Friday, March 20, 2009

What Do You Want in a UUA President?

I think we're lucky.

From what I can tell, we have two candidates for UUA president who are very highly esteemed by their colleagues. I've spoken to supporters on both sides and heard both admiration and love for Morales and Hallman.

At a party last weekend, I spoke to a minister, asking which candidate he supported. He told me and I noted, "And you know that person." I didn't mean that as any sort of "Of course you're supporting ..." Quite the opposite. Familiarity can mean that you know the person's weaknesses. To hear a full-throated endorsement of someone they know on a personal level has weight.

Of course, for many of us, we know of the candidates, but don't know the candidates. So for us, it's not the singer, it's a matter of supporting the candidate who sings our song.

My question, and I do have one ... what do you want to see in a UUA president? If you don't know who you support, so much the better. I'll have more posts about the UUA election. Right now, well, to quote the Spice Girls ... Tell me what ya want, what ya really really want.

Or do you even care?


ogre said...

Being of a mind that congregations can't be made to grow, succeed, or fail by outsiders, I'm more interested in how the president of the association of congregations will (or could) help new congregations form and thrive.

Sure, be a voice for the movement, when the movement needs one.

Sure, oversee things with the board. Encourage the development of new and useful programs that congregations can/may/will/might use.

But the thing that the association can do that congregations don't seem to do much of (though a few are trying some ideas) is to help encourage the creation of new congregations.

Oh, and help our thousand or so congregations understand what the picture made by those thousand points looks like from a distance, where the points blur together.

Robin Edgar said...

"Tell me what ya want, what ya really really want."

I really really want a UUA President that will consistently live up to their own religious rhetoric rather than fail or refuse to do so when it is "less than convenient" to do so. I really really want a UUA President who will stand on the side of love for victims of U*U clergy misconduct and honor apparently empty UUA "pledges" to "bend towards justice" and provide restorative justice for ALL victims of clergy misconduct.

Masasa said...

I care.

The years immediately ahead of us seem to me to be in a critical period. Particularly economically speaking. The church I serve as DRE cut all staff salaries this January because of a $65,000 shortfall. Many congregations may face the decision of whether or not to close doors if things continue. Will we be in the landscape of the religious future?

I have made my decision about which candidate I am supporting. I attended about three debates and had at least two personal conversations with each of the candidates before deciding. I didn't decide what I expected I would. Morales has my vote.

Here is why: we are going to need an incredible amount of leadership in these times. We need the visionaries at the table among those leaders.

Despite being an MRE, Hallman does not seem to view religious educators in any fundamental way as potential visionaries of our faith, let alone true religious professionals able to contribute to the direction of our association in years to come. She seems to know little of the history of the many great religious educators of past who were visionaries and true leaders throughout our entire history. She certainly doesn't seem to be in touch with the religious educators who are visionaries and real leaders in the UUA today.

Morales has been open to learning. He has also reached out on several occassions to my religious educator colleagues during his campaign, and admitted to fault when I called him on having left religious educators out of the conversation on one occassion.

So I guess in short I am hoping for a president who can bring all those to the table who can help us find our way through these confusing times to not just any future, but the best possible future for our association.

I just am not seeing that potential in Hallman, and quite frankly, the fact that she is an MRE makes that something of a slap in the face.

Beyond that, at the debates I attended, I got more of a concrete sense of vision and direction from Morales. That is critical. I am still unsure exactly what Hallman's platform is. I also think Morales has a more balanced and reasonable sense of the benefits (which are huge) and drawbacks of policy governance. While I too believe policy governance has potential, both for congregations and for the UUA, I am a little worried about anyone who takes a starry-eyed view of it. Especially when they aren't bringing a sense of shared ministry (as I mentioned at the start) to the table.