The most important part in “Am I Still…”

Yesterday, Unitarian Universalist minister and writer Kate Braestrup wrote an article called "Am I Still a Unitarian Universalist Minister?" Comments pro and con (so far as I'm algorithmically allowed to see on Facebook) seem to be splitting on the same terms and among the same people as Todd Eklof/The Gadfly Papers controversy. I won't be rehashing that.

What's new is the response, sometimes thinly coded, to Braestrup's prior claim to be Unitarian Universalist minister at all. She is plainly states that she is neither a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, and has not fellowship of the Unitarian Universalist Association through the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, but was ordained "by my beloved UU congregation in Rockland, Maine!" That's allowed in our tradition, and since I have long regarded other locally ordained ministers as colleagues, I'm satisfied to count her as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Had all this been a century ago, and Universalist, my answer would be different. But the polity first merged, then changed and now is burning to the ground. I'd rather have what we had then, but we don't and so I'll say yes to her based on (what's left of) what we do have.

Braestrup recounts her bonafides at length, and an ungenerous person might think she was simply bragging. I think it's a sign of her being a decent writer. What I hear without her being explicit is "I can have this ministry, it can succeed reaching many people and it's without the blessing or strictures of the UUA." An equally ungenerous person might think her detractors have the taste of sour grapes in their mouths.

I think DIY ministries are going to have to become the norm; again recalling a secularizing culture, the cost of formal preparation and the thinning out of paying pastorates. We should be able to rely on the UUA and UUMA to help overcome these limitations, and in those terms Braestrup could not and should not rely on that help. Local ordination cuts both ways. (Local ordinands also the subject of whisper campaigns; I've heard those for decades, and don't take them seriously.)

But neither the UUMA or UUA shows firm or sustained interest in functioning religiously to meet these challenges, and hasn't for years. Where are the services? Where are the leaders? Not to mention that it's clear that fellowship is no guarantee of ethics or capability. The UUA in particular seems to exist to fix its own problems. Who needs that? Add this fixation on white supremacy within the gates, and you get a system that's completely unworkable and frantic. (It'll be interesting if there's another cultural shift if President Trump loses the 2020 election. If there's anything left.)

The most important part in "Am I Still a Unitarian Universalist Minister?" is the underlying theme that you can make a ministry without the legacy systems, and that doesn't make it illegitimate. And further I'll add: a guild without benefits isn't worth the time or loyalty.

Sharing my articles

I've gotten a lot of interesting messages lately and some requests to share the articles that I've written. I wish I could say it's about my reviews of prayer resources or research into Universalist polity. No, it's almost always about the UUA, the UUMA or their action against Todd Eklof. There's a lot of anger towards the signers of that letter out there.

Sure, share my articles. I post them in public to be read. (And if I said no, how would I stop you?)

But if the point of sharing the article is to stir up trouble in your church, please consider speaking directly and clearly to whom you have the conflict instead. Use the systems of accountability you have at hand, rather than relying on gossip and back-channel. While sometimes effective in the short run, gossip and back-channel are intensely corrosive to a church and that way nobody wins anything.

About the Bisbee trial

Because of the controversy around the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association's public censure of Todd Eklof, there's been talk of heresy trials. Of course, there's no trial yet, just the censure and waves of accusation, though some formal action could happen. (I wonder what the euphemism will be?)

There was a trial of a Universalist minister, Herman Bisbee, that's widely regarded as a heresy trial — and a mistake. Naturally, it's come up in the Facebook conversations (with Michael Servetus, whom I'll leave for someone else to write about) so good to give some context to those unfamiliar with the situation. I'm going to pull together what I've written about it plus any original documents I can scare up.

But Charles Howe's article at the Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography is detailed, and rather than re-write one, I'll point to his.

UUMA on Facebook: reporting out

So, the news of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association's censure of Todd Eklof went out on the UUMA's Facebook page. Soon, there were several comments opposing the censure. Later, all vanished.

