Thursday, May 14, 2009

Endorsement for Rev. Laurel Hallman

After much consideration I have decided to endorse Rev. Laurel Hallman for President of the UUA. This was not an easy decision as we have two very fine and well qualified candidates for this position but in the end I decided that Laurel's message, engagement with the board and experience lead me to support her.

I offer this endorsement to the congregations in the PSWD, not to influence your own informed vote, but rather because I believe you should know where I stand on issues important to our Association. As always I invite your comments and questions.

However this may all turn out I will support whomever is our next president in this work because it is the work that all this is about. Below is my endorsement statement to Laurel's campaign:

Endorsement for Rev. Laurel Hallman

Two plus years ago when I first heard Laurel would be a candidate for UUA President I had to confess the only thing I knew about her was she was a minister of the large church in Dallas. That was it. I decided I needed to find out more and one of the first things I did was read the Berry Street Essay she delivered to her colleagues in 2003. I was moved by what I learned. The deepness of her experience, her intellect, her compassion and her reverence for language and the power of language came through clearly to me. In her essay, Laurel said that her work in preparing a lesson or sermon is “…to speak to the depth of human experience”. This is what I expect our president to be doing. This is not easy to do but I am convinced Laurel is up to the task.

What I have observed in the past year of seeing Laurel at our board meetings is someone who is keenly observant and engaged in the work and who understands the inability we sometimes have when we “live more deeply than we think”. She has challenged us to find ways to articulate that, which is deeper than what we can speak, and she stands prepared to work collaboratively with the board, the staff and most important, our congregations in this struggle.

Challenging times are here with us now and will be for some time to come. When we are most challenged we need the wisdom, insight, experience and passion that Laurel brings from her lengthy and successful ministry. I am pleased to endorse her candidacy for President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

With deep appreciation for all those who serve others,

In faith and trust,

Tom Loughrey
UUA Trustee from the Pacific Southwest District

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

See You At General Assembly!

As I write this we are just about six weeks out from the start of General Assembly in Salt Lake City. I for one am really looking forward to returning to Utah. We have a very exciting agenda for the meeting including the election of a new president, some at-large trustees and the re-election of our moderator and financial advisor. UU University is going to be part of GA this time instead of a “pre-GA” event. Everyone gets to participate! The PSWD has always been known to send a very strong contingent of congregational representatives to GA. It was a little light last year in Fort Lauderdale but I expect we will once again have a strong showing from this corner of the country.

One item on the agenda that I am looking forward to is the vote on continuing the discussion of Article II of our Bylaws, better known as our Purposes and Principles. They have been under review by the Commission on Appraisal and now we have a chance to say either we want to continue a discussion of them for another year or no, we like them just the way they are so “leave ‘em alone”! Personally, I’m fine with a decision to leave them alone but I want that to be an informed decision if that is the way it goes. The most informed decision will come if we take the time to study this fundamental statement for the next year; so I am recommending a vote to pass the proposed revision for another year of study and discussion. In 2010 in Minneapolis, if we still want to make a change and two-thirds agree, then we will have a well-thought out revision of one of the most important parts of our bylaws.

If you have not made a decision yet as to whether to attend GA let me encourage you to do so. It is educational, inspirational, informational, emotional and renewing. There are great entertainment events going on both at GA and in the community (last GA I saw a wonderful organ recital in the Mormon Tabernacle – fabulous). If you have the time for a pre or post GA tour Utah has some of the most magnificent natural wonders in the country. It is either a fairly easy two day drive (or one hard day’s drive) or there are still good rates on flights from the southwest. So get some friends or family together, share a ride, share a room and have one of the best weeks of the summer in Salt Lake City this June! See you at GA!

Tom Loughrey
UUA Trustee from the PSWD