have been and are being mistreated and offended in our own churches. There is much work to be done.
We were charged to build bridges between our divisions within our own churches and into our surrounding communities. If we only look inward we will shrivel and die. We must find ways to reach out to our neighbors and grow our faith.
One thing I would like to bring back from this year’s GA is the format of public conversation. It was used different times to raise up different areas of disconnect. I would like to invite our neighbors near our church into a conversation about “What hurts?” and how our church can be of help.
I am grateful for the time I spent this week in our greater UU community, reuniting with old friends and making new ones. I encourage all of you to consider coming to next year’s GA in New Orleans.