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General Assembly 2014 Event 505
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The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary.
The Moderator: I now call to order the Eighth and final General Session of the Fifty-Third General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The Moderator: I call on Rev. Susan Ritchie for any announcements.
[To be live-captioned.]
The Moderator: Our next item of business today is to consider and vote on the proposed Amendments to Sections C-10.6 and C-10.7 Regarding Provisions Concerning Investments. The text is found at page 98 of the Final Agenda. The miniassembly concerning this amendment was held Friday.
Will Donna Harrison, the Vice-Moderator make the appropriate motion.
Moved: That the proposed Amendments to Sections C-10.6 and C-10.7 Regarding Provisions Concerning Investments, found at page 98 of the Final Agenda, be adopted by this Assembly.
The Moderator: I call upon Sarah Stewart, chair of our Finance Committee, to give the position of the Board of Trustees.
Sarah: The UUA Common Endowment Fund, or UUCEF, has about $170 million in invested assets. The Association’s endowment funds are invested in the UU Common Endowment Fund, or UUCEF. But about half of the $170 million dollars in the fund was invested by more than 300 UU congregations and related organizations.
Several years ago, the UUA’s independent auditing firm recommended that we change the legal structure of the fund to provide better protection to the congregations that invest in UUCEF. Presently, the funds invested by congregations are owned by the UUA. In the highly unlikely event that the UUA were to lose a lawsuit by a plaintiff who was awarded tens of millions of dollars of damages, the funds invested by congregations could be taken to pay the award.
To prevent such a dire, if remote, possibility, the UUA Board voted last year to set up a limited liability company, or LLC, to own the endowment, both the UUA’s funds and those invested by congregations. The LLC will be under the full control of the UUA Board, which will appoint the members of the LLC’s Investment Committee.
A number of provisions of the bylaws control the investment of endowment funds. Some of these conflict with the new LLC, some are obsolete, and some are just unnecessary or poorly written. In consultation with our legal counsel, the Board has drafted and placed on the GA agenda a series of bylaw amendments to address these problems. The Board urges their adoption.
The Moderator: As a reminder, those speaking in favor of this by-law amendment should use the pro microphone and those who wish to speak against the microphone should use the con.
The Moderator: There being no time for further discussion, a vote is in order. All those in favor of the proposed Changes to Section C-10.6 and C-10.7 regarding Provisions Concerning Investments please raise your voting cards (pause and wait for off-site votes). Opposed (pause and wait for off-site votes).
[The motion clearly passes.]
The Moderator: Our next item of business today is to consider and vote on the proposed Amendment to Enable Regions: Bylaw Section C-3.6, 13.1, 13.2, 13.4, and Rule G-13.2.1, which names the districts . These are found on page 96 of the Final Agenda. The mini-assembly concerning this amendment was held Friday.
Will the Vice-Moderator make the appropriate motion.
Donna Harrison: Moved: That the proposed Amendment to Enable Regions: Bylaw Section C-3.6, 13.1, 13.2, 13.4, and Rule G-13.2.1, found at page 96 of the Final Agenda, be adopted by this Assembly.
The Moderator: I call upon Lew Phinney to give the position of the Board of Trustees.
Lew Phinney: For some time now the districts that comprise the UUA have been engaged in discussions about how best to serve our Unitarian Universalist movement and their organizational future in the UUA.
The various districts are at different points in their discussions. But last year delegates from the Heartland, Central MidWest and Prairie Star districts decided that what would work best for them is to merge into a new structure, the MidAmerica Region. With that action, those three districts ceased to exist.
However regions are not mentioned in the UUA bylaws, only districts. To recognize that three of our districts have chosen to become a region the board recommends that we approve this change. This change will also enable other districts to follow the MidAmerica region model should they decide to organize that way. The motion amends the bylaws to add regions as a new geographic governance structure, along with districts. It also amends a rule to add MidAmerica to the list of governing bodies that will help shape the future of our Association.
This amendment was approved last year and the Board recommends you approve it now which will complete this change to the bylaws.
The Moderator: There being no time for further discussion, a vote is in order. All those in favor of the proposed Amendment to Enable Regions: Bylaw Section C-3.6, 13.1, 13.2, 13.4, and Rule G-13.2.1, please raise your voting cards (pause and wait for off site delegates to vote). Opposed (pause).
All right. This is the time in our agenda when we entertain responsive resolutions, if there are any. Could we open up the amendment microphone, please.
The Moderator: It is time to sing again. David, what do you have for us?
