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Plenary VIII, General Assembly 2013

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General Assembly (GA) 2013 Event 5005

Program Description

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Moderator Gini Courter presides over the plenary sessions in which the business of the Association is being conducted.

Reports from UU World

Agenda

Late arriving items may require rearrangement of the agenda as published.

  • Call to Order
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Report
  • Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation Report
  • Celebration of Tapestry of Faith
  • Debate and Vote on Proposed Changes to Articles V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX, and Related Rules Concerning Elections, Appointments, and Committees
  • Song
  • Announcements
  • Recess

Transcript

Call to Order

GINI COURTER: Good morning. OK, new day, new gavel. Cool? Let's see how it does.

I now call to order the Eighth Plenary Session of the 52nd General Assembly of the Unitarian-Universalist Association. Out of the park, right? Perfect.

I call on Christopher D. Sims, member of our UU nominating committee for words to light our chalice this afternoon, or this morning still, which will be lit by Kalaya Payne-Alex. Christopher.

CHRISTOPHER D. SIMS: Good morning. The people at the table are able to make decisions, are able to lead, are able to collectively agree on the future of our cities, counties, communities, are just as smart, intelligent, and relevant as the people who represent us on city councils, boards, and committees, and committees.

The people at the table are you, are me. The people at the table are learned, leaders, protectors, prophets. The people at the table are black, brown, yellow, white, are one, are one, are one. The people at the table were invited by our cities problems, our leaderships lackluster decision making, the mis-education of our children, the mass incarceration of black and Latino men, black and Latino men.

We have decisions to make. We have futures to consider. We have world's to change. Let us, the people at the table, do this in the name of justice. We light this chalice for the people at the table.

GINI COURTER: Some of you will wonder, where could I get that? Universal Citizen poems by Christopher D. Sims.

Please welcome the Reverend Dr. Bill Schultz for a report from our Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee. Bill.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Report

REVEREND DR. BILL SCHULTZ: Well I'm betting that right about now you're thinking I'm like Freddy Krueger, or bad pennies. You just can't get rid of me. So, since I have just had the opportunity to preach to you for 20 minutes, I thought I'd give my report for UUSC in a little different form this year. So rather than tell you that we work in 21 countries and the US on the human right to water, economic justice, civil liberties, and rights in humanitarian crises. Or that we always find the most innovative partners around the world with whom to work on those issues. Or that the UU College of Social Justice, what we call the CSJ for short, a collaboration between UUA and UUSC is going swimmingly, having taken more than 120 people with us to do justice work in Haiti and elsewhere, and nurtured dozens of youth activist. Or that UUSC is the best human rights investment you can make, since we spend $0.87 of every dollar on helping people, and only $0.13 on overhead.

So, rather than tell you all this I thought I would put our work in the form of a little poem, and since my favorite poem as a kid was Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, that's the one that gets the nod. Here we go.

In a world so drab and dreary. While we ponder weak and weary over many a sad and sinful circumstance of grime and gore, comes a tapping, hopeful tapping, of a group nare yet caught napping, gently rapping, loudly rapping on behalf of the proud, if poor. It's UUSC forevermore.

Got a problem with your water? UUSC will never dotter. We'll usher in the right to water through every human being's door. Want to be a good consumer? Our campaign's not just for boomers. It's for everyone to help the workers get a break and give a roar. It's UUSC forevermore.

Remember Haiti, near the DR. Not a place with the best of PR. But we're still there and building villages though our backs are often sore. The CSJ is a balance tipper. You too can be one of their week long trippers. UUA and Service Committee don't work together, ah ancient lore. Quoth Morales never more.

But guess what my UU friend? I've got a message I need to send. We need your membership and your treasure to keep wide our Cambridge door. So join us in our worldwide ventures. It's far less costly then new dentures. UUSC.org's the place to be an activist and explore. It's UUSC forevermore. Thank you.

GINI COURTER: So nicely done. Thank you, Doctor.

What fun is that? We have two associate member organizations. You've just heard the report from the first. Please welcome the Reverend Marti Keller for a report from our Unitarian-Universalist Women's Federation.

Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation Report

REVEREND MARTI KELLER: I don't have any rhymes. As the year 2013 approached, it occurred to many members and friends of the UU Women's Federation that it was no mere coincidence that we would celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our founding during the 40th Anniversary year of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.

