Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 2009 Board Overview

First in a series of posts about the April 2009 UUA Board of Trustees meeting

It was a good omen.

As my flight landed in Boston, I found myself responding to the question from the woman sitting next to me: "what do Unitarian Universalists believe?" At one time I would have been desperately trying to remember my elevator speech, mumbling something about salvation and love with the Universalists, and character with the Unitarians. No more - now I talk about a different paradigm for a religion, one with a covenant rather than a creed; where I worship with a community of people who may differ in religious beliefs, but like me have chosen to "stay at the table" with that community (even when it is hard to do so) and work together to impact the world around us. And I talk about how that has impacted my life.

The woman on the other side of her leaned over and said somewhat incredulously "are you a UU?" Turns out she was a former Board member from the San Francisco church, and we had even been at a meeting together some years before. After more discussion, I think the woman between us (who lives on the Peninsula) will be checking out one of our congregations soon as I gave her the uuba.org website.

This meeting was bittersweet because this was the last regular meeting for several trustees who will be going off the Board -- not to mention President Bill Sinkford. These are strong leaders, who have made a significant impact on the Board's culture.

In terms of time, governance once again took first place, as we listened to the feedback gleaned from our conversations across the US in the preceding months, amending our draft "ends" based on this feedback, and grappled with the criteria for what a board committee should be doing. We are also reorganizing the board working groups to work more effectively in our new governance process. Multicultural training helped us realized how dangerous assumptions could be, and the "deep chair" conversation on covenant with Burton Carley and Barbara Merritt was exceptional. I will be posting on these and more over the next few weeks.

Next post: Governance as Holy Work: What were they thinking?

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