Openness Encouraged from UU Committees

Congregational leaders wanting to keep up with changes and proposed changes within the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) should know of the effort underway to create transparency in the actions of committees, commissions, and task forces, as well as the UUA Board of Trustees.

These groups are required to post agendas, minutes, and reports on and to provide contact information. The Openness Implementation Committee, created by the Board in 2004 in response to a bylaw rule passed by General Assembly delegates that year, is working to create an understanding that complete openness and transparency are essential and make it an automatic part of how we conduct our business.

If you've looked for information from UUA committees and other groups but could not find it, please try again, says Openness Committee Chair Art Ungar of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church at Walnut Creek, CA. It is also helpful to let the committee know you're interested in what it is doing. Says Ungar, "Some committees have been slow to post their information because they believe that there is no interest. We try to explain that until potential users realize that information is available, they will not try to access it. Openness can encourage participation."

He adds, "When groups provide advance notice of meetings and promptly post minutes and reports, it provides opportunities for input on the issues on the agenda. This goes beyond supporting the democratic process. Openness and transparency are essential for countering oppression and establishing the trust essential for a healthy religious organization."

About the Author

  • Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.

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