This feeling grew even stronger when even before the new year dawned, UU President Peter Morales invited me as Federation president to join him in issuing a statement commemorating Roe V Wade on the January 22 anniversary of the decision. In addition to being a personal high point of my three years as president, the UUA's public recognition of our longstanding commitment to reproductive rights marked a proud, proud moment for the UUWF.

That commitment dates back to the years immediately following the 1963 consolidation of the Association of Universalist Women and the Alliance of Unitarian Women, resulting in the formation of the UU Women's Federation. The two predecessor organizations, the Universalists founded in 1869, and the Unitarians in 1880, have always traveled along parallel courses. Some of their work supported their Universalist and Unitarian faith communities by raising money to support what they called weak parishes, ministerial students, and disabled ministers and their families.

They also published and distributed religious education materials, and conducted programs intended to help their denominations grow. Our foremothers also brought to the new women's organization a legacy of support for institutions and causes such as the League of Women Nation's, prison reform, world peace, and protective legislation for women and children.

These women were no strangers to the good fight, and they also knew the strength that results when like minded souls band together.

Reproductive rights soon became one of those causes. At the grassroots, Federation members from the First Unitarian Church of Dallas played a significant role in supporting Roe v Wade, while the case was in its early stages in the Texas court.

Later, after the Supreme Court justices handed down the Roe v. Wade decision, the Roman Catholic Church voiced its commitment to overturning the decision. UUWF, the UUA, and other faith communities responded by founding the organization now known as the religious coalition for reproductive choice. Both UUWF and the UUA remain active members of this coalition to this day.

The 2013 joint statement followed 10 months of accelerated activity on behalf of reproductive justice. 10 months that began in April 2012, when our board considered what role to take regarding the proposed congregational study action issue.

Reproductive Choice: Expanding our Social Justice Calling. The board's deliberations resulted in a strong reaffirmation of our commitment to the UUA's 1987 and '93 resolutions on reproductive rights. Along with our pledge to support adoption of the reproductive justice study action issue.

The joint statement also credited the UUWF Clara Barton Intern for Women's Issues. A position in the UUA's Washington center made possible by our 2003 donation to the UUA, with making much of the UUA's reproductive justice advocacy possible. This was especially evident after the adoption of the reproductive justice focus at last year's GA. When Clara Barton intern Jessica Halpern created a UUA Reproductive Justice Advisory Group, wrote the Reproductive Justice curriculum for congregations, and produced a congregational resource packet on reproductive justice.

Jessica also put together a reproductive justice webinar held last September exclusively for our members and members of our sister organization, UU Women and Religion.

As 2012 drew to a close we signed onto a letter protesting the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, as well as another supporting the Shaheen Amendment to legislation regulating the budget for national defense, which just provided minimal abortion coverage for our women in the military.

Both before, and after, issuing the joint statement with the UUA, we also signed on to a number of Amicus briefs in different jurisdictions aimed at protecting access to birth control, to blocking attempts to exclude contraceptive services from health insurance plans. Of course, the Federation has always been an advocate for other women issues, in addition to reproductive justice.

From our formation we have worked hard to keep women's concerns visible in the UU community. These days almost every bookstore has a section devoted to women's studies. But in the 1970s this was definitely not the case. A joint project of the UUWF and Beacon Press, Voices of the New Feminism was a pioneering work, one of the first to bring together the writings of significant early feminist activist, among them Caroline Bird, Shirley Chisholm, Mary Daly, and Betty Friedan.

During a period when there was little women's programming at General Assembly, we created the Ministry to Women Award to serve two purposes given most years at GA to individuals and organizations that have ministered to women in an outstanding manner. It gave badly needed recognition to those working on women's issues, and brought major speakers on those same issues to GA.

Recipients have included poet May Sardin, psychologist Dr. Jean Baker Miller, children's advocate Marian Wright Edelman, and Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers. And this year in 2013, we gave our Ministry to Women Award to Kay Montgomery. We gave it to Kay for her modeling feminist process during all the years of her work for the association, and her stalwart support of those of us working for women in our movement.

This year we also have continued the practice of doing programming for women. And we brought together two of our past presidents, Denise Davidoff and Arlene Johnson. I want to commend them, and all our past presidents for the past 50 years for all that they have done to help us along the way.

