Highlights from the June 2015 Board of Trustees Meetings

June 23 and 24, 2015

  • The Board takes its stewardship duties seriously. The Administration is re-imagining the Annual Program Fund and asked for the Board to join them in that effort. The October Board meeting will include a conversation linking fundraising for general operations with our understandings of covenant.
  • The Board will continue discussing in October whether to phase out the use of unrestricted bequest income in the operating budget. The Board will consider then, in more detail, the fiscal impact of such a phase-out.
  • The Board received, discussed and approved monitoring report showing that the UUA is in right relationship with our identity seminaries and that the income from the Endowment for Theological Education is being properly distributed. In the interest of continued accountability the report stated that the Panel on Theological Education has asked that Meadville/Lombard and Starr King School annually provide the Panel additional reports, beginning April 2016. Those reports include audited financial statements, ATS (the National interdenominational credentialing body) peer reviews, and a written qualitative report.
  • Board members discussed a framework for review of the Appointments Committee process. Trustees would like to improve Board communications with the Appointments Committee, ensure the Committee has adequate staff support, clarify the knowledge the Board needs to approve appointments, and find ways to widen the circles of inclusion in leadership.
  • By way of continuing education, the Board welcomed theologian the Rev. Dr. Linda Mercadante, author of Belief Without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious, who gave Board members insights into the beliefs and characteristics of the SBNR and how we might reach out to serve them and invite their participation.
  • The UUA Board voted to endorse Commit2Respond a coordinated effort to focus Unitarian Universalists in addressing climate change.
  • The Board received and approved a report from the Ministerial Fellowship Committee on changes to its policies that will provide greater assurances of clarity, fairness and transparency in procedures for bringing complaints of ministerial misconduct.

June 29, 2015

Trustees reflected on the Black Lives Matter Action of Immediate Witness discussion and the challenges that remain in our democratic process and anti-racism work:

  • The AIW, sponsored by youth, came out of a flawed mini-Assembly and was further frustrated by procedural questions in the General Session. Youth Observer Caleb Leman noted youth were bothered that General Sessions were not more “about the big ideas.”
  • Reflecting on the pain and frustration in the General Session, Board members noted the issues were deeper than process, and the need to keep anti-oppression/anti-racism work in the forefront, in our congregations and at General Assembly, as we learn to be accountable to people of color.
  • The Transforming Governance group will bring to the Board in October proposals for creating space in our General Assembly processes for more meaningful discussion and inclusive participation.

The Board also reflected on its obligations in the democratic process and the need to ensure delegates understand the issues before them.

The Board voted to confirm the appointment of Dr. Dorothy Holmes to a one-year term as a trustee, welcoming the depth of scholarly knowledge and commitment she brings to diversity and multi-culturalism. Dr. Holmes recently served as director of the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at George Washington University. Her election by the Board fills a vacancy created by the resignation of a trustee candidate last spring.

Youth Observers Caleb Leman and Olivia Calvi, and incoming trustees Tim Atkins, Greg Boyd and Rev. Pat McLaughlin, joined the newly-constituted Board.

The Board elected its officers:Vice-Moderator, Susan Weaver; Secretary, Rob Eller-Isaacs; and Financial Secretary, James Snell.

You may also watch and read the Annual Report of the Board presented at General Assembly 2015 in Portland, OR.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rob Eller-Isaacs
Oh behalf of the UUA Board