The Moderator: With your help, the Rev. Susan Ritchie will now install our new board members and Financial Advisor.
Secretary and General Assembly: May you deal forthrightly and honestly with us, keeping foremost in your heart the health and well-being of our movement, speaking your truth without fear of repercussion and encouraging others to do the same.
Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process.
Secretary and General Assembly: In the spirit of hospitality and understanding among people may all who cross your path feel they have been heard and seriously considered.
Newly Elected Leaders: I covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all.
Secretary and General Assembly: We covenant to encourage you and support you as you serve our movement. May our trust carry you through both difficulty and triumph. In gratitude, we thank you for your willingness to serve.
Newly Elected Leaders: With gratitude I acknowledge and accept the trust that you have placed in me.
Susan Ritchie: Congratulations, all.
The Moderator: Please welcome our District Coordinator for next Year's General Assembly, Ken Wheeler.
Ken: Well, Good Morning! It’s my great pleasure to be the one to invite you to the next iteration of this great General Assembly.
Until just recently I was like most all of you … in that I had attended GA as an individual or as a delegate. I spent my time on the business issues, the worship, and on connecting with some good friends I’d left behind in my five previous UU congregations.
Now I have a different role. As District GA Coordinator, I’ve sat with the GA Planning Committee, and I’ve gotten something of a planner’s inside view of this meeting … an important meeting for all of our denomination and its working processes. So important, in fact, that the budget for this meeting amounts to roughly ten per cent of UUA’s annual budget. That’s a huge investment in your experience as a delegate!
It’s also important as a focus for the Board and the Planning Committee in their continuing efforts to make the substance of the meeting a better experience. You will hear often what a great effort the committee puts into GA, and I’ve been there to see it…. They are simply terrific, and no amount of appreciation is truly enough.
I’m here, as I said, to invite you to just about the most exciting place there is to hold a General Assembly. I hope you’ve had a chance to stop by our booth for some flashy brochures and enticing literature. The scenery IS there, and way worth coming for all by itself. But, of course, there IS more! I’m talking about the Unitarian Universalists that make up the nine congregations in the Portland area. As a cluster they’re doing important things together… such as collectively marching in the Portland Pride Parade, just this past Father’s Day. Many will be the volunteers who greet you and help your GA time meet your expectations.
Portland is a fabulous place to visit as a setting for General Assembly…. When summer arrives, Portlanders make the most of it!
There are restaurants! and Food Festivals…. recent additions to gastronomic experience in the tradition of James Beard have added to your fine dining options. Local start ups and vegetarian fare abounds.
There are gardens! Our World renowned Rose Festival will have just ended, but the displays and plantings in the International Rose Garden, Chinese Garden and city parks will be at their height.
There is live music! Both in our evening entertainment program for GA and in the downtown area, there is a lively music scene ranging from the symphonic to the latest contemporary offerings.
There is home hospitality! …local UUs will open their homes the GA visitors in the same way they do every year. There are kindred spirits to meet.
There is scenery! You are only a short distance by car or on tour from the Columbia River Gorge and its waterfalls. You can follow the river or the crest highway for fabulous views.
But my main point here is that although the setting is interesting and beautiful, the reason you should come to Portland from June 24-28 next year IS the General Assembly itself. The business is important. The worship will inspire. The programs will educate.
You want to be there! I want you to be there! So I’ll see you in Portland!
The Moderator: Believe me, you WILL want to be in Portland next June. I have had a business client in Portland for the past ten years so have visiting often. Ken did not exaggerate Portland's charms in his invitation. Thanks Ken.
Please give it up one more time for the Right Relationship Team for the 2014 General Assembly.
The Moderator: I call on the Secretary of the Association, Rev. Susan Ritchie, for a final credentials report and any announcements.
[To be live-captioned; 1920 onsite delegates from 579 congregations; 4754 total registrants including 316 youth; 105 offsite delegates from 68 congregations in 30 states.]
The Moderator: I now call for the official adjournment of the Assembly. Is there a motion from the Board?
Donna Harrison: Moved: That this General Assembly now adjourn.
The Moderator: All those in favor of adjournment please so signify by raising your voting cards. (Pause for response.) All those opposed. (pause for response.)
The Moderator: The motion to adjourn is carried. I declare that the 2014 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association now stands finally adjourned. Have a wonderful summer and I’ll look forward to seeing you in Portland, Oregon next year.
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Last updated on Thursday, July 24, 2014.
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