[APPLAUSE]

During the years that we held a biannual membership meeting every other year, in 1985 the meeting planners chose feminist theology as a theme for the program. And we're frankly stymied when they were unable to identify a single UU theologian working in this area to keynote the meeting. Let me be perfectly clear—it wasn't that they were unable to find a UU theologian working on feminist theology who was willing and able to keynote that meeting. They were unable to identify any UU theologians at all specializing in feminist theology.

As a result, they brought in a Roman Catholic theologian as the major speaker. This didn't sit well with many attending the meeting, and a group of women from the southwest district went home and began raising money to do something about the sorry state of UU feminist theology. They turned the money they raised over to us and it became the nucleus of an endowment that funds what we now call the Margaret Fuller Grants, given to women producing scholarly and accessible projects focusing on the many strands of UU feminism. One of the first recipients was the Reverend Marilyn Sewell for work that ultimately resulted in Cries of the Spirit, an inspirational collection of prose and poetry focusing on matters central to women's life experiences. And another funded project was an exploration of the spiritual writings of poet May Sarton, compiled by the late Beverly Anderson Forbes.

During our 2004 organizational restructuring, we added a second funding program this in response to a survey of current and potential members that revealed a strong interest in social justice issues affecting women. The Equity and Justice Grant program funds UU justice projects that improve the lives of women and girls, and address the root causes of gender oppression. Projects funded by this program have included radio public service announcements in languages spoken in Central and South America warning against human trafficking, a liberal religious prison ministry for incarcerated women, and health workshops for migrant workers and indigenous women.

In 2009, we added another program named for the late Reverend Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley, a past board member and a member of the first panel tasked with selecting equity and justice grant recipients. Herself a woman of color, Reverend Bowens-Wheatley was known for mentoring other women of color who were either preparing for or in fellowship in the UU ministry. This scholarship program gives grants for general support originally to aspirants or candidates for the UU ministry who identify as women of color, Latina, or Hispanic. This year we broadened the criteria to include women who similarly self-identify and are candidates in the UU's Religious Education or Music Leadership Credentialing Program.

[APPLAUSE]

So this then has just been a glimpse of the UUWF's journey during the first 50 years. We haven't done it alone. We couldn't have done it without the continued financial support of our members and friends.

And along the way, we formed other types of partnerships with a legion of Unitarian-Universalists, both individually and as members of UU organizations. We look forward to deepening these relationships in the coming years with the UUA, the UU Service Committee, UU Women and Religion, Southwest UU Women, and women's groups in local congregations. Together we can make a difference as we carry forward our mission of advancing justice for women and girls, and promoting their spiritual growth. Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: What a great report. Speaking of Kay Montgomery, is she nearby again? I'd like to introduce Kay Montgomery for a combination report and celebration that we're going to hold here, OK? Give it up. You don't get many more chances.

Celebration of Tapestry of Faith

[APPLAUSE]

KAY MONTGOMERY: It is my pleasure this morning to not talk about myself, but to introduce you to Judith Frediani. Most of you, I hope, know of our remarkable Tapestry of Faith curriculum, and we'll be talking about that to you. What you may not know is how very central Judith has been to the imagination, creation, oversight and implementation of this groundbreaking resource of both depth and breadth. A great many people have participated in the creation of Tapestry of Faith, but Judith has been the midwife to this whole new era of religious education and faith development—the Sophia Fahs of our generation.

[APPLAUSE]

JUDITH FREDIANI: Oh, thank you. Thank you, Kay. Thank you.

What is a Unitarian Universalist story? Is it Moses or Mohammed? The Good Samaritan or the grumpy gecko? Dorothea Dix or Dolores Huerta? William Ellery Channing or Francis Ellen Watkins Harper? Harry Potter or the person sitting next to you right now?

Most religions have one core story. The narrative of Unitarian Universalism, like its theology, is diverse and dynamic. Yet our faith is grounded in our stories—those that we live, those that we forget, those that we create for future generations.

In 2004, I came to plenary with an idea and a request. The idea was an innovative new body of programs and resources for the 21st century Unitarian Universalism. The request, that you partner with us, your staff, to actively, creatively, and financially support that vision. That idea is now a reality. It is Tapestry of Faith, a story-based resource to nurture Unitarian-Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming and relevant faith, and vital communities of justice and love.

