May 30, 2020

Sangerville couple reports on U.U. national assembly

SANGERVILLE — The Rev. Alexander Craig and his wife, Penny, of Sangerville have returned from the 30th annual Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, held June 20-25 in Hollywood, Fla.

Craig represented the First Universalist Church of Dexter, and his wife represented the First Universalist Church of Sangerville. The General Assembly, which is the annual conference event for this liberal organization, enables each member congregation of the association to participate directly and equally in UUA policy-making and institutional processes.

More than 2,000 Unitarian Universalists from member congregations of the association attended and participated in hundreds of workshops, business meetings and worship services in Hollywood’s Diplomat Hotel.

The theme of the 1991 General Assembly was “Speak to the Earth, and It Shall Teach Thee,” a quote from Job 12:8, King James Bible. The assembly focused on the environment and the connection of humans to all living things.

In keeping with this year’s emphasis on the environment, the Ware Lecture was presented by Elizabeth Dodson Gray, co-director of the Bolton Institute for a Sustainable Future, and an environmentalist, futurist and feminist theologian. She addressed the need to think differently about the underlying theology of the earth.

Other highlights included the opening celebration featuring Rosemary Bray McNatt, an editor of the New York Times Book Review; an address by Association President William F. Schulz. Schulz spoke on the need for death with dignity, a principle supported by many Unitarian Universalists, and in support of Congress’ overturning the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion information, Rust vs. Sullivan.

Also, there were appearances by U.S. Rep. Thomas Andrews of Maine, reporting on his visit to El Salvador in February as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s delegation to the region, and the Rev. Perfecto G. Sienes, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines.

There was a presentation of the 1991 Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation Ministry to Women Award to the National Coalition Against Violence, a grassroots organization dedicated to ending violence in the lives of women and children.

In addition, there was a demonstration of the association’s opposition to Florida’s sodomy laws, which restrict the civil rights of homosexuals; an early-morning march and rally to preserve the Florida Everglades at the Hollywood Art and Culture Center beach area, restating the assembly’s theme of environmental preservation; and the annual Service of the Living Tradition, with this year’s sermon delivered by the noted author, writer and television commentator, the Rev. Dr. F. Forrester Church.

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