First thing at the Friday morning plenary session, the Commission on Appraisal presented their report. It was in skit form, so you won't want to miss it.
The second 1997 Plenary overwhelmingly approved a resolution that calls all congregations and Unitarian Universalists (UUs) to work for a more just economic community which would include a true single minimum wage, a full employment policy, universal health care, and a more equitable federal tax system.
UUs also heard Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President John Buehrens announce the successful completion of a four-year fundraising campaign, "Handing on the Future," with $14 million in pledges and $10 million on hand.
There was also a report from the Commission on Appraisal and an appeal for help on campaign finance reform from Arizona Republican U.S. Senator John McCain.
The great debate of the second-day plenary revolved around the proposed resolution for a just economic community. Delegate Jonathan Fine of Concord, Mass. said, "This is a watershed moment for this denomination. Are we going to become involved in one of the great questions of this time or are we going to turn away?"
Before a final vote, delegates rejected an amendment to the resolution which would have eliminated consumer boycotts as a protest of foreign goods produced by those who work in substandard conditions. Advocates of the failed amendment said boycotting companies that exploit workers makes it worse for those employees. Opponents said boycotts remain a legitimate political tool.
An amendment which passed called for UUs to implement the resolution within their own congregations. "This work starts at home," delegate Janice Elliot said.
In his annual report, President Buehrens ceremonially handed a group of UU youths and young adults an oversized check for $10 million which capped off a fundraising campaign that started with his first term in office. "Four years ago I felt I was handed a very large tin cup," he said.
The $14 million pledged will be used to "build the future," Buehrens said, by helping growing congregations. More than 14,000 UUs aided the effort.
Speaking directly to the generous members of the Shelter Rock congregation, Buehrens said, "This year we more than matched your generosity with grassroots generosity of tens of thousands of Unitarian Universalists."
The Commission on Appraisal gave a report that Moderator Denise Davidoff described as "nothing traditional in either its content or its presentation."
The Commission's conclusion was that all the diverse interests of Unitarian Universalists must be recognized, accepting all the while that "community is the irreducible kernel."