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Town Hall Meeting District Name-change. Thomas Jefferson District Webinar March 4, 2010. Webcast Procedures. To ask a question during the presentation: Type the question in the message window. To send a message just to me, select my name from the Send To drop-down list.

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town hall meeting district name change

Town Hall MeetingDistrict Name-change

Thomas Jefferson District


March 4, 2010

webcast procedures
Webcast Procedures

To ask a question during the presentation:

Type the question in the message window.

To send a message just to me, select my name from the Send To drop-down list.

Note: I might not be able to answer technical questions during the presentation.

webcast procedures1
Webcast Procedures
  • If you can’t see the entire slide, change the Zoom percentage using the Zoom Control at the top of the screen.
  • When we move into verbal Q&A mode
    • Press 6 on your telephone keypad to unmute your phone
    • Press 6 again to mute again when you are finished.

7:00 Welcome and opening words

Objectives of webinar

Governance and name-change context

History of name-change

District name-change proposal

Process of name change


8:30 Adjourn and Closing Words

webinar objectives
Webinar Objectives
  • Acknowledge the history of our name
  • Understand the context of the name change proposal
  • Encourage a process in congregations of charging delegates to the Annual Meeting
  • Provide time for questions
opening words
Opening Words

We summon ourselves from the demands and delights of the daily round:      from the dirty dishes and unwaxed floors;      from unmowed grass, and untrimmed bushes;      from all incompletenesses and not-yet-startednesses;      from the unholy and the unresolved.

We summon ourselves to attend to our vision      of peace and justice;      of cleanliness and health;      of delight and devotion;      of the lovely and the holy;      of who we are and what we can do.

opening words1
Opening Words

We summon the power of tradition and the exhilaration of newness, the wisdom of the ages and the knowing of the very young.

We summon beauty, eloquence, poetry, and music to be the bearers of our dreams.

We would open our eyes, our ears, our minds, our hearts to the amplest dimensions of life. We rejoice in manifold promises and possibilities.

- Gordon McKeeman

tjd governance context1
TJD Governance Context
  • August ’06 – Board retreat that created vision; facilitated by Paula Cole Jones
  • August ’07 – Board retreat on governance-as-leadership training; facilitated by Gini Courter
    • Text: Governance as Leadership, Chait, Ryan, Taylor
  • August ’08 – Board retreat to update strategy; facilitated by Robert E. Smith
tjd governance context2
TJD Governance Context
  • August ’09 – Board retreat to transition to Policy-based governance; facilitated by Joe Sullivan
    • Claimed our values
    • Revised our vision
    • Drafted our ends statement
tjd governance context3
TJD Governance Context
  • October ‘09 – Board Meeting
    • Developed a schedule to write all board policies
  • December ‘09 – Exposure draft of policy manual made available on website
  • March ’10 – Engage congregational leaders via town hall meetings and webinars
  • April ’10 – Delegates will be asked to ratify at TJD Annual Meeting
tjd values draft
TJD Values (draft)

We strive to embody the following values in all of our work:

  • the inherent worth and dignity of every person
  • rational, emotional, and spiritual maturity
  • peace based on justice
  • equity and compassion
  • continuing revelation
  • respect for the interdependent web of life
  • responsibility
  • inclusivity
  • integrity in living out our values
tjd vision draft
TJD Vision (draft)
  • Grounded in our covenantal tradition, we are a vibrant faith community of healthy congregations who grow through connection, right relationships, and service, thereby transforming ourselves and the world.
tjd global ends within
TJD Global Ends - Within

Healthy congregations

  • Are made up of members and leaders who are spiritually and emotionally mature, generous, live with integrity, are in right relations with each other, and who serve and support each other in times of need
  • Are fiscally sound, competently managed, and led with vision
tjd global ends within1
TJD Global Ends - Within

Healthy congregations

  • Are transformative for its members through structures and programs that provide emotional support and promote integration of our rational, emotional and spiritual lives
  • Are growing in spirit, depth, and numbers by practicing radical hospitality and through multigenerational worship services and programming that are joyful, exciting, and challenging
tjd global ends among
TJD Global Ends - Among

A vibrant faith community that

  • Is in right relations with other congregations
  • Is in covenant with other UU congregations in partnerships, clusters, districts and with the UUA to share our strengths, gifts and talents
tjd global ends beyond
TJD Global Ends - Beyond

Our faith and values call us to

  • Share our saving message with individuals and organizations in our community and society
  • Serve our communities and society to make real our vision of wholeness
  • Transform our society by engaging other faith and secular communities in promoting our prophetic visions of peace based on justice, equity, and compassion in human and national relations, and of a healthy and sustainable environment that promotes the flourishing of life
sources of authority and accountability owners
Sources of Authority and Accountability (Owners)

Our sources of authority and accountability are:

  • Our member congregations
  • Current and future generations of Unitarian Universalists
  • The heritage, history, and ideals of Unitarian Universalism
  • The vision of beloved community
  • The spirit of love, life, and the holy
next steps on tjd governance
Next Steps on TJD Governance
  • Board approved policy manual exposure draft at Feb ’10 meeting
  • Expose policy manual for comments via website and webinars Dec ’09
  • Delegates will vote to ratify policies at

