Trustee Tidbits

Joan Lund, November, 2012
jlund@uua.org or 813-931-9727

Boston, MA October 17- 21, 2012

This was the last Boston October meeting that I will attend as the Florida District Trustee on the UUA Board of Trustees (BOT). In January we will meet in Philadelphia; April in Boston, and June in Louisville, Ky. In June 2013, the BOT will be transitioning to an eleven member group, with all Trustees being designated “at large”, with an elected term of three years, with the possibility of being nominated for another three year term. The transition period will mean that some Trustees will be elected for less than three years. The current BOT has selected four members of the current BOT, eligible to continue for two year terms; the Nominating Committee will put forth seven candidates for the UUA Board of Trustees. What follows will be some of what went on at the pre-meeting and meeting (from my perspective) and other information. As always if you have questions/comments in general, please email/telephone me at jlund@uua.org or 813-931-9727. The April Board of Trustees Packet was posted before the meeting and can be found at www.uua.org through the BOT link. The UUA Governance Manual can be found at http://uua.org/aboutus/governance/policy/index.shtml. As those of you who routinely read the Trustee Report following a UUA Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting already know, the actual BOT meetings are on the Saturday and Sunday time we spend together.

Pre-Board Training and Information
It was my total pleasure to spend time orienting our youth BOT observer, Katherine Allen, a high school senior from Unity Church, St. Paul, Minnesota, on Tuesday afternoon and dinner together in the evening. Wednesday afternoon the BOT was involved in multicultural competency training with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, under the leadership of Joy Bailey, Director, and Robette Ann Dias, Executive Co-Director and Organizer/Trainer. Cultural competency is a community-centered process that begins with an understanding of the historical realities and an appreciation of a community’s assets in its own cultural context. It is a process that works to enhance the quality of life, create equal access to resources, and promote community partnerships that result in strategic and progressive social change.  Our time was intense and in learning that critical cultural competency is a way of viewing, the world and showing up in all aspects of life. It is being able to hold and value multiple perspectives as well as implying social change.

Also on Wednesday evening the BOT reviewed the report on the General Assembly Mission of the Association Partnership (GAMAP), the GRID and General Assembly Planning Committee (GAPC) meetings. Please access the report in the BOT packet on-line if you would like to see read about the multi-layered work of these groups. Also there is a comprehensive 2011-2012 Arizona Immigration Ministry (AZIM) Outcomes Report which details the strong partnerships with human rights groups in Arizona and the benefits of all the connections made between AZIM and Arizona UU congregations. GA service projects were strong and successful. The Tent City vigil boosted community spirit, made national news, drew attention and made a strong statement declaring the human rights abuses happening there and in Maricopa County.

The BOT voted to sunset the Accountability group with deep appreciation from both us and the GAPC.
ENDS Development Sessions and Committee meetings
These sessions and meetings were held on Thursday and Friday. For many months the BOT has been working on scenarios that address the future of our UUA. In addition we are looking at, and addressing our UU Principles as well as the Gathered Here Initiative input, as we look to the future. Through several small group iterations at this BOT meeting and then sharing with the whole, the BOT reviewed and began revision of our Association ENDS. This work is on-going

I serve on the Committee on Committees (CoC) of the BOT. Much of our present work has been devoted to preparing to put forth to the full BOT the four candidates from the current eligible BOT who would continue in two year terms on the new June, 2013 BOT. As CoC developed over the previous months the number of interested BOT members lessened and ultimately became the four needed for the transition. The four BOT members, enthusiastically elected by the BOT who will continue in June are: Donna Harrison, San Antonio, TX, Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie, Lewis Center, OH, Rev. Sarah Stewart, Plymouth, NH, and Lew Phinney, Colorado Springs, CO.

UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales
President Morales delivered his report in written form, with a limited amount of time in BOT dialogue with him. The oversight and administration of the Congregations and Beyond initiative is being transferred to Pres. Morales’ office, providing a high profile and the ability to coordinate across the may involved staff groups. A consultant will be hired to help develop a strategic vision of communication with an emphasis on the use of social media.

A draft of a profile of UU ministry has been completed. The profile, developed in consultation with the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association (UUMA) and in cooperation with the Education Development Center, will be an important tool for self assessment, professional development, ministerial education and credentialing.

