Thursday, November 22, 2007

Visiting with family this Thanksgiving and writing from Carbondale, Illinois. A great day with our kids and two grandsons! 

I have added a few new links to this site you may find useful. UUpdates has a compendium listing of UU websites and blogs that they follow on a regular basis. It is very helpful in locating many different sites, views and perspectives. I have also put in Philocrites which is done by Chris Walton, editor of UUWorld. It is very well done, as you expect from a professional editor and one I refer to frequently.

I have also included a link to my colleague, Linda Laskowski, Trustee from the Pacific Central District. Linda and I are both on the Living Our Faith Working Group. I enjoy reading her comments and perspective and thought you might also.

Finally, the latest PSWD newsletter, The NetwUUrk is out and you can take a look at my comments as well as news from around the District. 

My best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

First let me start with some brief comments about the fires. As I came home from Boston last week I could see fires burning on both sides of the plane as we came into LAX. Many of us on the plane had not heard about the winds and fires before leaving Boston and during that seven hour span the flames really picked up. As I drove home I could see the Santiago fire burning in the hills to the east of our house about eight miles away. It was going to be an ominous night.
The next day at work we started dealing with employees who were evacuated or too bothered with smoke to be able to work. Since our job is the management of medical practices including five urgent care centers we began to get inundated with patients coming in with breathing problems and more. So to say this was an uncommon week is an understatement. I know it has been far worse for others particularly those in San Diego and the mountain communities to our east. I hope you will consider a donation to the fire relief efforts being put together on the PSWD website:

And now, more about what was happening at the UUA Board meeting last Saturday and Sunday:

A good part of the Saturday meeting is taken up with reports from the various committees and working groups along with reports from key staff as well as the financial advisor. Many of these reports are online at 
My own working group (Faith In Action) dealt with some of the issues involving our work on Katrina relief efforts along the Gulf Coast and lessons learned (which may become a GA workshop), a report on a program targeting successful ministries for ministers of color emerging from seminary training in the next few years and finally a brief discussion issues related to accessibility and the move of the inaccessibility's work to the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee (JTWTC). We will be inviting leadership of this committee to meet with us later next year to discuss specifically how the committee is handling issues of accessibility as part of its new charge. I introduced a motion to the working group to consider meeting outside of Boston occasionally and as a result we sent a motion to the whole Board to meet from time to time in a place other than Boston and to do so no later than January 2009. The motion was generally received favorably but members wanted to know at what increased cost so it was tabled until our next meeting for staff to develop some costs of meeting elsewhere. Specifically, we were thinking of New Orleans but that will be up the Coordinating Council to determine. We think we need to be more visible and present with our congregations outside of Boston (not that we have done much with the ones near Boston). Additionally, we will be looking at recommendations that come from the Consultation on Youth ministry late next year. This will give some opportunity to implement some of the recommendations made by the group

The Governance working group spent two hours with each committee looking at policies that we may adopt in the future under policy governance. It was productive work but it shows how much more education we need on how we and the Association will benefit from this style of governance. It will probably be know earlier than June 2009 before we adopt this change if even then.

The Finance Committee reported the UUA audit resulted in a "clean" report by the auditors meaning no material deficiencies or problems. The Association is in sound financial condition. Several recommendations include: raising the GA fee by $5.00; change the budget cycle so that the administration presents its first pass to the board on July 1st defining new initiatives. At the April meeting the administration will present its proposed operating and capital budget; approval of the Beacon Press budget (operating in the black by about $200K); approved additional organizations that may participate in the health plan; also approved for the Board to consider a request to increase the guarantee time period for Canejo Valley UU from 9 years tot he life of the loan. This wa later approved by the Board.

The Committee on Committees approved a new Task Force called the Fifth Principle task force whose job is to look at GA and consider all aspects of it and to later report to the Boad and the Association on any recommendations. This will be a five person task force appointed by the Board. this will be finalized at the January meeting.

Rev. John Morehouse of PUC was approved as a member of the Annual Program fund.

Rev. Cynthia Kane was approved for membership on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. Phyllis Daniel currently is the interim chair and will be succeeded by Rev Wayne Arnason.
Rev Sam Trumbore of Altamont, NY will join with Carol Agate on the Open UUA Implementation Committee with Chair Evelyn Spurgin.
The Accessibility Coommittee has been sunseted and their work moved to JTWTC, chaired by Rev Monica Cummings and Carolyn Cartland. Michael Sallwasser of Long Beach also serves this committee. Two new persons were added including Arthur Tackman of Honolulu and CJ McGregor of Fitchburg, MA.
The complete list of all committees will be published on the UUA website soon along with the minutes.