April ’10 annual meeting

  • Establish work group to examine by-laws and recommend revision as appropriate
context of district name
Context of District Name
  • GA Charlotte ’93
    • Costume Ball – “Must African Americans attend such events in rags and chains?” Rev. Hope Johnson
    • "Our [UU] history in regard to racial justice is brave enough to make you proud, tragic enough to make you cry, and inept enough to make you laugh once the anger passes.” Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed
  • DARTT District Identify Team studied name change issues ’95 – ’97
  • Motion at TJD Annual Meeting ’97 to change the name to Southeastern District failed by 9 votes
context of district name1
Context of District Name
  • District Identify Team ’03 – ’04
  • Board Discussion ’05 – ’06
  • Board Retreat Aug ’06
    • Developed vision with anti-racism, anti-oppression, multicultural emphasis
  • Board Retreat Aug ’07
    • Focused on Governance as Leadership
  • Board Meeting Oct ’07
    • Name-change committee established
  • Status report at annual meeting April ‘08
context of district name2
Context of District Name
  • Knoxville Tragedy July ’08
  • Board Retreat Aug ’08
    • Deferred name-change given focus on Knoxville
  • Board Retreat Aug ’09
    • Worked on transition plan to policy governance
    • Revised vision with focus on how we wish to be seen in our communities and the broader world
    • Decision to propose new name of Toward Justice more appropriate to our vision
    • Asked Annette to develop a proposal to create a new position of Social Justice Coordinator to support congregations in their work
context of district name3
Context of District Name
  • Board Meeting Oct ’09 reviewed responses to proposed Toward Justice District name
    • 19 individuals responded
    • 8 were enthusiastic about the proposed name
    • 5 were positive about the need for a new name but critical of the Toward Justice name
    • 4 were disappointed in the process that seemed to preclude other names
    • 2 were opposed to giving up the Thomas Jefferson name. 
context of district name4
Context of District Name
  • Oct ’09 Survey of district leadership
    • 45 congregations represented in response
    • 63% oppose any name change
    • 84% oppose Toward Justice
context of district name5
Context of District Name
  • Feb ’10 Board Meeting
    • Accepted recommendation from the Virginia Area Cluster of Unitarian Universalist Ministers & Religious Educators regarding an alternate name and a process for selecting
    • Offered three possible names:
      • Atlantic Southeast
      • Towne-Jordan
      • Toward Justice
next steps on name change
Next Steps on Name Change
  • Town Hall Webinars in March
  • Town Hall meetings at Annual Meeting
  • Solicit alternate names from congregations
  • Annual Meeting April 30 – May 1, Beaufort, SC at Historic Penn Center
rationale for name change
Rationale for Name Change

Sources of our authority and accountability

  • Our member congregations
  • Current and future generations of Unitarian Universalists
  • The heritage, history, and ideals of Unitarian Universalism
  • The vision of beloved community
  • The spirit of love, life, and the holy
rationale for name change1
Rationale for Name Change

Thomas Jefferson is important to UUs

  • Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786
  • The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (Jefferson Bible)
rationale for name change2
Rationale for Name Change

But Thomas Jefferson was

  • Episcopalian, albeit a Deist
  • Slave owner
  • Father of slaves
  • Freed only 5 of 135 slaves at his death
rationale for name change3
Rationale for Name Change

Thomas Jefferson’s views

  • “The amalgamation (of blacks and whites) produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of human character, can innocently consent”.
  • Black people “brought up from their infancy…are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves. Left to their own devices, they lacked the capacity to care for their own offspring.”

Twilight at Monticello, Alan Pell Crawford

rationale for name change4
Rationale for Name Change
  • “Ethics to Jefferson was little more than a process by which the rational individual chooses the most commonsense course from among a finite set of options. By reducing morality to a matter of rational selection and removing it from…influences of religious faith and practice, Jefferson ruled out the bold, the adventurous, (and) the imaginative, by which great challenges, such as ending slavery, might be accomplished…this seems a surprisingly constricted view of the moral universe, especially from the author of the Declaration of Independence with is soaring sense of human possibility…He could always insist, as he did throughout his life, that the time to end slavery had not arrived. But tragically, that was in no small part because Jefferson had resolutely chosen not to hasten its coming.”

Twilight at Monticello, Alan Pell Crawford, pp 100-104

where we are now
Where we are now
  • District board has voted unanimously for three years to change the name of the district
  • Town hall and webinars planned in March ‘10 to hear from congregations
  • Annual Meeting to vote on new name

May 1, ’10

  • Committee of the whole to consider all names that come forward from congregations
  • Requires super majority to approve
  • Why bring the name-change up again so soon?
  • Why denigrate a national hero?
  • Why are we caving to political correctness?
  • Who gets to decide a new name or keep the current name?
  • What is the process to change the name?
closing words
Closing Words

We have a calling in this world:

we are called to honor diversity

to respect differences with dignity

and to challenge those who would forbid it.

We are people of a wide path.

Let us be wide in our affection

and go our way in peace.

- Jean M Rickard Rowe