Friday, June 26, 2009

A much better day (Louise)

Photo by Bill Gracey

Ah, finally some meaty business at Plenary! Today we heard reports from a number of important committees and task forces, but not nearly as many as at some previous GAs. It felt like a good mix, and each report was fairly brief. In the past, a few groups have given their reports in the form of skits or songs, usually quite badly. Thankfully, all were pretty standard today. I don't mind a little humor or variety, but those often go hand-in-hand with taking too much time to say too little.

The preliminary number of delegates attending this year is 1,928, and total folks registered is 3,349. I thought that was fewer than previous years, but can't find any notes here in the blog. Events and rooms definitely seem less crowded this year. Either the Salt Palace is plenty spacious, or the numbers are down, except for choir. Only 150 people are admitted into the choir this year, and there is a waiting list.

Highlights for me today:

The GA Service Project is the Utah Pride Center, a LGBT support group that grows each year. This year they held a Pride Prom, with over 700 youth attending. Queer youth are still at a higher risk of suicide, abuse and neglect, so having such a great place for them to hang out and receive love and support is worth our attention and money.

Two great quotes from the Investment Committee: "We invest with the aim of tilting the world toward justice." "Greed and fear are not an investment strategy."

In this tough economic year, the Shelter Rock UU congregation increased its gifts by over 3%. Shelter Rock, well, rocks!

The musicians who played during the offering were super: Emma's Revolution. Indie Folkies singing inspiring protest songs. Then we sang "Standing on the Side of Love," one of my favorites, just for the joy of it.

The voting part of the meeting was the debate on the Statement of Conscience (SOC), "Peacemaking." Ultimately, we voted to refer it to the committee on Social Witness, but not before much lively debate, a few moments of process confusion, and some deft moderating by Gini Courter. Very interesting and invigorating! I just love this stuff.

I was especially proud when a Youth Caucus (YC) representative from my old congregation, The UU Church of Palo Alto, stood at the CON microphone to speak against an amendment. He stated that the YC so strongly opposed the amendment that if it passed, the YC would have to withdraw their support of the entire SOC. I was impressed that the YC could so clearly state their consensus and was prepared to do so. Interestingly, what they opposed was making the SOC too pacifist. That our youth have such a strongly realistic streak is amazing to me.

After plenary, we ducked out to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, the Blue Iguana. Then it was on to the third choir rehearsal. Note to self, for future reference: no Mexican food within an hour before singing. I kept hearing the meditation chant in my head, "When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out chips and salsa." Urp! Despite my being bloated, not devoted, we sound pretty good. I'm psyched that we'll be wearing stoles for the worship service, just like a real church choir.

Photo by mahalie

The decision to skip the second half of UU University this morning was clearly the right thing to do. Having a little more sleep and then some downtime this morning for blogging, reading email and eating a leisurely breakfast really made a difference in my energy levels today. We also chose not to attend the Service of the Living Tradition, although it I had warm and fuzzy feelings just watching all the ministers line up in their formal academic and ministerial robes.

I just need to remember this for next GA...I can't do everything. Plenaries, choir, booth duty, and a handful of worship services and special events are all I can handle. Leaving enough time for quality sleep and unrushed, healthy meals is vital.

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