You did it. Tapestry is not a gift to you, it is a collaboration among us. You envisioned it. You envisioned resources for each age and all ages to nurture a welcoming, multicultural and multi-generational religious home to encourage spiritual growth, to strengthen our sense of moral agency and action in the service of justice and compassion. To address life's challenges and to provide opportunities for hope, joy, learning and healing.

You asked for programs that work in congregations of every size and mode of organization. Resources that are online, searchable and adaptable and free of charge to Unitarian-Universalists and seekers all over the world who can see what our free faith stands for. It's all in there, and more.

You wrote it—at least some of you did. No fewer than 35 UU religious educators, parish ministers and lay leaders joined with UUA staff as authors. You field tested it in scores of congregations. You have adapted it and adopted it as your own in hundreds of congregations. You have brought it out of the classroom, to district trainings, to homeless youth, to service trips and justice work to camps and conferences into your sanctuaries and into your homes.

And yes, you've funded it through capital campaigns, special asks, congregation of giving, and the generosity of individual donors. What does Peter say? We, like Home Depot, you can do it, we can help.

With your help, we have developed, edited and published 68 new resources totalling over 15,000 pages. Tapestry of Faith is the most searched part of the UUA website for good reason. We kept our commitment, and so did you. Let's take a short video glimpse at Tapestry of Faith in action.

[VIDEO PLAYBACK]

-Unitarian-Universalist religious education and faith development, it's unique in that it's very open ended. It an inquiry-led process about your relationship with the spiritual. How you feel about your relationship with your family, with each other, with your past, with your present, with your story. It's very much grounded in social justice work in connection with a larger community.

-We're actually giving them the concepts, the values, the ideas to explore in a safe community where they can really embody and change who they understand themselves to be.

-Well, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the concept of white privilege when I went into it. I found out that I didn't.

-Tapestry of Faith does a superb job of offering opportunities for spiritual enrichment for people facilitating or teaching religious education. Everyone engaging in religious education should take time to look at those spiritual practices. Whether it's a time of centering, a time of theological reflection. They can be changed in the experience. And they can be enriched in the experience.

-I think I am probably more aware of stereotypes that I hold. And also of the stereotypes that other people of other ethnic backgrounds hold of me.

-I really, really appreciate that our facilities, Linea and Hal, really did respect everyone's willingness to share. I wanted to share.

-Our need for faith development does have this kind of individualistic intimate structure understanding that what Tapestry provides is the context for that.

-Workshop 7 is on integrity. And so I think this is going to answer some of the questions we've had about integrating our spirituality into our decision making.

-It's good with these programs to have something that's recurring. And so we began to say, well, maybe WCU is the activity that we'll use, and indeed, we did develop the program that way.

[SINGING]

-Good morning. I am [? Randy ?] [? Claycon. ?] I am here in our studio with our news analyst, [? Kirkafus ?] to celebrate a year of trying to answer the big questions.

-Test is, is it fun? Will it engage the kids?

-That's you, you.

-Yeah, right. So when we take these two letters out, what's left?

-And everything together is UUGPS.

-Huzzah! Right you are. We are totally out of time. We have to go straight to the end of the broadcast.

-Tapestry opens up a wide spectrum of multi-generational opportunities, as well as enriching opportunities. And the outcomes being, that again, we are changing who we understand ourselves to be in larger community.

-Who wants to give the weather box a shake?

-We had these kids in our rooms and in our churches for what? A little bit less than 1% of their waking lives, and that's not very much time. Tapestry begins at a very young level and keeps right on going into adulthood.

-Even couples who have a good relationship want to have a better relationship, and this allows that. You have created a covenant together as a couple that is an actual document. It is something tangible that you live out of.

-It's important to have a sense of a repertoire of spiritual practices that children, youth and adults share. There's lots of different guides in this.

-We timed the curriculum to end on this Sunday where the youth would present service that celebrates families in our church.

-Elle, Kay, Connor, [INAUDIBLE], [INAUDIBLE] and Shay.

-The youth are invited to do these tremendous video moments of interviewing elders and interviewing members of their family. It's also being woven into their development as teenagers. And it's a beautiful, incredible resource.

