At the 2009 GA in Salt Lake City delegates will elect a new UUA president and the Rev. William Sinkford will step down after eight years. The two announced candidates, the Rev. Laurel Hallman of First Unitarian in Dallas and the Rev. Peter Morales, of Jefferson Unitarian in Golden, Colorado, made several joint appearances this week in Fort Lauderdale. The one that drew the greatest crowd was a forum Saturday evening at which the candidates read prepared statements and also answered questions. A few hundred people were there.
We’ll write more about this in UU World, but suffice it to say both candidates have developed constituencies. Their booths are across the aisle from each other in the exhibit hall and there seems to always be a crowd there, especially when the candidates are “in.”
At the forum Morales said he wants us to be more than a “tiny fringe” religion. He said he has three major issues: growing our movement, continuing the public witness and social justice ministry that Sinkford has become known for, and he would also put together a task force to develop a new “strategy of ministry,” ensuring that we will have the quality and number of ministers that we need in the years ahead.
Hallman talked about how valuable it was for her to find Unitarian Universalism as a young woman. She vowed to focus on keeping young people within the faith “and to make our faith vital in the world before us” and to “liberate us from the ways we sometimes make our faith too small.” She added that she wanted to ensure there would be a place in Unitarian Universalism for all those people who have not found us yet.
The candidates also appeared together at a forum on Thursday focusing on environmental issues and they have met individually with a number of special interest groups at GA. Throughout the next year they will appear together and individually at district events and at other venues.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.