Role play time: the UUA goes broke

Here’s a little game I’d like my Unitarian Universalist readers to play, and clarifying questions and comparitive statements by non-UUs are welcome.

If the UUA went broke — it nearly happened once, but imagine a senario where investments sour and loose value, planned gifts dematerialize, the Annual Program Fund collapses, bad property purchases return to haunt, and the North Sea’s natural gas gives out:

  • what gets saved?
  • what gets cut away?
  • who picks up the work in both?
  • how would the programmatic business of the UUA be accomplished?
  • how would the decision be made?
  • how would the transition “be appealed” to the general Unitarian Universalist constituency?

I’ll wait for comment before weighing in because I’d like this to be a values clarification exercise. This is a follow-up to the General Assembly voting post cast in a way everyone can play, and where the outcomes have deliverables and opportunity costs.

2 Replies to “Role play time: the UUA goes broke”

  1. Great question Scott. Here are my answers which tend toward prioritizing the congregational assistance area.

    what gets saved?
    1. Some kind of association system for ministerial fellowship
    2. Some kind of a ministerial settlement system
    3. System for developing, field testing, and delivering religious education curicula
    4. Partner church system
    5. Updating the hymnal

    what gets cut away? Everything else to preserve the items above. However, here is a list of cuts for consideration.
    Streamline the districts and halve, at least, their number.
    Eliminate the UU UN Office.
    Eliminate GA and convert it to an on-line meeting.
    Boston HQ. (Move to New York or Washington, DC to become more national focused)

    who picks up the work in both?
    Any group who care too may. I see more prominent role for UUMA, UUSC, etc.

    how would the programmatic business of the UUA be accomplished?
    By a streamlined Board of Trustees and the on-line GA.

    how would the decision be made?
    Interesing question. Knowing UUs, probably the bankruptcy judge. Or a dynamic President with backing from the trustees.
    how would the transition “be appealed” to the general Unitarian Universalist constituency?
    Probably would not be, but ought to be. I would ask each congregation to prioritize every function, collate the data, and implement it.

  2. The UUA Goes Broke

    · what gets saved?
    · Assets only, everything is sold and held in Trust for the UU Association of Congregations
    · If a new National Office is to be maintained it will be built new and erected somewhere in Idaho that is inexpensive—I would suggest Buhl, Idaho
    · what gets cut away?
    · All centralized programs, offices and staff—they are fruit of the poisoned tree (remember the UUA went BROKE) Their habits would not serve preservation and extension of the Association of Congregations.
    · who picks up the work in both?
    · This is the interesting part: Initially all assets (funds) would be distributed by population count in all Districts. The District Prez.s would be the receivers (in Trust). Since there is no staff—that duly elected President of the District would recive counsel and advice from the presidents (or designee) of each Congregation in the District. All clergy would serve this body in an ex-officio manner.
    · New initiatives would be suggested by each District Prez. At a national meeting of those persons—after they had input from the congregations as above.
    · It is assumed that each Congregation would go on as it had and that the only real decisions to be made would be the retrieval of Overarching Programs that are deemed of value by the Congregations.
    · The next order of business in a National Gathering of District presidents would be a way to go back to all of the congregations to generate a plan for Re-inventing our Liberal Religious Movement as an appropriate expression of the best counsel of all congregations.
    · how would the programmatic business of the UUA be accomplished?
    · The actual Non-profit corp. known as the UUA would be dissolved—proceeds as above.
    · The UUA now reverts (needs to be legally discerned) back to its original intent to be a Voluntary Association of Congregations.
    · As such an Association its major programmatic business would be to re-invent its form/process to best SERVE the Congregations.
    · The UUMA would still be intact, as would all congregations and all matters related to clergy, ordination, etc. will revert to that organization and procedures would be established for Peer Review and Maintenance.
    · how would the decision be made?
    · The decisions I have outlined above would be made in the various gatherings of Congregational Presidents authorizing the District President to take recommendations to the National Plenary. Ultimately the decisions will be made democratically by ALL of the members of congregations and by Congregations via lateral connections of a voluntary nature. Probably time to have everybody review the Cambridge Platform!
    · how would the transition “be appealed” to the general Unitarian Universalist constituency?
    · Using my “plan” above this would already be taken care of and is no longer necessary.

    Obviously this cursory set of reflections needs to be “task analyazed” and that process would suggest the steps necessary to accomplish the GOAL of allowing the Congregations that are UU to once again become a Voluntary Association of Congregations.

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