-One of the activities in Amazing Grace is to go out and look at the bumper stickers on the cars in the parking lot. The kids come back and write their own bumper stickers. They can find yes, this one speaks to that goal of faith development, that goal of spiritual development. And spread through it all is new identity.

-We need to have resources and materials which lead a variety people on a variety of journeys.

-And that's another incredible piece about Tapestry of Faith—all concepts of human development, all different understandings of stages of faith development, it's all woven in, it's foundational.

-The curriculum works beautifully just as it is. And sometimes it just provides an opening to share a little bit more of what's going on.

-My brother said he has a million dollars.

-People are encouraged to take what works, and they're encouraged to reflect upon it early.

-I would go out onto the UUA website and explore the Tapestry of Faith to find either whole exercises, or little snippets or quotes.

-Having a curriculum on Tapestry that's seeded with these insights into how we can learn and grow from the stories which we hold from the past and the present. And how we might work with those stories to bring that all together and then to go forward with that into what we hope would be the Unitarian Universalism of the 22nd century.

-Hi there, [? Noel. ?] What's on your mind today?

-Question. All the time I have questions. At work, at home, in worship, on mediation—questions.

-Any particular kind of questions?

-Big questions, like why do I exist? Why do my friends have to die at such a young age. Why does my UU congregation have all the answers?

[END VIDEO PLAYBACK]

[APPLAUSE]

SPEAKER 1: Thank you, Judith, for the video and the astonishing work you've done. I'm going to present you with a cookie, celebrating Tapestry of Faith. You should all get one. It's very sweet, and we love you.

JUDITH FREDIANI: Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

SPEAKER 1: I would also like to thank the many donors who supported the creation of Tapestry of Faith. Their generosity has enabled the UUA to put these amazing resources into the hands of thousands. They have helped us educate our youth, inspire adults, and welcome new seekers. We are grateful for our donors' vision, cooperation, and faith in this program to bring it to fulfillment. To these generous individuals and groups, thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

KAY MONTGOMERY: Judith retires at the end of August. She has been a visionary and a most remarkable leader—sometimes invisible, always faithful. Judith, the legacy you leave has been in so many ways, and particularly with Tapestry of Faith, a lasting gift to Unitarian Universalism. Please join me in thanking her.

[APPLAUSE]

JUDITH FREDIANI: Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

KAY MONTGOMERY: Take a look at this.

JUDITH FREDIANI: I know.

SPEAKER 1: Look at that.

GINI COURTER: Soak it up. You want to say a couple words?

JUDITH FREDIANI: I wasn't prepared to. OK, I'll say a few words about my staff.

GINI COURTER: Yes, please.

JUDITH FREDIANI: Thank you. I wish I could name every staff person on the team. I believe there was a brief list at the end of the video. But I sure as heck did not do this alone, and I want to thank the whole Tapestry team. Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: Reverend Glasgow, I'm startled to see you back on the stage. I'd kind of gotten used to you down there. But it's happy to have you back.

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: I don't even know how to respond to that, Gini.

GINI COURTER: I know. And it's OK because your mic was dead, you don't have to.

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: It does say David on it, and it has battery indicator. So I'm going to blame Todd for this one.

GINI COURTER: OK.

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: Hi, Todd. I've been wanting to say this all week, Gini. Isn't CMI amazing?

GINI COURTER: Yes.

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: Everyone here from this company has been spectacular in making GA as wonderful as it's been for you. So thanks CMI, thanks Todd, thanks everyone.

GINI COURTER: And we also have some local folks added to the crew who are running some of our cameras. So it's not just CMI, it's the extended CMI family serving us this year. So let's give them a big round of applause.

[APPLAUSE]

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: So I would love to teach y'all a song that I like—I'm allowed to say y'all, because I was born south of the Mason Dixon line. Actually the hospital parking lot was north of the Mason Dixon line, but you know—but it's a song that Melody Feather taught me.

Melody is our fabulous copyright researcher for GA, and she and I worked together for the Joseph Priestley District Worship Arts Festival this year. And it's a song called "Bwana Abariki." I lied, I missed a syllable—"Bwana Awabariki." That will become important in just a moment.

