Sunday, January 27, 2013

How we gather

Second in a series of posts about the January UUA Board meeting

In 2009 the Fifth Principle Task Force presented their report with the refrain "the status quo is not an option". Task Force chair Denny Davidoff even threatened to propose revoking the UU fifth principle if something was not done to how we governed ourselves at General Assemblies.

General Assembly governance is still mostly "status quo", Justice GA notwithstanding.  Faced with a two year change process for the by-laws that govern GA plenaries, the board delayed action until after last summer's assembly.

It appears most of the recommendations will not be taken up any time soon.  We will still have delegates that are mostly self-funded, excluding those without the time or resources to get there, and often chosen because they were going, with little or no guidance from, or attempt to represent, their congregations.

Though an excellent piece of work, the recommendations were, as the Board requested, about governance.  What has become clear is that separating how we govern from how we gather is not only a leap for most of our GA attendees, but the two are synergistic.  Exciting workshops and opportunities for affinity groups to meet create a "buzz" that adds to the experience even for those addicted to by-laws.  Large annual gatherings of some sort create opportunities for critical mass for some of our smallest minority groups -- creating connections to each other that strengthen our faith. 

This theme was emphasized multiple times by the various groups invited to speak to the board on Friday:  Young Adults, members of DRUUMM, the District Presidents Association, and the UU Ministers Association. 

There is still agreement that there needs to be change in terms of how we choose delegates and hold them accountable.  I expect significant discussion at General Assembly in June  -- but don't expect any votes around Fifth Principle recommendations. 

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