Monday, August 21, 2006
My Candidacy for UUA Trustee from the Pacific Southwest District:
In June at General Assembly I became the Trustee to the UUA from our district replacing the Rev. Ned Wight. I was appointed to this position by the PSWD Board and I am appreciative of their confidence in me and m y representation of the PSWD to the UUA. The appointment though is only until an election is held among the congregations of the PSWD. It is my hope to continue to represent your interests to the UUA Board for the next three years as the elected trustee. I ask for your support for my candidacy for three reasons: first, my experience, second my commitment to the District and to Unitarian Universalism and third, my passion for the difference healthy congregations can make to their members and friends, the communities we live in and the nation itself. We can even make a difference in the world we live in and the world we want our children to live in.
I hope you will take a look at my biographical statement where I detail my experience but let me just tell you that I have been an active UU since 1978 and a member of the Orange Coast congregation in Costa Mesa for nearly 26 years. I have served on the PSWD Board, chaired numerous committees in my church, in the District and have served on the board of deBenneville Pines as a member and as President. I have been working closely with congregations in the District as a Compensation Consultant for over 6 years. I am proud to say that I have been involved with more than a dozen of our congregations in the search for ministers and Directors of Religious Education. I have led workshops and retreats for over twenty of our congregations plus others in other districts. I have served the UUA at the previous three General Assemblies in charge of the ushers and tellers in the main Plenary Hall of GA. This job involves the largest and most complex scheduling and coordination of volunteers at GA. It is a lot of work but it is also a lot of fun. This work has brought me into a close working relationship with the Planning Committee and the Commission on Social Witness.
In addition to all my UU volunteer work I have been active in numerous community activities that add to my experience. I have served on the board and as president of my credit union; I have served on the board of my local chamber of commerce where I have also been a small business owner and I am currently on the board and serve as president of the Old Towne Preservation Association. This is a community group whose purpose is to preserve the historic architecture of Orange, CA which is the largest historic district in California. Check it out at http://otpa.org/.
I am also an experienced business person. I am Director of Finance for Hoag Hospitals Medical Practice management division. I have been a consultant to some of the most successful hospitals and medical practices in the country for over twenty years and I have traveled across the country giving presentations to professional associations on the management, governance and operations of medical practices. My experience in working with physicians and administrators has served me well in my volunteer work as a facilitator, arbitrator and developer of retreats and workshops. I am very lucky to able to earn a living doing work that I enjoy and can apply to my volunteer work.
Commitment to the purposes and principles of Unitarian Universalism is a family matter in our house. My wife Nancy has served as President of the PSWD and like me, has also served as President of deBenneville Pines and our own congregation. She has been very supportive and encouraging of my pursuit for this position and she offers to me a model of commitment that I often find difficult to meet but work at faithfully and cheerfully with her encouragement.
My commitment is based on our purposes and principles. Like many others it was these words that spoke to me and convinced me that I had a place as a Unitarian Universalist. I believe this faith makes a difference in our own lives and in our congregations, our communities, the nation and even the world. There are UUs working everywhere to improve the lives of others in service to these purposes and principles. My commitment is to be counted among them.
It is not a blind commitment though. Even as we strive to fulfill these lofty ideals there are very difficult problems that prevent us from being our very best all the time. As we deal with problems of oppression, racism, classism, biases, prejudice, and more we struggle to find solutions and have fallen flat on our collective faces more than once, but to our credit we have a commitment to get back up and tackle tough issues again and again. I share that commitment to keep getting up and doing it again until we start to get it right. These are institutional problems and require an institutional response. The UUA is the best place to bring our collective effort to bear to solve these problems. They interfere with our growth as a denomination and our pursuit of our purposes and principles. It is the job of the trustees to provide the governance and set the performance standards for the staff and officers of the Association. The commitment must be equal to the problems and greater. There will be no solution to every problem in the term of any trustee but the commitment is to continue to faithfully and honestly pursue the solutions. I believe the best way to achieve this is through effective collaboration with the other trustees and the staff. These are some of the smartest, most creative and most committed people I have ever met. Effectiveness in meeting the challenges will come from honest dialogue, doing one’s homework and being a respectful listener and leader. There are many opportunities for all of this on the board. My commitment to you is to be faithful in my work, honest in my communication and fully engaged in the process and the tasks before the board in the coming months and years.
I really believe we can and do make a difference in the lives of many people and my passion is to be part of it because I know we can and we will do even more. The opportunity to serve as a trustee on the UUA Board provides a unique opportunity to exercise that passion which is why, I suppose, there are as many candidates for the position as there are. My passion is focused on growth. The UUA is in the best position to make resources available that promote growth. The ability to develop professional religious leaders, publish texts of liberal religious and social thought, develop standards for just treatment of the staff who support our congregations, develop curricula for lifespan learning and education, pursue causes of social equity and justice, raise funds for supporting these activities and other functions almost too numerous to mention make service to the UUA most compelling to the most passionate. It is just too much! Who wouldn’t want to be trustee?
My passion is for growth but not just for its own sake or on any terms. My passion for growth is rooted in my belief that as larger congregations and more congregations we will have more direct influence on more lives that can be lived to greater purpose. Our communities will benefit from greater philanthropy, more social equity and justice and greater harmony. At one level it sounds impossible. We are so small as a denomination. Even if we doubled in size, would it make a difference? My answer is yes it will and to think otherwise is to also say it makes no difference if we shrink in size. We have a profound message of acceptance, love and compassion. I don’t want us to fail for having not tried. My passion is to be grandly expectant of what we are capable of doing and the influence we can have.
In my own congregation we have a motto of sorts that summarizes my passion for what we do; it is searching for truth, building just communities and caring for one another. We work on it individually and as a congregation and I think it is a good model for right living just about anywhere. It is my passion to bring it to others and Unitarian Universalism has the ability to be the vehicle. That’s a ride I want to be on. I hope you support me and allow me to continue to serve you as the UUA Trustee from the PSWD.