Wednesday, January 21, 2009

UUA Board Votes at January Meeting

At the recently completed Board meeting the following votes were taken:

Moved to amend the the proposed language from the Commission on Appraisal which would amend Article II (Our Purposes and Principles) of our By-laws. The language amends the last sentence of the section on the sources:
Grateful for the traditions that have strengthened our own, we seek to enga
ge cultural and religious practices in ways that call us into right relationship with all.

This passed and then it was moved to forward the amended language for inclusion on the agenda of the General Assembly. It passed as well. It is important to know that this type of motion cannot be amended by the GA delegates; the only action that can be taken is to pass it by a simple majority to the next year's GA where it must then pass by a 2/3 majority in order to change the by-laws. So, while there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss this it cannot be changed, only voted up or down.

Independent Affiliates: votes were passed to no longer accept applications for I
ndependent Affiliates after June 2009 and to no longer certify existing Independent Affiliates after June of 2010. These votes are "contingent upon the UUA staff creating a strategy to honor and harness the incredible talent, passion and experience present in this large group of dedicated UU volunteers. We encourage these important organizations to partner with the staff to create best practices for engaging with congregations, districts, and staff in carrying out our vision for Unitarian Universalism and the hope we have for healing the world." Trustee Jose Ballester was the sole dissenting vote and asked it be recorded.

I will be reporting further on this development and the rationale for it.

Other actions:

Move: The Board will initiate a relationship with the Boards of each of the UU Theological Schools. Passed

Move: The Board request that UUA President and the Congregations WG facilitate a full Board conversation on highlights from the conference in May and working group discussion on "What is a congregation?" as soon as the Board agenda will reasonably allow.

Move: The Board charge the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to coordinate willing partners in addressing the theological education priority of "Ministerial Culture, UU Growth and Impact of Credentialing" identified at the Excellence in Ministry Summit in December 2008.

Move: The Board have a full discussion in April 2009 to determine the exact changes desired to the election process for President and Moderator, and that the changes be voted on at the April 2009 meeting.

Move: The Board select a subcommittee consisting of a member from each th
e Association WG, the Finance Committee, Governance WG to explore what the job of Moderator/Chief Governance Officer would look like under Policy Governance and what a reasonable compensation/per diem stipend or honorarium might be, how many days per year would be considered work days, etc. The subcommittee would present its findings and recommendations at the April 2009 Board Meeting. Passed

Policy re timing of Endowment Fund Calculation

For Fiscal Year 2010, the amount made available for expenditure from the Association’s endowment shall be computed over the thirteen calendar quarters ending on December 31, 2008. This policy applies to all UUA endowed funds including unrestricted, restricted and campaign funds. Passed

Moved to reconsider Annual Program Fund Fee

Recognizing that the economic recession being felt across the country affects Unitarian Universalist congregations, the lives of their members, and the Association, the U
UA Board of Trustees resolves that:

• together we shall seek creative ways of reducing costs while enhancing environmental sustainability, using technology in new ways, and supporting one another through the challenges sure to be ours over the near future

• the Association shall continue to deliver essential services to member congregations and assist them in addressing fiscal challenges, while examining all expenditures and programs carefully for their centrality to our mission.

• we approach these challenges with the spirit of positive reinvention

• Further, we will hold the Annual Program Fund Fair Share contribution for fiscal year 2009-2010 at the current rate of $56 per member and hold the percent of budge
t option for large congregations at the 2008-2009 level.

Passed - This reversed a previously announced increase to $58 for the coming year.

Several changes were made to rules for the Ministerial Fellowship Committee dealing with transfers from and Plural standing with other faiths. Thes ewill be posted to the UUA website.

The following committee appointments were made:

Religious Education Credentialing Committee
Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland, interim chair (through April meeting)
Tandy Scheffler, LREDA

New England Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy
Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee
Janice Marie Johnson, co-chair
Vacancy postponed pending discussions with the committee chairs

Fund for UU Social Responsibility
Posting a recent vacancy, appointment will go through Exec Com

ICUU Board
Nominate Rev. Jill McAllister, Vice President (rather than Trustee at Large, approved Oct 08)
Second nomination of Nihal Attanayake, Phillipines, Trustee at Large

Investment Committee
Need for deep and specific expertise. If appropriate candidate(s) is found before the April meeting, appointment will be made by the Executive Committee.

It was a busy meeting. We had the two candidates for UUA President, Rev. Laurel Hallman and Rev Peter Morales, attending which yiou can read about in my previous post.


While the UUA finances are in good condition and the audit is clean it is also true that the endowment fund that contributes to the general fund each year is down by about 25%. This will affect the budget for several years to come. Staff positions are now frozen and expenses are being reduced by about 10%. Staff presence at GA this year will be reduced by 30% as a cost savings measure. Volunteer committees will also be asked to share in the burden with reduced expenditures as well. This includes the Board.

As always, please contact me with your questions, concerns and comments.

In faith and trust,

Tom Loughrey

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UUA Board Meeting - January 14-18, 2009

It is day two of our five day meeting. What a change from Southern CA! When I left home it was well into the 80's and arriving on a red-eye early Wednesday morning it was about 25 here on Beacon Hill. Welcome to winter!

The agenda and reports for this meeting are online at and so you can check out what we are doing but let me provide a quick summary: Wednesday and Thursday have been primarily for working on ends policies as we transition to policy governance. It is the work that Marge Piercy eloquently described as "common as mud" but work that needs to be done if we are to move ahead with this. Tonight livened up somewhat with a forum for the two candidates for UUA President, Rev. Laurel Hallman and Rev. Peter Morales. The topics related primarily to how the presient relates to and will work with the Board. The forum was recorded and as soon as I have a link to it i will publicize it on the PSWD-L list and the PSWD ADR list as well as here.

I have been asked by some if I am endorsing a candidate and at this time I am not. This decision is primarily one for congregations to make and is one of the few elections that can be done by mail rather than just at GA in June. I encourage congregations to examine both candidtes carefully before they vote or instruct their delegates how to vote. Just Google Laurel Hallman and Peter Morales to get their websites (or just click on their names above) and you can get a good deal of information there. I am happy to give you my impressions of them if you contact me but I can tell you now that both are fine people and both are qualified for the position. They have differences of course and, as has every president, they will each make a unique contribution on the Association if elected.

Tomorrow I am meeting with Rev John Hickey, who is the executive director of the UU Urban Ministry. They are an Independent Affiliate of the UUA and are a nearly two hundred year old benevolent society that helps the neediest here in the Boston area. I convene the Living Our Faith Working Group and we periodically meet with representatives of IAs who are working on social justice issues. I am looking forward to our dialogue and will tell you more about it after our meeting tomorrow.

Do feel free to leave comments or write me at with any questions or concerns. If you need to get hold of me while I am here in Boston just email or call me at 714 878-2210.

In faith and trust,