(GA) in New Orleans – and a Year End Message from Your Board of Trustees
MDUUC Was Well Represented …
at the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans June 20-25th, 2017: on stage, in leadership and during the voting with 30 members attending, including 10 voting delegates. 4000+ UU’s gathered for the annual meetings, worship, and youth caucus, from all over the world and accomplished a great deal, including:
- Voted for the first female UUA president elected to office: the Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray
- Voted to change ‘women and men’ to ‘people’ in the 2nd Source language
- Voted to modify the ‘Standing on the Side of Love’ campaign to be more inclusive, and inaugurated composer Jason Shelton’s new lyrics, ‘Answering the Call of Love’
- Voted ‘Yes’ for a committee to add an 8th Principle for combating racism and dismantling white supremacy
Incoming Youth Representative on MDUUC’s Board of Trustees, Lugh Baxter, spoke to the entire Assembly at the “SYNERGY BRIDGING WORSHIP.” They discussed their experiences attending Summer Seminary at Starr King School.
The entire service can be found online at: http://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2017/worship/synergy.
The UUA Board of Trustees appointed Rev. Leslie Takahashi to chair a newly created Commission on Institutional Change, whose focus will be an examination of the impact of white supremacy on Unitarian Universalism.
Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, MDUUC Community Minister shared her perspective on how race impacts her ministry and her GA experience, as a queer, Muslim UU minister of color. Rev. Leslie shared MDUUC’s progress on building Beloved Community, and our congregation’s work in Beloved Conversations.
On Sunday, July 2nd, MDUUC Summer Minister Jim Lewis led a GA service in which participants shared readings, music and GA experiences each found most moving.
Sue Polgar (Membership Committee Chair) shares the good news of Susan Frederick-Gray’s election!
Courses and workshops on ‘White Fragility,’ De-Centering Whiteness,’ were challenging and essential, uncomfortable work.
Michele Carroll shares the ribbon from Beloved Conversations: ”No Really, The Problem is WHITE SUPREMACY.”
New Member of MDUUC Board of Trustees, Kaitlin Dey challenges our congregation to ‘jump in with both feet and swim with the weight of your discomfort’ around white supremacy culture.
As Bryan Stephenson said in his Ware Lecture in New Orleans,
“We will not change the world if we’re not willing to do uncomfortable things.”
After the powerful Sunday service led by Jim Lewis, Rev. Ranwa and Jim led another full-to-capacity ‘white supremacy teach-in’ where 40+ people entered what Ranwa calls ‘Brave Space,’ to continue the work to see, acknowledge and begin to undo white supremacy culture in ourselves.
2016-2017 Year-End Message
MDUUC has much to be proud of, and to reflect on, as we conclude the 2016-2017 church year. In the aftermath of the unprecedented and stressful November election, MDUUC served as sanctuary for members and newcomers seeking spiritual comfort. The strength of our community and its shared values are the foundation we all need in these times and our diversity is truly a strength to nurture.
Your generous pledging, exceeding goal for perhaps the first time in history (!) enabled us to further strengthen our ministerial team, hiring both a new Director of Lifespan Religious Education (DLRE) and a second full time Minister, a Minister of Engagement & ho we’ll formally welcome next month.
Our strong financial position enabled board actions at our June meeting on staff compensation and working environment, much better aligned to our values. To recap:
- Health Insurance Coverage – the board approved extending paid health care coverage to 100% for our Lead Minister and other eligible church staff.
- Health Insurance Eligibility – approved changing eligibility requirements to include all staff working 25 hours or more per week (previously eligibility started at 30 hours per week).
- Scaff Building Premises and Furniture Improvements – approved Place Council’s recommended use of up to $21,050 from church operating funds for renovations and upgrades (from LED lighting to installing a/c) needed for incoming ministerial leaders’ offices and we support FREC’s plan for a fundraiser coming soon, to cover furnishings as well!
New Board Officers: As the church year concluded in June, we transitioned two Board leadership roles: Leslie Baxter and Les Polgar who continue as Board members will no longer serve respectively as Board President and Secretary. Please take the time to thank them both for their leadership in these roles over the past two years and to welcome in the new Executive Committee for our Board of Trustees: Michele Carroll as Board President, Steve Hirsch as Board Vice President, Kate Newkirk as Board Secretary and David Stanley as returning Board Treasurer.
MDUUC @GA: We are proud of MDUUC’s large youth delegation to UU General Assembly in New Orleans, among 30 participating MDUUC members. A primary theme woven throughout the 5-day gathering was the injustice arising from our country’s culture of white supremacy. We wanted to especially share with you the key votes and Rev. Leslie’s appointment to Chair the Commission on Institutional Change – stories above.
Also, as MDUUC is among UU churches that have not formally recognized Black Lives Matter, or Black Lives of UU (BLUU), the Board has asked our Social Justice Council to develop a recommendation for MDUUC’s response to the call by the UUA to take action against institutional racism, in the context of our church’s strategic goal of becoming an EXUBERANTLY multicultural community by 2020.
As always, please feel free to reach out to us during coffee hour or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.