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Presidential Award for Volunteer Service, General Assembly 2014

General Assembly 2014 Event 503

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This report is part of a longer event. Go to General Session VII for the complete video and order of business.


PETER MORALES: Well, look at you dedicated, religious fanatics up bright and early and voting on things this morning. It's wonderful. Every year when the selection of the recipient of the president's award for volunteer service comes up, I always ask my colleagues for recommendations. And this year, the name of Kathy Burek kept coming up over and over.

And with good reason. For Kathy has been at the center of important changes in our association. Changes that go to the heart of how we relate to one another across our congregations. Kathy is well known in her home congregation, the Michael Servetus Unitarian Society, in Fridley Minnesota.

But nearly every year since joining in 1979, she's taught in the Religious Education program, she rolled up her sleeves taking on the leadership of the board, the strategic planning committee, several times, and the Committee on Ministry, helping to chart the way forward. Kathy has served the wider movement as president of Prairie Star District and president of the District Presidents Association.

Being both a District President and president of all the district presidents, gave her an important perspective on our efforts to re imagine how our districts and our National Association align with one another. Kathy was the convener of the transition team that led to the creation of the mid America region. And this work brought over 200 congregations in the central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star Districts together into one region.

Now, all of this can sound kind of wonky and far removed from practicing our faith. This re imagining of our relationships, however, is crucial to our success. It's all about working collaboratively together and freeing up dedicated volunteers to focus on our mission and our ministry. So Kathy, thank you for helping to lead the way to our new future.

And to honor her remarkable service, the UUA will make a $1,000 donation to Alexandra House, whose mission is to end domestic and sexual violence. Kathy chose this organization that is supported in part by her home congregation. Please join me in congratulating Kathy Burek. We have to get up.

KATHY BUREK: President Morales, thank you so much for this award. I am deeply honored. As leaders in our Unitarian Universalist faith, all of you here know that no one ever accomplishes anything of significance alone. There are many others who contributed immensely and immeasurably on the projects that I worked on. And I regret I can mention only a few by name.

Amy Taylor of Heartland District, Reverend Brian Covell, and Reverend Bill Sasso of the Central Midwest district. You are more than colleagues, you are cherished friends. Our dedicated staff, the members of our district boards, UUA leadership and the UUA board of trustees provided much needed support and encouragement through our regionalization process. Phil Reed, Janet Richardi, Gail Sphar, Ramon Urbano, and Jim Key as members of the Role of Districts Task Force Report of the District Presidents Association. I appreciate the two years of diligent work, insights, and contributions to our report.

Members and staff of the Employee Benefits Trust Board, which I'm pleased to chair again, your dedication has created a plan we can be proud of. Finally, I express my deepest gratitude to my husband Ed, for his willingness to put up with many hours of phone meetings, emails, document drafting, out of town trips, et cetera. I know you've given up a lot to support my work. Thank you again President Morales for this award. I will strive to be worthy of it.