Sunday, May 04, 2008

Here is my article for the May edition of the PSWD NetwUUrk:

UUA Trustee Report

What a busy and exciting two week period!First the UUA Board meeting in Boston followed by the PSW District Assembly in Del mar last weekend. It is always wonderful to be around so many devoted UUs.

This was the last UUA Board meeting before GA in Ft. Lauderdale and a good deal of time was spent on Friday going over preparations for workshops sponsored by the Board at GA. It appears the registrations for this year are falling short of where they were at this same point last year before GA. Nonetheless, it looks like we can still expect to see a gathering of more than 4,000 UUs at Ft. Lauderdale. GA will kick off with a pre-opening gathering of Districts. This will be an opportunity for us to get together with others from the PSWD to see who is there, meet some of the District leadership and hear from some of the UUA leadership. I hope you will make it a priority to be there then and I look forward to seeing as many PSWD folk that can be there.

The UUA Board is going through a process now that is nearing completion on changing our governance process to a form known as Policy Governance. This type of governance focuses on specific ends for the Association and defines some roles of the staff and the Board in that process. Have approached this work critically and have had to be convinced it is an appropriate way for a religious organization that has always depended on volunteers to conduct its work. As we approach developing these ends I remain critical but also supportive. We are taking our time, adapting the process as we need for a religious body such as ours and being guided by other UUs who have done this work before. We use this type of governance on our own district board and have been working with it effectively.

A major item for the Board at this meeting has been working with youth. Perhaps you have heard that YRUU Steering Committee has disbanded. You can see a letter on this at

The Steering Committee has inactivated itself and the Board has decided to work with youth to develop a successor organization that would develop a new youth organization that comes out of the work of the Consultation To and With Youth Ministry. The Board has not removed YRUU as a sponsored organization and it has given the successor organizing committee the same funding as was provided last year. The Board unanimously voted to place a motion before the GA on the empowerment of Youth and Young Adults. In passing this the following text was included with the recording of the vote:

“VOTED: The administration shall make the transition in youth ministry an institutional priority now. This process must be transparent and those responsible for implementation must be in authentic relationship with the youth community and its elected leadership. During this transition, the administration must provide monthly progress reports to the Board. The administration shall ensure that UUA support for youth ministry programming is maintained throughout the transitional period.”

The Budget for 2009 was approved and calls for a very modest increase in spending of about .4%. The 2010 budget was accepted and calls for a $2 increase per member in support of the Association from each congregation. This will make a total contribution of $58 per member by 2010.

I did vote for the budget this year (last year I did not) even though I have some reservations about the $2 increase. For every year for over twenty years the level of support has been increased by $2 each year. Obviously the $2 increase in recent years has much less purchasing power than the same $2 did nearly twenty years ago. Increases in the congregational support of the UUA have trailed increases in congregational budgets virtually every year. This means the UUA must find alternative ways to fund programs that are much less stable than congregational funding from the Annual program Fund (APF). I believe in paying our bills and being good stewards of programs we want. I think we can do a better job of funding these than we are doing now with less dependence on our endowed funds and fund raising appeals such as Friends of the UUA. I must note I have the same concern for our district and how we fund its work.

One of the most exciting events of the Board meeting came during the report of Beacon Press. First, we were thrilled to hear that Beacon Press is continuing to operate profitably. The only subsidy to the Press is for space at the UUA offices in Boston. But the best news came on several announcements: Mary Oliver's poetry continues to be very popular and a very good seller and should continue to do so. Second, the Press will be publishing the Graphic novel version of Howard Zinn's “Peoples History of the United States”. It is anticipated to do well. Finally, and most notably. Beacon Press is the only publishing company currently in negotiation with the family of Martin Luther King, Jr to publish all his writings, letters and sermons. This is not a done deal but we are the only ones they are talking to right now. This would be momentous on the order of the Beacon Press Publication of The Pentagon Papers. We shall see where it goes but we hope for the best.

The full agenda for the past meeting including all reports is on line at I encourage you to take a look. If you have any questions about any of he work we are doing (or not doing) please let me know. I would enjoy talking to you about it. You can also see my blog at

Tom Loughrey
714 997-1973

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