The Financial Advisor reports annually to the General Assembly and is accountable only to that body, but the work takes place in countless meetings in the Board Room at 25 Beacon Street, with dedicated people who share my commitment to this extraordinary denomination.
Denominational involvement started for me like a blind date that matured into a full-fledged love affair. It was 1962 and the Rev. Arnold F. Westwood, our minister in The Unitarian Church in Westport, discovered I was going to be in Washington, DC. visiting my in-laws during General Assembly time. He insisted I go as a delegate, possibly Westport’s first delegate, and when Arnold pressed, one never resisted. I soon realized a General Assembly was more compelling than spending time with my in-laws. It was the first year after Merger, and I saw and listened in awe. I had no idea of the action which lay ahead for me.
I continued attending GAs, year after year, and when the children were old enough to leave, Carolyn attended with me. The New York GA in 1974 was our first together, and by then, I was chairing the Board of Trustees in Westport for the second time. Going to GA became part of our early summer routine - - we had become GA junkies! We were frequently asked by our own congregants what was so compelling about GAs, and our minister, the Rev. Edwin A. Lane, suggested I explain it at a Sunday Morning Service, and somehow, it came out in poetry.
“I meet a lot of people from day to day
Who are hard to talk to --
But I never meet them at General Assemblies.
We come from many different places and perspectives.
But we have a great deal in common,
We know each other well,
Before we even meet.
We take up from there
As if we were old friends,
Apart since last year.
The importance of the General Assembly
Lies not only in what happens on the floor at the plenaries –
It is in the sense of interconnectedness
Revealed and reinforced,
The exchange of energy and of good feeling,
The stimulation of the religious, the ethical,
And the intellectual, within.
We know we are not a religious persuasion of great numbers
And so it is especially important for us to gather
And touch each other’s lives.”