I commented, "I see the negative comments posted here yesterday have been deleted. Pathetic." Within a couple of minutes, the UUMA's Facebook manager replied to me, "they actually haven’t. They have been temporarily removed while we work on a response to them. Please be patient." Me: "I hope you restore those comments promptly. Either way, I'll be reporting out on my site, RevScottWells.com."  So here we are.

The comments were restored this morning, with this response:

We want to acknowledge that over the weekend several responses to this post were hidden until such a time as they could be reviewed. This was not done to stifle discourse but to ensure that potentially divisive comments would not be left without response. All posts have been restored.

This page is not moderated for debate and we don’t have the means to create moderation at this time. All your responses will be collected and shared with the UUMA Board of Trustees. If you have additional comments to include, we encourage you to send via email to execteam (at) uuma (dot) org.

So instead of "we're preparing a response; please stand by" we got another unforced error. Because the optics of taking down critical comments is awful. Their reply was not equal to the take-down action, but the UUMA's a dead letter to me, so whatevs. (And no, I don't think the study year will be allowed to seriously challenge the UUMA's proposal presented in June, so why wait? I suppose you can make the case for seeing the process to the end, but I don't have time for futility. More power to those who persist.)

If you feel you have something to say to the UUMA — whether you are lay or ordained — there's that avenue they invited: emailing execteam@uuma.org. [Corrected]

And if you do write a comment and want a place to park it in public, you're free to leave them in the comments here.

The UUMA is dead to me

Just when you think you've hit the bottom of the barrel, the bottom falls out. A public censure of Todd Eklof just issued leaves me stunned. No hint that adults can disagree, or that people put themselves out on principle. Or that some people think he's correct.

The ideological basis, the high-handed tone and the cringing prayer. This is calculated to hurt and embarrass Eklof, so no irony there. "Honest and diligence" indeed. Lord, spare us. This letter is a betrayal of our heritage.

I've not been a member for years, but the UUMA is now good and dead to me. The signatories can (to put it nicely) get lost. I'm embarrassed for them; they should be ashamed of themselves.

Read for yourself. The original is at https://www.uuma.org/news/466020/UUMA-Board-and-Executive-Team-Issues-Public-Letter-of-Censure.htm. I'm reposting it here as, though it's a public letter, documents tend to vanish.


UUMA Elected Board of Trustees and Executive Team Issues Public Letter of Censure

16 August, 2019

Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane

Dear Todd,
As the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, we are writing this letter of censure regarding the content and the manner of distribution (at the 2019 General Assembly) of your book, The Gadfly Papers. We hope this action will be received as an invitation into awareness, acknowledgment of the hurt that has been caused, and an opportunity for restoration, reconciliation, and engagement in the ongoing work of the UUMA, not as an attempted resolution of an “issue.” The content of your book has caused great psychological, spiritual, and emotional damage for many individuals and communities within our faith. Because of the widespread impact, we are making this censure public and distributing it to all members of the UUMA.

As the continental leadership of the UUMA, our responsibility is to uphold our values and our covenant. We believe you have broken covenant. We write this letter to ask you to seek understanding of the harm that has been done and to work toward restoration. We would welcome the opportunity to help guide and support a public process of restoration, which we expect would foster widespread learning about what it means to be a covenantal faith.

We understand from your book that you want to encourage robust and reasoned debate about the direction of our faith. However, we cannot ignore the fact that logic has often been employed in white supremacy culture to stifle dissent, minimize expressions of harm, and to require those who suffer to prove the harm by that culture’s standards. Further, we believe that dismissing testimonies of real people to the profound and pervasive pain of white supremacy culture and its many forms of oppression by simply categorizing them as safetyism or political correctness is both morally wrong and antithetical to our values as a faith tradition.

We believe that you have violated the spirit of the Ethical Standards in our Code of Conduct detailed in our Guidelines for the Conduct of Ministry, which call us to:

  • Honesty and diligence in our work
  • Respect and compassion for all people
  • The work of confronting attitudes and practices of unjust discrimination on the basis of race, color, class, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, or ethnicity in ourselves and our ministry settings

As we call you to be accountable to your colleagues, we also call ourselves, as UUMA leadership, to be accountable to our members and to our covenant and values. We recognize that our current ethical standards leave room for ambiguity about what kinds of speech and behavior are racist and oppressive. Our commitment to the ongoing work to revise our Guidelines, clarifying expectations of anti-racist, anti-oppressive conduct in the practice of ministry, seems more crucial each day. We are also working to revise the accountability processes to ground them in values of justice, integrity, and healing rather than in their current legalistic frame.

