The UUA Board of Trustees met Tuesday, June 24, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The pre-GA meeting, which had a relatively short agenda, covered topics ranging from the Congregations Come First initiative to budgetary reports to a review of the UUA Principles and Purposes.
UUA President William G. Sinkford expressed doubt about the Congregations Come First initiative, which has been a basis for much UUA decision-making, including the rigorous new rules for organizations wishing to become independent affiliates and the reorganization of the international office. "I was one of the early voices calling for an emphasis on congregations," Sinkford said. "However, I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with that trajectory." He said that he had become much more aware of "trans-congregational" populations, especially among UU youth and young adults and the community of color. The idea of having only one way of being Unitarian Universalist (by being a member of a UU congregation) sounds fundamentalist, he said. "Fundamentalism doesn't fit our theology or religious culture." While Sinkford declared continued support for Congregations Come First, he did call for increased recognition of those Unitarian Universalists who fall outside congregational boundaries.
The UUA will end fiscal year '08 in the black, according to Lyn Conley, the board's finance committee chair. Despite the fact that this year's General Assembly projects a loss of $200,000-300,000, a surplus from Beacon Press will help keep the Association out of the red. Much of the savings achieved by the UUA staff is due to cut-backs in training, Conley said.
The UUA's Annual Program Fund is expected to come in over budget, Conley said, while the Friends of the UUA will fall below expectations. The five-year "Now is the Time" comprehensive campaign has reached 79 percent of its goal and is expected to exceed that goal.
The board passed a motion endorsing the Commission on Appraisal as the "official" body charged with reviewing the UUA's Principles and Purposes (a survey mandated in the UUA bylaws to take place "not less than every 15 years").
The board also welcomed WellSprings Congregation, a new UU congregation in Chester Springs, Pa., into the UUA.
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Jane Greer is a former senior editor of UU World magazine.