Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Report from Your UUA Trustee (from the Fall 2008 NetwUUrk)

The October UUA Board meeting is the busiest meeting we have each year. It is the first time we get together since GA and often have new people joining us. This year was no exception. It was jammed packed from Wednesday through Sunday. The highlight of this meeting for me was meeting with the New England Regional Group meeting in Worcester, MA. This gathering included four districts in New England. Over three hundred attendees. The UUA Board went in mass and used the opportunity to explore in small groups our newly developed mission and goals which we are working on in preparation for a transition to Policy Governance and developing our “Ends” statements.

The Ends statements answer the question “what difference do we want to make, to whom and at what cost?” We are still in the process of doing this but it was very helpful to bounce this off the people from many congregations and get some real feedback. It was well worth our trip.

At about the same time as the meetings in Boston were occurring the market was going through some of its most extreme moves. A 900 point gain one day followed by an 800 plus drop the next. The UUA Investment Fund has been structured to be balanced enough so that when some segments drop and others rise they tend to set each other off. In times like these though nothing is balanced and the fund has taken some significant losses. This will ultimately affect the UUA budget as a set percentage is transferred from the fund to our general fund each year. To prevent wild swings in income the amount transferred is based on average balances over 13 quarters. In the short term it will have little effect on the operating budget but it will have an effect for a number of years even when the markets recover. Of course time will tell and the finance committee, our financial advisor, Dan Brodie, and our treasurer, Tim Brennan are paying very close attention. The Board voted to approve a revised and lowered budget for the coming year to reflect these realities.

One highlight of the meeting was the presence through most of the meeting of the two candidates for president of the UUA, Reverend Laurel Hallman of Dallas and Rev. Peter Morales of Golden, CO. They had an opportunity to present a forum at the NERG meeting. To this point I have not endorsed a candidate. I encourage each of our congregations to look at the websites for each candidate and learn more about both of them. They are both fine people with somewhat different views of how they see the future of our Association. We will be voting at GA and I understand both candidates will have some time to be with us in the PSWD. Stay tuned.

The minutes for the Board meeting will be published shortly and be available online at

On a personal note, I have been asked to be the Board liaison to the Committee on Socially Responsible Investing. A great group of people who bring an interesting mix of investment expertise and social justice work together. In very practical ways they are working to help us make sure our investments are in sync with our values.

Some of you who have seen me recently know that I have been limping to the point of using a cane. It is degenerative joint disease in my left knee due to arthritis. This Friday, November 7th, I will have a total left knee replacement. I am looking forward to having full use of my knee and am encouraged by the success so many others have had with this procedure. I will let you know how it goes.

Finally, after much thought I have realized that I am very deeply involved in many aspects of my work on the UUA Board and feel that I need to continue my work on the committees, task forces and working groups I serve. I have been privileged to be put into some leadership positions and look forward to continuing this work. To that end I am pleased to announce that it would be my privilege to continue to serve you as the Trustee to the UUA Board from the PSWD. Nomination forms are out now to congregation presidents and I will be nominated by my own congregation for another term. Nancy Edmundson from Santa Barbara has agreed to be my campaign chairperson and I welcome her support and encouragement.

My offer to speak at your congregation continues to be open and I look forward to hearing from you about any questions concerning the UUA,

In faith and trust,

Tom Loughrey