Outgoing UUA Financial Advisor Larry Ladd reflected on the health of the Association, and on his years of denominational service, during his final report to the General Assembly on Friday morning. Ladd will be succeeded in his role by Lucia Santini Field.
Introducing Ladd, UUA Moderator Jim Key called him “an institution and a force of nature within Unitarian Universalism.”
Ladd, who previously served two terms as Financial Advisor from 1997 to 2005, recalled how he was drawn back in when three years ago UUA Moderator Jim Key unexpectedly called and asked him to return to the role. “I hemmed and hawed for at least a minute. Then, I answered in the affirmative. Because I always have and I always will.”
Ladd has served the denomination for decades, holding roles as chair of the UUA Nominating Committee, Financial Advisor, and board chair of Meadville Lombard.
“Every day of service is an honor and a joy,” he said.
Ladd’s report on the UUA was generally positive. He said the financial condition of the Association is stable, calling the balance sheet “very strong.” He said the quality of oversight is excellent and the UUA’s financial practices are “above average for an organization of our size.”
“The board and administration take their stewardship responsibilities very seriously,” Ladd said. “We make our mistakes but they are corrected and we move on.”
Ladd reported that the governance condition of the UUA is “generally very good,” stating that the smaller board size and the end of district representation have improved board performance. He also said there is more diversity. However, Ladd said the UUA—like congregations—still has too many committees. “They misdirect volunteer energy away from mission-focused work. The shorter terms of officers and trustees, coupled with annual elections, are inhibiting the long-term focus that makes change possible.” He also said the decline in membership numbers and RE enrollments is troubling. But his overall outlook was hopeful.
“I see hope in the ministers who are assuming leadership within our movement and our most vibrant congregations,” he said. “I see hope in the congregations that are thriving because of their spiritual depth and mission focus. I see hope in our commitment to Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ work. And in our commitment to becoming an antiracist, antioppressive, multicultural movement.”