The April 2016 meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board was marked by a hard-won clarity of purpose and a genuine sense of collaboration between the Board and the Administration. The highlights featured below begin to tell the story.
The Board received and approved a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The presentation tied the proposed expenditures to the stated Ends of the Association making it easier for trustees to understand the intended impacts of our spending. We took a look at the budget through a racial justice lens and are convinced that the UUA is making solid progress toward becoming a credible partner in the work. We also discussed projected income and are cautiously optimistic that the income goals are attainable.
Annual Program Fund (APF) Task Force
The APF Task Force reported on its ongoing work to determine whether and how to recommend a “% of budget” rather than a “per member” formula for determining a congregation’s requested contribution to the UUA. Activities at General Assembly (GA) will include a collegial conversation with religious professionals, a workshop, a plenary report, and an “open house” for those interested. Before GA, task force members are attending regional gatherings and reaching out to a sample of congregations for their views. A final recommendation to the Board is expected next October.
Annual Progress Report
President Morales and his leadership team presented a thorough and carefully conceived report evaluating the Association’s progress in pursuit of our stated Ends. The Board enthusiastically entered into deep and fruitful conversation with staff as to the implications of their conclusions and the need to find more effective ways to measure the impact of our efforts. It was generally agreed that staff is developing strong evaluative skills and that more baseline information is needed in order to track our progress over time. It is difficult to measure the impact of the Association’s efforts in congregational and community life but the Board and Administration are committed to the effort.
Outstanding Work at Beacon Press
Beacon Press continues to lead the way among progressive publishers. Beacon has complete editorial independence but as a wholly owned subsidiary of the UUA, the Board does oversee its operations. The Board was pleased to hear that for the fifth consecutive year, the Press has produced retained earnings. Not only is our “house” publishing books that make a tangible difference in the world but it is doing so sustainably.
Each board meeting includes time set aside for learning. At the April meeting we engaged one another in intimate and inspiring conversation about prejudice against the trans community and what is required of us in response to the anti-trans legislation being proposed across the United States.
UUA Presidential Election
As of the date of the April Board meeting, there were three declared candidates for UUA President, two of whom had completed the certification process. Board members and senior staff gathered with the three candidates forming a listening circle and sharing our hopes and dreams for the future of Unitarian Universalism. We also reviewed the oversight structure in place for UUA elections and decided to take a more active role than in past elections by hosting five candidate forums prior to the election to be held in June of 2017.
Distinguished Service Award
On Saturday morning, June 25, 2016, at the General Assembly in Columbus, OH, the Award for Distinguished Service to Unitarian Universalism will be presented to the Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman. The Board is moved and delighted to honor Dr. Hallman whose work has been a powerful expression of the best our ministry can offer the world.