And don't worry, you are going to be singing in Swahili. But you only have two words, and they are bwana awabariki. OK? So I'm going to sing this through for you once. And it's one of those, we call them "zipper songs," where a couple of words change and the rest of it stays the same. So the song goes like this.

[SINGING]

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: I lied, there's a third word—milele. You can handle this, right? Try that.

[SINGING]

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: And then there's this refrain thing, where I will sing, for instance, "working together." And you sing "bwana awabariki."

[MUSIC—SONG, "BWANA AWABARIKI"]

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: Amen. I got so excited about giving shout outs.

GINI COURTER: I was going to say, we were busy doing the shout outs and you totally missed contextualizing that. And I knew you were ready to, so let's do it again.

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: The UU [? amin ?] is going to disown me if I don't tell you that bwana awabariki is—I love this story. Because it's a text that's traditionally translated to mean—and, in fact, our teal hymnal translates it to mean happily—our teal hymnal writes it in print that's too small for me to read without my glasses.

Our teal hymnal translates it as "Lord give us blessing." But I'm told that "Lord give us blessing" is, and how do we say this delicately, perhaps a dominant culture translation of a phrase that has no divinity attached to it? The phrase literally means "we go together in friendship." Isn't that cool? So, good book, in case you missed that. Thanks, Gini.

GINI COURTER: Thank you, very much.

[APPLAUSE]

GINI COURTER: OK, cool. So you have something about [? Calvert? ?]

TOM: Yeah.

GINI COURTER: OK, go ahead. So, Tom's here.

AUDIENCE: Hi, Tom.

TOM: Hi, GA. Well, I've got some people to help me and share this with me this morning. I'm going to introduce them in a moment, but I want to tell you something. It's a follow up from something I said yesterday about the flooding that's going on, not has happened, but going on in Calgary, Alberta.

And I was asked to tell you how you might be able to help. The Canadian Unitarian Council, cuc.ca, has a link to the Red Cross site. And they are asking everybody who is able and interested in helping with this incredible disaster that's going on there. The whole damn town, from what I understand, is completely flooded, 100,000 people displaced. And you can get to them through cuc.ca, or redcross.ca, and they've got links to help you send some loonies and toonies their way.

But with that, I've got another announcement that I want to make. And I want to recognize a couple of our youth here. First of all, let me introduce to you our current youth observer, Katie [? Rigden ?] from Ridgewood, New Jersey. And also—

[APPLAUSE]

TOM: —our new youth observer from Petaluma, California—we're covering the coast—Rosemary Dodd.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM: Our youth observers are amazing people. I've come to love every one of them in my seven years on the board and we are blessed to have them. And I can tell you, they're not observers. They're full participants in everything that happens on the board. They're wonderful, wonderful people, and they are our future leaders. So Katie, thank you. Rosemary, thank you.

[APPLAUSE]

TOM: It is also my pleasure to introduce the new secretary of our association, the Reverend Dr. Susan Ritchie. From now on when she walks up here, it's "hi, Susan." Hi, Susan.

REVEREND DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Let's try it.

AUDIENCE: Hi, Susan.

REVEREND DR. SUSAN RITCHIE: Excellent. Hello, General Assembly. I really look forward to our deepening relationship that we will share, and with scintillating announcements. And I'm not kidding at all. Look forward to it.

TOM: Thank you, Susan. One last announcement for this morning. If you're missing your iPhone and other things, check down in the lost and found area. It's down at the GA office. And they've got a lot of nice selections of phones and other things down there, so check it out.

Debate and Vote on Proposed Changes to Articles V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX, and Related Rules Concerning Elections, Appointments, and Committees

GINI COURTER: All right, let's do some voting this morning. What do you think? It's a good morning though, isn't it? Yeah.

All right, so our next of business today is to consider and vote on the proposed changes to Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. And related rules which would be similarly numbered, of course, related to elections, appointments and committees. The text is found on pages 89 to 95 of the final agenda. Will the first Vice Moderator please make the appropriate motion?

SPEAKER 2: Moved that the proposed changes to Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and related rules concerning elections, appointments and committees, found at pages 88 to 95 of the final agenda be adopted by this assembly.

GINI COURTER: Excellent. We had a mini assembly on these, right? And we incorporated one amendment. So you have two packets of paper today for our business—banana and coconut. We need banana this afternoon. We need coconut now.

