After a mid-morning break, the UUA Board of Trustees—which is meeting for the first time with newly-elected UUA President Peter Morales—acknowledged that they started awkwardly this morning. “We started weird,” Moderator Gini Courter said.
The Rev. Jeanne Pupke, a newly elected trustee-at-large, said she was concerned that a statement read by the Rev. Will Saunders at the start of this morning’s meeting had seemed to say to Morales, “sit down and shut up.” She added, “Our president was duly elected and has a lot of support.” Although she had supported the Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman’s candidacy, Pupke said, she was eager to work with Morales and wanted to welcome him.
The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, the board’s chaplain and trustee from the Metropolitan New York District, said that she had invited Saunders to offer a statement during this morning’s meeting in order to focus the board on its need to embrace a common vision after the divisions of the campaign season. (About half of the trustees had endorsed each of the candidates for president, but Saunders had remained neutral in the race.) McNatt said she regretted not thinking more about when such a statement would have been most useful on today’s agenda.
Morales said that he recognized that “that was not an attack on me.” He added, “Having spent eleven years in journalism, I have a thicker skin than most people.”
Courter said that she hadn’t read Saunders’s statement in advance and “was regretting where it ended up being positioned.”
“We started weird,” Courter observed. “Just because I don’t know what to do with the elephant in the room doesn’t mean you don’t,” she said to her colleagues. “This is a board with a very deep culture, and some of it will not be evident, and some of it has nothing to do with the current president of the UUA, or even with the previous president or the president before that. And I hear Peter saying that he knows it’s not about him.”