I believe GA could be even larger if it was every other year, and the time and money spent in the off-year could truly mobilize and transform district, statewide and regional UU relations.
The concept is one I’m familiar with too, and an idea I would be interested to discuss with other candidates for the GA Planning committee.
My first GA was 1999 in Salt Lake City. I was immediatly hooked, and am a GA Junkie. I’ve been a UU Buisness Junkie in my own district, GA just helped amplify that.
I would like to see an expansion of the district meetings. I think that many of the issues we face in UU programming, whether it be Youth ministry, Young Adult and campus ministry, congregational expansion and so on, can be somewhat attributed to weak connections between our congregations, and weak structures within districts and associated groups for supporting their particular missions. I have mentioned previously that I truly like the invitation thaat congregational presidents have gotten to GA this year and last. Where was that invite for congregational presidents to district meetings this year? I’m sure it happened in some places, maybe even in Heartland. If the sharing of ideas is, a coming together of congregations, is one of the goals of GA, why not the same for each district? The only thing that differs, is the scale.
A discussion came up on FUUSE.com recently that discussed the same adjustment of schedule for ConCentric, with the idea of in the off-years, holding regional ConCentrics (according to UUYAN region). If I were the group planning ConCentric and this was my plan, and I heard GA was going to change, I’d make sure my continental ConCentric was GAs off summer, allowing programming to develop at ConCentricContinental or GA, and bleed into the other, with time for it to filter through the regions and districts. If the goal is to get ideas through as many people as possible, and make our programming as inclusiive as possible and well thought out, you couldn’t dream a much better system, assuming all events to be better attended.
I’m a GA Junkie. I’m a Young Adult, with a part time job paying for school too. GA is expensive, taking nearly a months salary when all is said and done. It’d be sad to not go to GA and get energized each year, suck up the power and life of those around me, to sustain me into the next year. The idea of changing GA to be biannually is a BIG one, but I think that with a bit of refocusing and careful planning, there is a lot of merit to it.
Who knows? Not worrying about GA every year might let me focus on making my district annual meeting something just as spiritually charging.