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UUA Fifth Principle Task Force. Reformulating our General Assembly: Status Quo Is Not An Option. Task Force Charge & Timeline. To present two or more recommendations on the future configuration and content of General Assembly. Areas to be examined include but are not limited to:

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uua fifth principle task force

UUA Fifth Principle Task Force

Reformulating our General Assembly:

Status Quo Is Not An Option

task force charge timeline
Task Force Charge & Timeline

To present two or more recommendations on the future configuration and content of General Assembly. Areas to be examined include but are not limited to:

Off-site participation in GA, including voting

Reconfiguration of GA content to include current pre-GA functions, i.e. leadership development and continuing education for laypersons and religious professionals

GA frequency

GA duration

Interim report: April, 2009

Final report: January 2010


UUA Board of Trustees is moving to Policy Governance

The current multi-event GA is no longer an effective mode of governance

We will pay for what we value

Some things work better smaller

Money & staff time required to produce annual GA can be better spent

End of the church year (June) is not the best time for the governing assembly of the UUA

Association governance would benefit from more active involvement by clergy

Meaningful change will require bylaws revisions

Successful association requires good lateral relationships


Economic accessibility & sustainability

Empowered delegates capable of representing their congregations

Excellence in shared leadership & ministry

Multi-generational participation & decision-making

Excellence in governance --

Business decisions reflect and articulate ultimate questions

Linkage between congregations, Trustees & Administration

Accountability between Association & congregations

Awareness and inclusiveness of AR/AO/MC concerns

imagining a uua national biennial conference
Imagining a UUA National Biennial Conference

Whose meeting is this?

Congregational Delegate Teams, UUA Board & Administration

Congregational Delegate Teams:

Clergy & Lay delegates

Elected & certified by their congregation or board

Teams include alternate delegates

All settled ministers, ministers emeriti & community ministers are part of delegate teams, as per current rules

Congregations encouraged to select youth to delegate teams – goal of at least one for every five delegates

No delegates from Associates: UUWF, UUSC, UU-UNO

No delegates from UUA Board of Trustees

uua national biennial conference
UUA National Biennial Conference

Congregational Delegate Teams

Core teams of at least five delegates

Congregational delegations of fewer than five will join with others from their geographic area

Seating on plenary floor arranged geographically

Teams seated contiguous to neighboring congregations

Then grouped by UUA District … Then by region.

Intentional space on floor for teams to meet and work together

Know our neighbors to build UU community & effectiveness beyond the walls of our churches

uua national biennial conference1
UUA National Biennial Conference

Conference purpose

Experience high powered, team-based learning

Achieve linkage through structured conversations among teams and with Trustees about the “ends” of the Association

Hear, question & discuss assessment reports from President on execution & results of strategic plans

Offer Responsive Resolutions to “ends” conversations & assessment reports in energized, focused plenary sessions

Elect Association officers. Off-site voting technology will be used by duly elected delegates who cannot attend

Conference will be governance-driven, not program-driven

uua national biennial conference2
UUA National Biennial Conference

What else?

Feed our spirits with daily worship and Sunday morning service

Feed our intellects & imaginations with one or more keynote addresses

Feed our bodies in fellowship with communal meals

Exhibit area open during mealtimes, evening and during breaks

Childcare provided and partially subsidized for delegates and alternates

Timing -- August (closer to start of church year) rather than June

uua national biennial conference3
UUA National Biennial Conference

Day One: Concentrated team-based learning

Delegates develop governance-related leadership skills designed to:

Enable effective participation at National Conference

Share best practices to take back to our congregations

Days Two and Three: Governance sessions

In structured conversations and plenaries, delegates use these skills to conduct UUA business

Days Three and Four: Service projects and worship

Participants express UU values through collective service and Sunday worship

uua national biennial conference4
UUA National Biennial Conference

Will non-delegates be able to attend?

Observers will be welcome to attend all Conference activities, but with the exception of a local service project, there will be no special programming for them

Observers will pay a registration fee and be responsible for their own expenses

uua national biennial conference5
UUA National Biennial Conference

Funding the congregational delegates

Lay delegates’ expenses (registration, travel, hotel, on-site meals) are fully paid by the Association for Fair Share congregations

Merit Increase Congregations’ lay delegates could be substantially paid

Ministerial delegates responsible for their own expenses

uua national biennial conference6
UUA National Biennial Conference

What will the grid look like?

Wednesday afternoon: Delegate check-in & orientation

Wednesday night: Opening

Thursday: Learning day for delegate teams

Friday morning: Breakout sessions for delegate teams & Trustees to discuss ends and big questions

Friday afternoon: Plenary including forum for candidates

Friday evening: Keynote similar to Ware Lecture

Saturday morning: Breakout session discussion continued; Observers invited to participate in daylong community service project

Saturday afternoon: Free time

Sunday Morning: Worship & Closing

what about the alternate years
What about the Alternate Years?

National Biennial Conference would be in odd years. Anticipate beginning in 2013.

What would happen in even years?

Some possibilities:

Another kind of National Meeting

Thematically aligned Regional Gatherings

A Unitarian Universalist “Week of Service”

A year off

even year possibilities
Even-Year Possibilities

Another kind of National Meeting:

Revival with music, worship, inspiration

Seminars focusing on theological questions

A UU University learning format


Encounters with UUA leadership

All of these? Some of these?

even year possibilities cont
Even-Year Possibilities (cont.)

Thematically aligned Regional Gatherings

Heavy use of technology to bring programming to as many UUs as possible

Include some region-based independent programming at each site

A Unitarian Universalist “Week of Service” - we “do” rather than talk

A year off

current ga elements to consider
Current GA Elements to consider:

Service of the Living Tradition

Ware Lecture

UU University

Affinity Group Annual Meetings (~40)

Seminaries annual dinners

Donor reception

Vendors (UUA Bookstore, Beacon Press, others) would have national venue only every other year

Annual networking with UUA Staff

task force process to date
Task Force Process to Date

Task Force meetings since Jan 2008:

3 in person

3 conference calls

Interviews/feedback from:

UUMA Executive Committee

District Presidents Association

District Staff

UUA Board Governance Working Group

Interviews of other denominations:



Episcopal Church

Reformed Judaism

cost implications considerations
Cost Implications / Considerations

Current annual UUA expense & staff/volunteer time for General Assembly

Estimated annualized UUA costs for a Biennial National Conference

UUA expense & staff/volunteer time

Cost to subsidize delegates

potential associated bylaw business process changes timing
Potential Associated Bylaw & Business Process Changes & Timing

Potential Bylaw & Business Process Changes:

From annual General Assembly to biennial National Conference

Possibly reduce the number of delegates

Possibly change or eliminate the Commission on Social Witness process

Potential Timing of Changes:

UUA BoT place proposed Bylaw changes on agenda for 2010 GA

Two-year process for Bylaw changes. Final approval by delegates at 2011 GA

task force members
Task Force members:

Denise Davidoff

Janiece Sneegas

Jose Ballester

Gini Courter

Mark G. Gibbons

Daniel O'Connell

Barbara Prairie

Esther Rosado

Joe Sullivan