Several senior leaders of the United Church of Christ (UCC) participated in the 1012 Justice GA. Exploration of areas of collaboration and partnership with this faith continues and a delegation from UCC will be in Boston in November.

Fifth Principle Task Force 2009 Report and Related BOT Work  
I convened an ad hoc BOT task force whose mission was to make recommendations relative to the Report of the Fifth Principle Task Force. Our pre-BOT meeting work included consideration of how the BOT would deliberate on the recommendations and bring these recommendations to future GAs. The ad hoc task force recommended that the BOT accept the fundamental objectives of the Fifth Principle Task Force: to make GA more democratic, delegates more accountable; make GA less expensive, less economically discriminatory, less generationally discriminatory, and more active in policy formation. The ad hoc task force had two strongly articulated differences relative to when and how the proposal should be presented. Much of the Saturday morning BOT meeting was spent discussing timing and the various approaches. The ad hoc BOT task force will continue its work over the next months and the BOT has plans to sponsor a workshop and other informational gatherings at GA 2013.

Linkage with UUA member congregations
The BOT governance by policy is required to identify its moral ownership (Sources of Authority and Accountability) beyond its legal owners. At this meeting we approved a draft Source of Operational Definitions as working definitions for Policy 3.0, Global Governance Commitment. For complete definitions contact me or the official minutes of the meeting at uua.org. A summary:

  1. Member congregations (MCs) are the legal owners of our Association of Congregations. They are the BOT’s most direct source of authority and accountability. In additional to legal responsibilities, the relationship between the MCs and BOT is also fiduciary and covenantal, so that religious heritage underpins this relationship. The formal link to MCs is through elected and called leadership, including delegates to GA.
  2. Current and future generations of UUs includes those generations not yet living. At any time “current generations” of UUs includes 4-5 actual generations from children to seniors, including those who are isolated due to mobility or impairment. Youth and young adults may be the BOT’s most significant focus because they are the ones most likely to be at the forefront of cultural movement and technological change, offer vivid expressions of UU ideals and the quality of our beloved community, and represent how our heritage might be lived in the next generations.
  3. The heritage, traditions, and ideals of UUism reminds us of our living tradition which is not sealed, grounds us in what it has meant to be a UU, and helps us to evolve that understanding for the future. In linking with this Source, elements will be selected from many voices that most instructive and articulate how our faith’s heritage, traditions and ideals speak to the question(s) at hand.
  4. The vision of Beloved Community reminds and calls us to our Principles, our covenant, and our best selves. It carries with it an aspirational vision of how we would like to be together; our justice seekers and makers, stories of oppression/counter oppression as we build and live the Beloved Community.
  5. The Spirit of Life, love and the holy is the most personal of the Sources and also the most universal and accessible. This Source links the BOT to what gives life—to what is greater than we are—to what is the ultimate. It comes to us through direct experience, spiritual texts and teachings of world religions, science and reason, Native American and pagan traditions, the arts and literature, and in acts of reconciliation, wholeness, and love.

Additional Information
Adult Full-time Early registration for GA 2013 in Louisville will be $330.

Covenant. BOT passed a GA 2013 Business Resolution: Covenant, Promises and UUA Bylaws, Article II. In summary instructs the BOT to appoint a study commission, subject to the time limits enumerated in bylaw Article IV to engage our member congregations in a process in which we articulate what we promise to one another in the context of Article II. The BOT is instructed to craft a charge for this commission, based on discussions to begin at GA 2013 include developing a covenant among congregations regarding promises to one another, and recommending a process for follow-up work to help develop procedures to keep us in right relationship and allow for reconciliation when those promises are broken.

That’s it UU friends!  Thanks for your support and attention.

Notes on District & Regional Changes

Kenn Hurto, Executive Lead for the Southern Region and Connie Goodbread, Congregational Life Consultant

We know it is not news to you that changes are happening within our Association and Districts. After several years of planning, Florida, Mid-South, Southeast, & Southwest Districts have begun initiating steps toward unifying our identity and working as the “UUA Southern Region.” Our four governing Boards have reduced their size, approved cost and income sharing, and authorized staff to work as a team across District boundaries. With the 2013-14 fiscal year, we will begin a new funding structure that will replace the way congregations now pay our UUA “Annual Program Fund” and District Fair Share. We will be changing from the per member assessment to a single “Ask” based on a percentage of congregational budgets (more detail on that in weeks to come).

