The UUA Board of Directors is making a major shift toward a policy governance model. In the process they are working on a new “global ends policy,” i.e. a mission statement. Still in draft form, it has two components: core values and a statements. Today’s Unitarian Universalist Trivia Question of the Day asked what these were. The three core values that the Board has identified are wonder, connection, and transformation. These are what the Board believes the UUA exists to promote. The statement is more involved:
“Grounded in our covenantal tradition, the UUA will inspire people to lead lives of humility and purpose, connection and service, thereby transforming themselves and the world.”
Notably, wonder doesn’t appear in the statement. Presumably, the ideal of wonder is encompassed in the idea of living humble, purposeful lives.
The UUA will be seeking feedback on these ideas from the districts. So it’s time to start considering whether you’d like to pass along a comment. Do you believe “our covenantal tradition” can/should inspire people in this way? Do you feel the UUA’s purpose is to offer inspiration toward leading connected, purposeful lives? Do humility, purpose, connection, and service indeed lead to self- and world-transformation? What policies should the UUA adopt to promote this sort of transformational inspiration? Are there other ideals that you feel are left out? Whether you agree 100% or disagree 100%, these are worthwhile theological and practical issues to contemplate.
The Board of the Unitarian Universalist Association is undergoing a major culture shift right now, essentially a shift toward what is known as “policy governance.” Essentially, this means that the Board will no longer be involved in the micromanaging of UUA policies and procedures. Instead, the function of the Board will be to provide vision for the denomination and set overall policies, while delegating the details of the actual implementation of many of those policies to UUA staffmembers. This will be one of the most significant reorganizations of the Board (and therefore the UUA) in a long time.
One major step in this move toward policy governance is creating a “global ends policy,” basically a sort of overarching mission statement. At the moment, the UUA Board’s new global ends policy has a set of three core values and an attendant ends statement. Can you name these values and list the draft statement?
“Time by moments steals away
First the hour, and then the day;
Small the daily loss appears,
Yet it soon amounts to years.
Thus another year is flown;
Now it is no more our own,
If it brought or promised good,
Than the years before the flood.
But may none of us forget
It has left us much in debt;
Who can tell the vast amount
Placed to every one’s account!
If we see another year,
May thy blessing meet us here;
Sun of righteousness, arise,
Warm our hearts and bless our eyes!
–“New Year’s Day,” The Gospel Psalmist: A Collection of Hymns and Tunes, for Public, Social, and Private Devotion. Especially Designed for the Universalist Denomination, by J.G. Adams and S.B. Ball (Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1869): 325.
Today’s UU Trivia Question of the Day asked when Interweave was founded. Actually, it was founded first under the name “UU Gay Caucus” (also sometimes called “Unitarian Universalists for Gay Concerns”) in 1971. In the beginning it was a support group for homosexual UUs, but it expanded pretty quickly into advocacy as well (successfully lobbying for a UUA Office for Gay Affairs, for example) and eventually expanded to include a wide range of sexual orientations/gender identities.
A hundred years ago, our Unitarian and Universalist forebearers would’ve been plenty surprised at an official denominational group for folks of non-heterosexual proclivities. Yet today, an entire generation has passed since the creation of Interweave. As slow as progress seems to be, it can also be mighty fast when you take the longer picture.
Merry Christmas! Now, with that out of the way, on to today’s Unitarian Universalist Trivia Question of the Day. The answer to Tuesday’s question was Interweave, the queer UU advocacy and support organization. Originally devoted to gay men’s issue, Interweave has expanded to encompass a wide range of sexual and gender identities. Today’s question is quite simple:
When was Interweave first founded?
Hint: It wasn’t called Interweave at first.
“Let party names no more
The Christian world o’erspread;
Gentile and Jew, and bond and free,
Are one in Christ their head.
Among the saints on earth
Let mutual love be found;
Heirs of the same inheritance,
With mutual blessings crowned.
Let envy and ill-will
Be banished far away;
Those should in holy friendship dwell
Who the same Lord obey.
Thus will the Church below
Resemble that above;
Where streams of purest pleasure flow,
And every heart is love.”
–Beddome, in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Compiled for the Use of Universalist Churches, Associations, and Social Meetings, ed. by H.R. Nye and G.L. Demarest (Cincinnati: The Star in the West, 1861): 144-145
A couple of years ago there were about 60 Independent Affiliates of the UUA; today there are 7. They are, in no particular order: Interweave Continental, Universalist Convocations, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, Council of UU Camps and Conferences, Diverse & Revolutionary Multicultural UU Ministries, Unitarian Universalist Ministry for the Earth, and Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council.