Reports from Bill Sinkford, Kay Montgomery and Gini Courter will also be online soon as well.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and also feel free to leave comments for all of us to look at. I do not moderate the comments so please remember to honor each other electronically no less than you would if you were talking directly to others.

The January meeting will be the 16-18th. As items of interest come up I will be in touch.

In service and in trust,



Friday, October 19, 2007

Today was our first meeting of the Living Our Faith Working Group of which I am the convener. I have to admit I was somewhat apprehensive about leading this group. Only one member had been a part of this group in the past. What this gave us though was the freedom to reinvent ourselves and our mission. We did not have much time though as the bulk of our time was spent doing the first Board review of prosective policies under policy governance. We were charged with reviewing and revising the policy on the treatment of people. Each of the groups did this with different policies and we then met in the afternoon to review them as a whole Board. By Sunday we will have a chance to do a straw vote on them. It was an interesting process that I think will help me with our own governance on the District Board.

At dinner we met with the Council of UU Camps and Conferences or CU2 C2. de Benneville Board member Clarice Turney from Riverside and LA was there representing the camp. I am sorry I missed Janet James who was here earlier this week. It was a nice get together.

This evening was quite powerful as we spent over two hours working on Antiracism antiopression and multicultural work. We saw a very powerful documentary on issues of race and then had an opportunity to discuss them in small groups. It was a real learning moment for me. Ask me and I will tell you more about it.

As you might see from the pictures fall is definitely here but I understand it is a little late and the peak is not expected for several weeks. These two pictures are from the Boston public gardens. This is a short walk down Beacon Street going toward Arlington Street Church. It was as beautiful as it looks.

More tomorrow when the actual Board meeting starts.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

What a long day! We started at 8 am and finished at 9pm. Mostly it was the retreat today. It was a very good session and I got a lot of very good ideas for working with other boards that I think will be helpful. It certainly will be helpful to our own work on the Board.

This evcenings session was time spent working with a consultant on policy governance. The Board is well on its way to adopting this model and has begun working on it it in earnest. We sahll see how it works with an organizartion in which the CEO is elected and accountable to the member congregations. I shall keep you informed.

More tomorow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today starts the first of five days of the October 2007 UUA Board meetings. It was quite a trip to get here today. A canceled flight and getting here slightly later than planned to start. Not much to report yet. I met with the Committee on Committees where our work is to act as nominators for committee positions. Since it involves people and decisions about them the work is confidential so not much to say about it.

Tonight we opened with a short worship service that opened with a sharing from our moderator, Gini Courter, that Natalie Gulbrandsen had passed away this week. Natalie was a former moderator. I did not know her well but I always enjoyed her leadership at GA. Here is a link about her passing:

Of course in the past few weeks we have lost several people in the PSWD who will be sorely missed; Len McConkie from Ventura and Abe Ohanian from Throop who for me was the face of the UUSC for so many years in this district.

Abe's obituary:

Len's obituary:

You will have to do a search on McConkie

Tomorrow we start the Board retreat. A full day of taking the time to really meet and get to know the board we will be working with for the next two years. Working groups on Friday and the Board meeting starts on Friday night and goes through Sunday. More tomorrow!


Sunday, September 30, 2007

I just got back from deBenneville Pines where my congregation, Orange Coast, had a great weekend with the members from Conejo Valley. There were about 80 of us there. Great weather, great food, good canoeing on Jenks Lake and new friendships. Hard to beat! It was also good to see our District President, Tom Stapleford there as well.

When I got home my copy of the UUA Board Agenda for the October meeting was waiting in the mail. The October meeting is normally busy but with all the new Board mmebers it is a particularly busy agenda. You can see the agenda for yourself at:

I have a few weeks to go over everything and get prepared. If you see something on the agenda you would like more information about, just let me know at


Sunday, September 23, 2007

You can read a copy of my most recent NetwUUrk article at the following site:

It is the complete NetwUUrk if you have not already read it. I am interested in your thoughts and comments particularly before the next UUA Board meeting in mid-October.

In trust and faith,


Monday, September 10, 2007

CoC Meeting 9/12-14

I will be leaving on Tuesday, September 11th for a meeting of the Committee on Committees, or CoC for short. The purpose of this committee is to make recommendations to the UUA Board on persons to take positions for UUA Board appointed committees and slots for UUA Board appointments toother committees and organizations. Since this work involves evaluating individuals and the best fit between individual volunteers and various committee asignments the work is done confidentially so as to preserve individual privacy and keep an appropriate boundary between the interests of good selections and open and transparent governance.

There are about 28 slots to make recommendations for and earlier this summer people interested in various positions were encouraged to file written applications. I am looking forward to this new assignment and I am looking forward to reviewing the qualifications of many very fine people in our Association.