Saturday, January 9, 2010

Una reunión de la Tabla de Fideicomisarios en San Antonio

First in a series about the January 2010 Board of Trustees meeting in San Antonio

Hmm -- I didn't even know I was a "fideicomisario", which sounds like a "commissioner of fidelity", which is not a bad description. Breaking tradition, the UUA Board of Trustees will be meeting outside of 25 Beacon in other than General Assembly.

Why San Antonio? My "guest columnist" for the explanation is Will Saunders, Trustee for the Northern New England District:

There are at least three reasons for this decision. First, as the Trustee from the Southwestern Conference has written, this “is a purposeful move by the Board to visit a city that is on the forefront of demographic trends impacting the whole country…/and/ with a distinctly multi-cultural flavor.” As President Morales has observed, it is critical that the UUA engage directly and respond robustly with these changes if we are to remain relevant in the coming decades. This meeting will include opportunities for the Board to explore multicultural issues in new ways. We are taking our lead from President Morales, once a resident of San Antonio and Donna Harrison, current resident of that city.

A second reason is to challenge widespread notions that the UUA is wedded to Boston. We take seriously the admonition that the past should have a vote, not a veto. We recognize that there is a widespread belief among Unitarian Universalists that all things Boston have too much sway, consciously or sub-consciously, on the life and work of the Association. We are determined to address these issues so that our movement may truly be national in both intent and design. The neighborhood of Boston, once an amusing third party in the Unitarian Universalist trinity, is no longer merely amusing. It is a subtlety which must be addressed. We meet in San Antonio to begin removing the shroud of all things Boston from our deliberations and our work.

A third reason is that, as the Board lives into Policy Governance, we must be intentional about linkage with our congregations. This has proved to be challenging; our initial efforts at linkage have been mixed. We are very much in a learning mode on how to link effectively. Our meeting in San Antonio is part of this effort and we look forward to spending time with leaders of UU congregations in the area. We approach this opportunity for linkage with learners’ mind, with hope and with a desire to be servants of our congregations.

I would like to add one more thought to Will's: one of the reasons for remaining in Boston was the easy access to staff. As the board shifts more towards doing their own (board ) work, and less time reviewing staff reports, it becomes more feasible to have a board meeting with fewer staff present. It doesn't mean we don't appreciate or need their work, but Policy Governance is giving both of us more freedom without losing accountability.

Next post: the agenda

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