Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Report from your UUA Trustee: Tom Loughrey

The October meeting of the Board in odd numbered years is always our largest and lengthiest meeting in the two year time frame. This is because new trustees from about one-third of the districts come in at that time. New committee assignments, new officers and more. This year it was even more significant because of our new leadership under Rev. Peter Morales as President of the Association. While all of this might well be enough change we made it even more complex by formally adopting our new form of governance called “Policy Governance”, a term coined by John Carver who developed the principles behind it. Because of the large amount of work to be done we started meeting on Tuesday at 8AM and finished after 5 PM on Sunday of our October meeting week. It was a very lengthy agenda and each day went twelve or more hours. It is oddly, tiring and rewarding work.

I am going to use my blog to fill you in on some of the details we covered in working under this new policy governance model. One of the things we are doing as individuals is sharing our individual stories and observations with each other to share with our districts. So, you will hear some from me but you will also hear from some of my colleagues as well.

There was of course the business of the Association. As you might imagine, finances are an important part of our responsibility. The Association has been very conservative in its estimates of future income and expenses and has presented a balanced budget previously to us. As circumstances change the budget is projected and amended as needed to reflect the realities of new events. Fortunately, religious organizations retain a high position in the pecking order of individuals in their giving and so far, we have found this to be true for us as well. We anticipate fair share giving to be on target for projections. The other significant part of our income comes from our endowment fund. It is based on an average of five percent of the fund balance over the previous 13 quarters. This means that when the market goes down we don’t have a huge drop in income but it takes a long time to get back to where you were even when the market turns around. So, we will have to deal with reduced income for several more years.

In other actions the board voted to meet in San Antonio, TX at its January 2010 meeting. We don’t meet outside of Boston very often, other than GA, so this is a big change for us as we try to bring our business to some other parts of the country.

We also requested from the staff a report on where we are currently on the issues of District and National youth leadership along with the administration’s vision for this in the near future and some models of what is being done in other denominations.

Numerous appointments to committees were made and individuals are being notified now about those appointments. That list along with all the minutes of the meeting will be posted in the next several weeks on the UUA website.

Finally, if you are interested I presented a sermon to our congregation in Fullerton, CA at the beginning of October on some reflections on being a Unitarian Universalist. You can listen to a recording at their website.

As always please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions. I also welcome invitations to visit your congregation and speak with you about where we are and where we may be headed.

In faith and trust,

Tom Loughrey

(714) 878-2210