Friday, June 23, 2023
Results of Voting
By now, you all probably know the results of voting on Article II amendments.
General Session II
Here are the General Session II voting results on amendments to Article II from Thursday’s General Session II. Two amendments were adopted and three were defeated.
- Amendment 19 inserted “affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person” into the Equity value.
- Amendment 61 returned the Seven Principles to the proposed Article II language.
- Amendment 25 inserted “To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another, this is our covenant” into the new Values and Covenant section.
- Amendment 30 inserted “and spiritual development” as among the purposes of the Association.
- Amendment 26 inserted “to support and encourage the creation of new Unitarian Universalist communities” as among the purposes of the Association.
General Session III
Here are the General Session III voting results on amendments to Article II from Friday’s General Session III.
- Amendment 51 returned Six Sources to the proposed Article II language.
- Amendment 6 inserted “we remain committed to individual and congregational freedom of belief and individual right of conscience” into the Freedom of Belief section.
- Amendment 68 inserted “will embrace UU [values] in their own search for truth and meaning” into the Inclusion section.
- Amendment 70 added a new value, Gratitude.
- Amendment 1 inserted a list of enumerated sources into the Inspiration section.
- Amendment 13 inserted “within our congregations and the society at large” into the Justice value as it relates to the use of the democratic process.
- Amendment 52 added additional language to the Independence value.
- Amendment 5 inserted language into the Inspiration section.
To see voting results for all General Sessions, visit this link.
Despite these results, it was a good day. I took time to walk by the river in the morning. It was beautiful. Pittsburgh has a very nice system of riverside trails.
UUA Budget Meeting
At noon I attended the meeting on the UUA budget. The report was made by a pre-recorded presentation. There was a short time at the end for live questions.
The 2024 budget has a $132,000 deficit. This deficit included built-in contingencies to give the finance team some wiggle room. The deficit will be filled by some unused funds from 2023 and some remaining Paycheck Protection Program loan money.
Drop in Annual Program Fund
Contributions from congregations are expected to be down about $150,000 from $8,125,000 in 2023 to $7,972,000 in 2024. This drop in APF contributions (Annual Program Fund) is attributed to “financial stress at the congregational level.” The presentation did not identify any particular reasons for this reduction—which could include a congregation’s loss of members and a corresponding decrease in revenue, congregations intentionally reducing contributions due to conflict, or congregations closing altogether. The congregations that traditionally gave at the full Fair Share level continue to do so.
Drop in Publication Income
The UUA’s publication income is down. In 2021 White Fragility boosted the UUA income. The 2022 publication revenue was down to $641,000. Income is expected to be $870,000 for 2023. The 2024 projection is $919,000. Authentic Selves is coming online with Skinner books. Sales of this title and others are projected to be strong.
Widening the Circle of Concern
Implementation of the Commission on Institutional Change’s report, Widening the Circle of Concern, now has its own budget line item. The Commission issues an annual implementation progress report. The third report should be released soon. In 2023 the Commission anticipated it would spend $161,000 of the $507,000 that was budgeted. In 2024 $526,000 is budgeted for 2024, which includes money not spent in 2023.
They have also added a budget line item for “Governance” for the Accountability Launch Team.
Comments on General Assembly
Before all the questions were answered, I left the budget meeting to join the rest of the team for lunch. It was great to have almost everyone together. Unfortunately, the food at the Convention Center is expensive and not very interesting. Tomorrow we will order for delivery from a sandwich shop.
I saw a post on the GA Wohva app
“This is my first GA and I’m considering going home over how the seven principles are discussed. I never thought that this would be the space where I would feel discriminated against for my faith. . .The woman who called me backward for not wanting to change my faith really hit me in a soft spot. . .If Article II gets rewritten, I don’t think I’ll stay. . .This is not the religion I joined when I came of age.”
I invited this person to join us for lunch. He could not join us today, but he may come tomorrow and bring a friend.
After lunch, I headed for the General Session that started with the “Presidential Candidate Forum.” Sofia Betancourt answered questions that delegates had submitted. During this forum, delegates were occasionally distracted by a small bat that swooped overhead in the Convention Center.
Rev. Matthew Johnson, from the Election Campaign Practices Committee, asked submitted questions. He chastised the delegates for asking Sofia about her thoughts on being the only candidate. The 2021 General Assembly affirmed the UUA bylaw requirement that a minimum of two presidential candidates must be put forward. Rev. Johnson said the question was inappropriate for Sofia and should be directed at the Presidential Search Committee. He further stated that the question was racist and sexist.
The Care Team followed the Presidential Candidate Forum. Their report noted that there had been numerous “ouch” moments during the Article II discussion yesterday and asked delegates to be more respectful.
This was followed by a musical interlude “Though I may speak with bravest fire, and have the gift to all inspire, and have not love; my words are vain; as sounding brass, and hopeless gain.”
The message seemed to have gotten through. Delegates were engaged, with many in the pro and con lines for all of the proposals, but the delegates were respectful and, for the most part, held their applause and expressions of outrage.
There were no amendments to the Business Resolution, so we were able to discuss eight Article II amendments in the afternoon, leaving only two to discuss on Saturday.
After General Session
When the General Session closed, several from our team went out on the sidewalk to connect with delegates and distribute flyers and cards. We had in-depth discussions with several people. Many people accepted our cards and flyers. These discussions continued into dinner.
The restaurant was full, so we sat at the bar and chatted about Article II with our neighbors. One man approached us to ask about my tee shirt. He was from New York. Undermining the UUA Board’s self-awarded congratulation on its good job engaging UUs in the Article II debate, he shared that, before GA, he had not heard anything about the Article II proposal.
Tomorrow is the final discussion on Article II amendments. We will also discuss the Actions of Immediate Witness and any Responsive Resolutions. The vote on Article II will be in the evening.
I want to tell everyone how gratifying it is to get words of encouragement from my readers. This treatment contrasts with our reception in Portland, where we were called liars, Nazis, and shouted at. I’m truly amazed at the number of people who come up to me on the street and say, “You’re Rebecca Pace! Thank you for doing this!” Well, I thank you for your support.
Visit the Savethe7Principles Website
The Savethe7Principles’ GA23 Recommendations web page is an excellent resource for understanding the details of the discussion of the proposed Article II language.