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Board appoints committee to nominate next UUA moderator

Five-member group will recommend successor to Gini Courter.
By Michelle Bates Deakin
5.30.11

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UUA Moderator Gini Courter

Gini Courter has served as moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association since 2003. Her final term will end in 2013. (Nancy Pierce/UUA)

The Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association has named the members of the Moderator Nominating Committee, which will choose candidates for the position of UUA moderator.

The board voted on the candidates at its May 26 telephone meeting. The members of the committee are: Ted Fetter, chair; Abhimanyu Janamanchi; the Rev. Scott McNeill; the Rev. Manish Mishra; and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles. Jackie Shanti, trustee of the Clara Barton District, who is the board’s vice moderator, will serve as liaison to the committee from the Board of Trustees.

The committee is charged with issuing a call for nominations and recommending one or more possible candidates for moderator. The moderator chairs the board and the General Assembly and is the chief governance officer of the UUA. Gini Courter has served as moderator since 2003, when she was appointed as interim moderator to serve out the term of Diane Olson. Courter was elected to a full term in 2005 and was reelected in 2009. Her second term expires in 2013.

The committee’s chair, Ted Fetter, is a member of the UU Congregation of Princeton, N.J., where he has been an active lay leader and past president. He is president of the UUA’s Metropolitan New York District and president-elect of the District President’s Association. “I like governance,” said Fetter, who said he is humbled to have been selected to chair the committee.

Fetter spoke with UU World by telephone the morning after the board voted on the committee’s composition. Though he had just been approved the night before, he was already thinking about the qualities a successful moderator will possess. Among those traits, he said, are a collaborative and collegial leadership style and a high degree of familiarity with Policy Governance® and UUA governance specifically. “UUA bylaws and General Assembly process are not intuitive,” he said. Fetter also envisions a partnership with the UUA president and a person with an “inviting, open personality.”

The committee will recommend nominees to the board by November 2011. The board will then nominate at least one candidate for moderator. The General Assembly will elect a new moderator in 2013. The process for nominating the moderator was changed by the General Assembly in a series of election reforms approved in 2010.

Janamanchi joins the committee from the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, Fla. He is an active youth leader, having served on the Florida District Board of Trustees and the General Assembly Youth Caucus staff.

The Rev. Scott McNeill is minister of the Second Unitarian Church of Omaha. The Rev. Manish Mishra is minister of the UU Church in Cherry Hill, N.J. The Rev. Linda Olson Peebles is minister of Religious Education at the UU Church of Arlington, Va., and a former member of the Board of Trustees.

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