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


Robin Edgar said...


Do you mind if I ask if this particular "electronic communication" aka email that I sent to you, all other UUA Trustees, UUA President Bill Sinkford, UUA Moderator Gini Courter, and several appropriate UUA administrators such as Ministerial Fellowship Committee Executive Secretary Rev. Beth Miller and UUA Congregational Services Director Rev. Tracey Robinson-Harris, on Thursday January 15th, was brought up at the UUA Board of Trustees meeting and its truth and meaning freely and responsibly discussed?

If not.

May I ask, "Why not?"

If so.

May I ask, "What was the upshot?"

Because it has been almost a week since I sent that important "electronic communication" to you and other UUA leaders and I have not yet seen the slightest response to. From where I stand it seems to me that you and other UUA leaders, most notably UUA President Bill Sinkford, are yet again standing on the side of "love" as in nothing, nada, zero, absolument rien and even l'oeuf. . .

Fw: When Will *You* And Other UUA Leaders Stand On The Side Of Love For ALL Victims Of Clergy Misconduct

Thursday, January 15, 2009 4:30 PM
From: "Robin Edgar"


Dear Any and All UUA Trustees,

May I direct your attention and *action* to the following "electronic communications"?

Adios My Friends,

Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger

--- On Thu, 1/15/09, Robin Edgar wrote:

From: Robin Edgar
Subject: When Will *You* And Other UUA Leaders Stand On The Side Of Love For ALL Victims Of Clergy Misconduct
To: "William Sinkford", "Bill Sinkford"
Cc:,, "Tracey Robinson-Harris"

Received: Thursday, January 15, 2009, 4:16 PM

Dear President Sinkford,

Please forgive me for being "less than diplomatic" in the following "electronic communication". I asked a good number of U*Us to help me draft a more diplomatic version of this communication both indirectly in a public blog post -

and directly via email and other messaging methods. Apparently nobody wants me to be more diplomatic than the original 'Open Letter' as it is posted on the internet so I will let it stand on the side of love for any and all victims of clergy misconduct perpetrated by U*U ministers and perpetuated by the UUA, its very aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee, implicated "Less Than Safe" U*U congregations and, often by other individual U*Us. Herewith the "rough draft" of my open letter to you as published on The Emerson Avenger blog on Woden's Day January 7th, 2009. I will be sharing it, along with a good number of my other "obviously deep concerns", as widely as possible within the U*U World and real world.

Dear President Sinkford,

I read with interest your 2008 Holiday message pastoral letter titled 'Choosing Love This Holiday Season'. In it you say that now, as much as ever, it is critical that we affirm the primacy of love and hope. It is my hope that you will affirm the primacy of love and provide some tangible hope for any and all victims of U*U clergy misconduct by taking steps to ensure that the UUA actually lives up to its apparently forgotten pledge to bend towards justice for victims of clergy misconduct.

You know as well as I do that there are a number of people whose complaints about clergy misconduct, including complaints about clergy sexual misconduct, have never been satisfactorily redressed by the UUA and/or its Ministerial Fellowship Committee. There are a number of victims of clergy misconduct, such as myself just for one, whose clergy misconduct complaints have never been redressed in the slightest manner by the UUA because they were quite arbitrarily dismissed and rejected by UUA administrators and/or the MFC at the outset. Other victims complaints have been addressed by the UUA but in a manner that did not provide satisfactory redress to the victims. On the one hand the UUA talks about providing restorative justice for *all* victims/survivors of clergy misconduct but on the other hand there is documentary evidence suggesting that the UUA has done little or nothing to provide any restorative justice to victims/survivors and has even backed away from, or failed to implement, recommended measures for providing various forms of restorative justice.

How can you go all the way to South Africa, to ostensibly learn about its rather questionable model of truth and reconciliation that allowed serious crimes to go unpunished and created impunity for serious human rights abusers, yet be apparently unready, unwilling, and possibly even unable to move towards responsibly acknowledging the truth about U*U clergy misconduct and seeking genuine reconciliation with all victims of clergy misconduct perpetrated by U*U ministers by providing some real and tangible restorative justice to them? How can you say "we create warm sanctuaries" knowing full well that the UUA allows some unsafe U*U congregations to coldly turn their backs on victims/survivors of clergy misconduct?

