Board Report, October 2016

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism: October 14, 2016 was an historic day in Unitarian Universalism. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees affirmed our ongoing solidarity with, and support of, the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism organizing collective (BLUU). In a passionate discussion that included calls for attention to the beauty and religious nature of this work, the Board allocated $300,000.00 of immediate support for BLUU, as well as $5,000,000.00 in long-term funding, guaranteed by the endowment against future fundraising. The presentation by Leslie Mac and Rev. Carlton Eliott Smith included both history of the movement and plans for the proposed funding. BLUU will be sharing their vision in upcoming months.

This commitment is just one step in a long journey towards fulfilling promises made to Black Unitarian Universalists in the 1960s. The Board is fully committed to working collaboratively with the UUA administration to develop the funding sources necessary for this financial support of BLUU.

The discussion ended with a laying-on of hands and prayer for the continued work of all those who are giving so much of their lives to building the beloved community.

Created Task Force for Leadership Development: The Board created a two-year Leadership Development Task Force consisting of a representative from each of the following groups: Board of Trustees, Appointments Committee, Nominating Committee, Congregation Life Staff, Multicultural Growth and Witness Office, and UUA president or their designate (ex-officio) and UUA Moderator (ex-officio). The charge to the Task Force includes:

  • Survey the association to find current leadership development opportunities that are not otherwise publicized on
  • Identify the different on-ramps to denominational leadership.
  • Create a webpage focused on denominational leadership development.
  • Identify what trainings should be developed to better help train future denominational leaders.
  • Identify who “owns” responsibility for developing future denominational leaders.
  • Create a database system for tracking current and future denominational leaders accessible to UUA staff, UUA Board, Appointments Committee, and the Nominating Committee
  • Create a process for keeping the database system regularly updated

Annual Program Fund moves to percentage: Trustees discussed at length the recommendations of the Annual Program Fund Task Force. Specifically under discussion was the plan to begin asking congregations to contribute an amount based on their congregational operating budgets rather than the current per member fee structure. The Board endorsed this plan and the next steps up will be more work on the timeline for implementation as well as the specific formulations of how much should be asked of each congregation.

Appointments: The board is grateful for the volunteer service of the following UU’s who were appointed to their positions during executive session: Brian Lasher to the Investment Committee; Mary Byron to the Audit Committee; and Cheri Cody to the Open UUA Committee chair position. Additionally, the following were appointed to serve on the Moderator Nominating Committee: the Rev. Chip Roush, the Rev. Theresa Ines Soto, Isabelle McCurdy, the Rev. Caitlin Cotter, Charles du Mond, Lauren Way, and Isabella Spriggs. This committee is tasked with presenting nominations to the Board for Moderator in 2018 for the election at General Assembly 2019.

Meeting at Shelter Rock: For our October meeting, the Board was grateful to be hosted by the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY. Trustees were delighted to be able to thank the congregation in person for the latest Veatch Foundation gift to the UUA of $5,000,000.00 as an incentive to encourage bequest giving. Additionally, the Trustees appreciated holding their meeting on the lovely grounds and the opportunities to talk with Shelter Rock congregants.

Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression Multicultural commitment: The Revs. Hope Johnson and Josh Pawelek expertly guided the Board though a series of exercises aimed at reflecting on the Board’s commitment and vision in regards to anti-racism, anti-oppression, multicultural (ARAOMC) explorations of our systems of privilege, power, and oppression as well as how to go from ideology to making it real in the Board’s internal work processes. The Board affirmed its ongoing commitment to ARAOMC and sought to put those ideas into practice throughout the ensuing days of meetings.

UUA Presidential candidates: Present at the meeting were the three UUA presidential candidates, the Rev. Jeanne Pupke, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, and Rev. Allison Miller. Each was invited, along with all observers, to participate in discussions on linkage, the Black Lives of UU funding, as well as other topics. These three candidates will participate in a series of six regional gatherings in the spring. These gathering will give our congregations time to get to know the candidates in preparation for the UUA presidential election which will occur at General Assembly 2017 in New Orleans.