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Monday, May 7, 2007

This week at Seven Principles playground.

Michelle Deakin writes about a Texas UU congregation's new playground — designed to represent the UUA's Seven Principles and keep kids from playing in a nearby creek. From the archives, Warren Ross described the process that created the Seven Principles; one year ago, Don Skinner reported that the Principles are currently under review by the Commission on Appraisal. (In January 2007 the Commission mailed each congregation a packet to help generate local feedback.)

In the news, Jane Greer reports that the UUA Board of Trustees has asked for a change in how funds for theological education are distributed. As always, Sonja Cohen monitors another week of Unitarian Universalists in the media.

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 7 May 2007 at 7:09 AM

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May 7, 2007 04:36 PM | Permalink for this comment

Sean Parker Dennison writes about the UUA board's instructions to the Panel on Theological Education from his perspective as a trustee of the Starr King School for the Ministry:

First, it is hard to believe this is not related to the administration’s disappointment that the two schools did not decide to merge.

Second, it seems a bit short-sighted to pull funds from our institutions when they are already struggling financially. Each school depends on the PTE for a quarter of a million dollars a year. That is not small change. The endowment fund was put in place for that purpose and the schools have relied on it in good faith. Changing that suddenly makes both institutions vulnerable.

And third, both schools have put quite a lot of effort into plans that reach out to students in non-UU seminaries, providing classes in polity, history, and Unitarian Universalist theologies. It seems to me that we’d want to support those efforts. Perhaps the panel will begin to pour money into scholarships and financial aid for students. I wouldn’t be at all sad to see that. But if the unintended consequence is that there are no Unitarian Universalist seminaries for those students to attend, we’ll be pouring the money from the Fund for Theological Education into other denomination’s coffers before long.

Sean also urges delegates to the General Assembly to seek clarification about the bylaw change that would describe the moderator as the Association's "chief governance officer."

Colin Bossen and Derek also wonder about the impact on Starr King and Meadville Lombard in comments at Boy in the Bands.

Daniel OConnell:

May 9, 2007 12:15 AM | Permalink for this comment

Sean has made excellent points, which deserve attention.

If non-UU schools are thriving with UU students, why do we want to take money away from them and pour money into the non-UU schools?

Sean raises the question of the Moderator as Governance Officer. I'm sure to those in the know, this is simply a house-keeping issue.

And to the other 98% of us, it may not be. Because of the lack of accountability and transparency between the UUA board and its constituency, and because the resolution itself offers no rationale, there is bound to be suspicion among those who demand more accountability from the UUA Board than it currently offers.

Food for thought,


(Rev.) Dr. Daniel OConnell
President of the Board of Trustees
Central Midwest District of the UUA of C
St. Louis, MO

Nancy Proctor:

May 15, 2007 05:14 PM | Permalink for this comment

It is the Board's job to make the Administrative STaff accountable but I don't think that is happening.

At the same time the Board of Trustees requested the Pathway evaluation, they also voted to do the following:

1. VOTED: That the UUA Administration put into writing the terms, expectations and agreements of current and future partnerships between the UUA and regional, local or other entities designed to foster healthy congregational growth.

2. VOTED: To ask the Administration to provide the Board with regular and timely benchmark and monitoring reports through the life of growth projects, for each of the five strategic areas outlined in the “UU Growth Strategies” memo from the Growth Team dated October 12, 2005.[i]

Where is our institutional memory? Let's get some reality-based benchmarks and metrics at the UUA.


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