In keeping with these changes, with this issue, we close our individual District newsletters. Our plan is to launch a Regional newsletter on October 15th. This will be sent to all who are interested, in each of our 232 congregations across our 13 states. Over the last few years, our editorial goal has been to bring news to congregational leaders about area events and resources to further their leadership and ministry. We will continue to do that in our expanded focus as well.

Other changes: We’ve reduced four administrative offices into two. The Regional Office is in Orlando, staffed by Jessica Curren. The second office is in Charlotte, NC staffed by the Rev. Glenn Johnson. In addition Kathy Charles, who lives in Houston, is our logistics expert and we have hired a company to unify our bookkeeping throughout the Region.

The UUA field staff are now referred to as “Congregational Life Consultants,” doing away with the old “District Executive” and “Program Consultant” distinctions. Connie is one of our Congregational Life Consultants. We have four staff portfolios; Faith and Leadership Development, Connie Goodbread and Jennifer Nichols, Administration and Stewardship, Rev. Susan Smith, Transitions, Rev. Kenn Hurto and Evangelism/Growth, Rev. Sue Sinnamon. Coincidentally, our colleague, Annette Marquis of the Southeast District, is moving to a new position as the “LGBTQ & Multi-cultural Ministries Program Manager” for our UUA. This change prompted a review of our staffing plan; the good news is that we have found opportunity to increase from 6.5 full-time staff to 8, beginning January 1st. This is made possible with a bit of an additional financial stretch by our UUA. We are delighted to have this additional staff to better serve our congregations. (We are now in the midst of seeking two talented people for those positions; see uua.org/careers if you are interested.)

In addition to providing direct service to our congregations as before, Kenn’s duties now include working as the “Lead Executive” for the four Boards and directing the work of our staff group, affectionally known by our nickname, the “HallelUUjah” team. Kenn is also the “go to” person for congregations in the midst of professional leadership transitions.

A brochure describing these changes will be in the mail to our congregations in the next few weeks. We are mindful that change is often disruptive. However, our goal is to make these transitions go smoothly with no disruption of support to our congregations. Of course, congregational leaders may continue to call upon Kenn and Connie as well as any of the Southern Regional staff. Please feel free to call or write if we can address any concern you may have.

Trustee Tidbits

Joan Lund, October, 2012
jlund@uua.org or 813-931-9727

It is widely known that I am a Unitarian Universalist “institutionalist”, which to me means it is important to think, listen, discuss, and be active with other UUs beyond individual congregation walls. There is so much we can be and do when we learn from other UUs and “share the load”. If your congregation does not have a Denominational Affairs Committee (DAC) or perhaps more aptly named Denominational Connections Committee (DCC), maybe it is time to take on responsibilities that might fall to other committees by establishing one.

The primary responsibility of the DAC/DCC is to provide a liaison between the congregation and both our UUA and the district. This committee would meet to discuss issues of denominational concerns and promote education on GA social justice statements in collaboration with other committees. Its job is to foster understanding of, and commitment to, what it means to be a responsible member of our UUA of Congregations. Having a thriving DAC/DCC can increase the congregation’s sense of being connected to a larger faith, even for the majority of UUs who never attend a GA or district meeting. It makes a difference to know a congregation participates in the larger structure, and that our UU values are lived within a wider context.

There are various endeavors a DAC/DCC might undertake such as selecting delegates to attend General Assembly, then after GA organize a “taking home” Sunday service to share some of what happened at our annual assembly. A DAC/DCC could publicize district and continental denominational events, lead a Sunday service or develop short educational promos for Sunday services, and organize adult education courses each year on study/action issues to be considered at GA. The DAC/DC can keep track of UUA programs and services and then write articles for the congregation newsletter. The infusion of denominational awareness in the congregation is important if as a faith we are to grow and thrive and can be the responsibility of the DAC/DCC.

I look forward to receiving your comments, questions, and concerns: jlund@uua.org or 813-380-5020. I wish the best to each of our Florida District congregations, and am available to speak at your Sunday service about our UUA.

UUA Florida District

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