There's a line across the page, a horizontal line. Pay no attention to it. It has no meaning.

But we did incorporate one amendment that later it was subsequently changed a little bit by legal counsel with the permission of the delegate. It was adopted by the mini assembly and incorporated in consolidation. That says, "no member of a standing committee of the association, except a member serving ex officio, made during the term of office serve as a trustee or officer of—" In that line, the insertion of the words "except a member serving ex officio" is the unincorporated amendment.

I recognize the delegate at the pro microphone, Mr. Dan Brody. You're a financial advisor giving the position of your Board of Trustees. Dan?

DAN BRODY: I'm Dan Brody. I'm the UUA [? Financial ?] Advisor. I believe that most people who have studied the UUA bylaws would agree that they are not always clear, concise or consistent. The lack of clarity in the sections that deal with elections and appointments became obvious several years ago when a nominee for office withdrew shortly before the election. We found that the bylaws contained several different provisions concerning special elections, each one ambiguous.

The board has worked with legal counsel to graph the sections of the bylaws and rules concerning these subjects to make them as clear and consistent as we are able, while making as few substantive changes as possible. But the proposal does make several substantive changes. These are the most significant.

1. Special elections to fill vacancies will be held only if the vacancy occurs early enough in the term to permit the full election process, including nomination of candidates, to occur. 2. The same instant runoff voting method that is now specified for a three or more candidate race for president will be applied to elections for moderator, financial advisor, or trustee. 3. The president will no longer be an ex officio member of the audit committee or the presidential search committee. 4. Each candidate for trustee or financial adviser will be required to submit a one-page statement of qualifications for distribution to congregations. And 5. The requirement that two trustees serve on the election campaign practices committee will be removed. The board urges your adoption of these amendments.

GINI COURTER: Thank you. Well, now. You're ready to vote. You like this thing. I'm liking you all. Cool.

Somebody told me that if I'd quit naming things after fruits we would be more interested in staying here and less interested in getting out in time for lunch. But I can't hardly blame me. All righty, good?

All those in favor then of the proposed changes to Articles 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, and related rules concerning elections, appointments and committees with simply the one incorporated amendment, raise your voting cards. Thank you. All those opposed?

That's unanimous in the house, and perhaps one opposed offsite, so I won't call it that way. But this clearly carries. You can celebrate that.

[APPLAUSE]

Announcements

GINI COURTER: I know, it's really hard to get excited about doing good housekeeping. And yet, I will tell you that when people actually try to use the rules and bylaws, it's helpful if they're useful and resemble our actual practice.

I want to also tell you about something else about this real quickly. And then we're going to be getting ready to leave, and we know how to do that again. But what I want to note is that it was raised in the mini assembly that the version of the bylaws that are printed in your book, and this is because I know some of you go back to folks who just read everything and have a question. And you'll say, oh, Gini never mentioned that.

These are the bylaws that are in effect right now. But we made some changes to the bylaws that won't go into effect until the end of this GA. And that forward version is actually on the UUA website. We chose to only print the version that we could use and refer to for our processes. Some of the changes we just made are against the bylaws that go into effect on Monday that you adopted two years ago. Does that make sense?

So if somebody looked at this book and said, well, wait a second, how does that exactly hook up? If you want the latest version of the bylaws as of the changes that you made two years ago, you would look on the UUA website. Usually in about four weeks, the version that's on uua.org will be the brand new one with everything that we have put in, all the work we've done all weekend long. Are we good?

Thank you, four people. They say it's lonely at the top. You should try it in the front.

OK, so we're going to let the folks who are on scooter, or with wheelchairs, walkers, canes, all kinds of mobility assistance—we're going to let them leave the hall first. And I'm going to say the magic words that let us all then leave after that, which says that there be no further business to come before us. And in accordance with the schedule set forth in our program book, I declare that this plenary session of the General Assembly shall stand in recess until 1:45 PM this afternoon. Be here or be square. David?

Song

REVEREND DAVID GLASGOW: Let's sing, "When the Spirit Says Do," OK? We're going to do do, sing, dance, laugh and shout, unless I remember that I left my glasses. In which case, sing whatever comes out of your mouth and we'll all be happy.

[MUSIC—SONG, "WHEN THE SPIRIT SAYS DO"]

Recess

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Last updated on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

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