Momentous August 2012 Meeting

You were promised an update on MidAmerica regionalization in September. There is a lot to report.

First, a brief recap of the last year:

  • In 2011 our three UU district boards: Prairie Star, Central Midwest, and Heartland, voted to work together to create a regional governance in lieu of our three district governance model. We accepted the UUA ENDS as the ENDS of our districts as policy governance style boards which are to inspire people to lead lives of humility and purpose, connection and service, thereby transforming themselves and the world.
  • We also recognized the UUA as the sole employer of co-funded staff. The co-funded staff of the three districts is transitioning to a regional service structure to be in place July 2013. The Central Midwest, Prairie Star and Heartland District boards are working to transition on the same date.
  • At our 2012 Annual District Meetings, the delegates accepted a transition budget as well as our usual district working budgets and we shared this vision with our members:

The MidAmerica Region: Building a New Era in Unitarian Universalism

Where UUs:

  • Visibly live our faith
  • Create connections
  • Grow our membership
  • Welcome all persons who share our UU values

Many groups are working on the move to the MidAmerica Region: steering, transition, treasurers, nominating, bylaws & legal, communication (linchpin). Within Prairie Star, a group is also working to define the best relationship between the Region and Camp UniStar. Our UUA Trustees are working to facilitate our transition within the UUA Bylaws and Rules.

Perhaps most notably, over the last weekend of August 2012, 29 people - members of our three district boards, lead staff, the UUA Director of Congregational Life, and a facilitator – met in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an amazing experience! A group of people, most of whom had not previously met, came together with trust and goodwill in their hearts, to work hard, make decisions and move forward on a common goal. We communicated, agreed, decided, calendared, coordinated, and kick-started a very aggressive schedule of work in preparation for the April 2013 District business meetings. There we will, as districts, determine whether to establish MidAmerica, effective July 1, 2013. The Board members present committed themselves to “A Call for a MidAmerica Covenant,” acknowledging our shared vision of a new era in Unitarian Universalism based on active covenantal relationship with one another. By the end of September, all three District Boards formally endorsed “A Call for a MidAmerica Covenant” which will be published in a later newsletter. Please plan to read and consider committing to the Call for a MidAmerica Covenant as an active and ongoing process in which you are directly involved.

So what do we know now that we didn’t know before the August meeting?

  • MidAmerica will serve UUA ENDS and elaborate what those will look like in our region.
  • We will engage in active covenantal relationships that bring deeper, energizing connections and vitality.
  • The MidAmerica board will consist of 9 members with the usual executive offices and 3 year terms capped at 2 consecutive terms. These positions will be recruited by the Nominating Committee with the intention that the board reflect the diversity of our region.
  • The governance model will draw on principles from Carver (oversight-reporting & accountability, but not micromanagement) and principles from Chait (encouraging collaboration among board members and staff on high level strategy and generative thinking). Details of the MidAmerica Board/Staff roles will be worked out when the organization is formed.
  • The MidAmerica Board will actively engage in building relationships with and among congregations and in partnership with the UUA Board in its linkage work.
  • The MidAmerica Region will have a relationship with Camp UniStar (in Prairie Star District) that preserves the camp as a UU asset but protects the region from liability.
  • There will be a Nominating Committee of 5 members & it will self-appoint its Chair.
  • Regional Fair Share will be set at $23 per member for 2013-14.
  • A 2014 annual meeting will likely be held concurrently in multiple locations with shared keynote and business sessions.
  • A budget and slate of candidates for the MidAmerica board will be presented at the 2013 Central Midwest, Heartland and Prairie Star district annual meetings.

What can you expect? Please watch for further communications on this process regularly through March 2013. District Presidents will lead Q&A session at each UU Ministers Association Chapter’s October meetings and in other groups. Congregational leaders and staff will receive an invitation to participate in a short web-based survey about regionalization in mid-October. Late this year, we plan to post a proposed version of the regional bylaws for your review and comment.

What can you do? In the short term, please stay informed, ask questions, and consider organizing a forum on regionalization in your area. In the longer term, make plans now to attend your District’s April 2013 Annual Meeting as a delegate. At the meeting, be sure to attend the regionalization information session and to vote at the business meeting. The Boards of the Central Midwest, Heartland and Prairie Star Districts urge you to support these changes as we all work together to create the future of Unitarian Universalism in MidAmerica.