You, the UUA, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and implicated unsafe U*U congregations, have an opportunity to shine the light of truth on U*U clergy misconduct of all kinds, and shine the light of compassion on all victims of all forms of clergy misconduct. When will you and the UUA actually take this opportunity to serve the long term larger good of the U*U religious community? I call upon you, the UUA, and the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to not only find ways to choose love for all victims of clergy misconduct but to tangibly show love and compassion for all victims/survivors of U*U clergy misconduct before this year's UUA GA in Salt Lake City.

February 14th, 2009, will mark the thirteenth anniversary of my initial clergy misconduct complaint against Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal which was unjustly, inequitably, and far from compassionately rejected by the UUA and MFC in the spring of 2006. I, the Unitarian Church of Montreal, the UUA, and the greater U*U religious community are still dealing with the consequences of the UUA's negligent and effectively complicit response to my legitimate grievances, serious grievances that you yourself once described as my "obviously deep concerns". You and the UUA dropped the ball when I gave you opportunities to correct the UUA's past mistakes. I am still waiting for you and the UUA to respond to my deep concerns in a manner that actually lives up to U*U principles that affirm justice, equity and compassion in human relations. You have yet to live up to your own personal religious rhetoric about "waging peace" and "standing on the side of love" in your less than right relations with me. I have given you several opportunities to put into practice what you preach and you have done nothing. Need I remind you what Edmund Burke is reputed to have said about good people who do nothing? Allow me to use disillusioned U*U deacon David G. Markham's words instead -

"As I learned in the 60s, a person is either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. People who "cop out" are often part of the problem in that it leaves the status quo intact."

You, the UUA, and its all too aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee have repeatedly chosen to "cop out" and have thus left the status quo, to say nothing of the evil. . . intact. Worse than that, as a result of your negligence the conflict not only remains unresolved but has been escalated and aggravated. The status quo today is actually worse that the status quo when I invited you to wage peace with me following your 2007 Holiday Message calling upon U*Us to engage in waging peace in 2008, this is in turn worse than the status quo in 2006 when I invited you to examine your conscience and bend towards justice. Where might the U*U World be today if you had taken steps to ensure that my obviously deep concerns were responsibly addressed and redressed back in 2002 when I first officially shared my concerns with you? How much longer will you and the UUA continue to choose "love" as in choosing to do absolutely nothing to responsibly redress my serious grievances in accordance with U*U principles and ideals President Sinkford?

I think that February 14th of this year is an appropriate symbolic deadline for me to set for you to actually choose love as in "concern for the well-being of others" and to begin waging peace with me and other victims of U*U clergy misconduct. If by February 14th I come to the regrettable final conclusion that you are still unready, unwilling, or indeed somehow unable to sincerely "choose love" and begin genuinely "waging peace" with me and other victims of U*U clergy misconduct I will share my obviously deep concerns with UUA Presidential candidates Rev. Laurel Hallman and Rev. Peter Morales and see if they are any better at living up to U*U principles and your religious rhetoric than you are.


Robin Edgar

Steve Caldwell said...


I've got a procedural question -- since the Article II (Principles and Purposes) draft cannot be amended by GA delegates, will congregations be allowed to vote on this by absentee ballot?

Steve Caldwell
All Souls UU - Shreveport LA

Robin Edgar said...


If for some reason you did not receive that email which I sent to you and all other UUA Trustees over a week ago now I would appreciate it if you could take steps to ensure that all other UUA Trustees, and possibly even, UUA Moderator Gini Courter are made aware of it. You need not bother to pass it on to outgoing UUA President Bill Sinkford. If he yet again willfully chooses to remain in the dark he is most welcome to his chosen fate.

If you and most if not all UUA Trustees did in fact receive that "electronic communication" when it was sent to you on Thursday January 15th I would appreciate a formal confirmation of receipt from an appropriate representative of UUA Trustees if not the full UUA Board via a responding email. I do understand that you and others may be "under instructions" from top level UUA leaders, and even UUA legal counsel, not to respond to my email(s) or other forms of "electronic communication" such as this one, in any way shape or form. If this is the case I will simply ask you and all other UUA Trustees to freely and responsibly exercise your right of *conscience*, to say nothing of the "democratic process" in the fullest sense of the phrase, that the fifth principle of U*Uism ostensibly calls for.


Robin Edgar

Robin Edgar said...

If nothing else Tom I would like to personally thank you for not deleting my two comments here.


Robin Edgar

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