It is our deepest desire, not to exclude people, but to welcome everyone into this work, recognizing that our members represent a wide spectrum of perspectives, experience, readiness, and willingness to engage. While we wish to be sensitive to that spectrum, we also must balance that against the stark and painful fact that people of color, indigenous, trans, disabled and other marginalized communities have testified over and over again to the spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical, and moral damage that racism and oppression have caused. Those impacts are not up for debate.

Grounded in our mission, with profound sadness for hurt that has been caused, and with deep longing for the promise of what can be, we close with this prayer of lament:

Spirit of Reason and Passion,
We hear again the cries of pain from those of marginalized identities
Pain inflicted all too often in the name of UU values and principles.
Their hope is dying, crushed once again by dismissal and devaluation
Is there room for all of us in this faith?
Yes, this is a faith for us all.
This is a faith where love is stronger than hate
Where justice is our mission and beloved community is our vision.
Where relationships are key to our individual growth and understanding.
We are a faith that balances mind and heart, and embraces both in spirit.
May we live into that balance.
Recognizing the power of our words to manipulate and harm.
May we remember the power of relationship,
And work toward restoration when covenant is broken.
Embraced by Love,
Striving towards Justice,
We pray.

Blessed Be

In faith,

The UUMA Board of Trustees and Executive Team
Wendy Williams, President
Rod Richards, Vice President
Richard Speck, Treasurer
Elizabeth Stevens, Member At-Large
Walter LeFlore, Member At-Large
Christana Wille McKnight, Member At-Large
Darrick Jackson, Director of Education
Janette Lallier, Director of Operations
Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Director of Collegial Practices

Measure passed

Just to close the loop. The measure passed with the friendly amendment and now goes to the UUMA membership for a year of study.  I'll keep the documents up for the record, since I've heard some rather outrageous interpretations of them and of the motives of those who signed.

I still stand by them, but the moment has passed, so moving on….

Proposed amendment to the UUMA Guidelines Proposal

June 14. Update. A revised proposed amendment has been accepted as a friendly amendment.

The Rev. Sarah Stewart has written a proposed amendment to the UUMA guidelines proposal. I hope this helps shape the discussion in conjuction with A UUMA Guidelines Proposal Response which I posted earlier. Further, she is in conversation with UUMA leaders about the best way to bring it forward.

Reprinted with permission.


June 14.

The following, prepared in conjunction with UUMA leadership and particularly UUMA president Cheryl M. Walker, will be entered as a friendly amendment.

Be it resolved that the membership of the UUMA shall study the proposed changes to the UUMA Guidelines published on May 1, 2019;

Be it further resolved that the following process shall be observed for the study period:

The UUMA board shall ensure that study materials are available to chapters in time for their fall 2019 meetings;

Study of the above proposal undertaken by chapters will be eligible for continuing education units;

The UUMA board and staff shall encourage robust discussion, including assent and dissent, over the course of the study period;

All comments and revisions shall be recorded and disclosed to UUMA members in an open and transparent way;

Edits and revisions to the current text shall be sent by chapters, individuals or groups of colleagues to the UUMA board by a deadline they shall establish in the spring of 2020;

And be it finally resolved that if these edits and revisions result in amendments which are substantially different from the above proposal, all such proposed amendments shall be enumerated and considered at the Annual Meeting of the UUMA in 2020, which shall choose a final draft a further year of study.

The former version follows:

Proposed amendment to the Code of Conduct revisions

UUMA Annual meeting
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Brought by Sarah Stewart

Whereas the current Code of Conduct of the UUMA does not recognize differences of identity and social location among ministers, and whereas UU ministers have engaged in conduct unbecoming of a minister which our current guidelines have not been adequate to address,

Be it resolved that the membership of the UUMA shall study the proposed changes to the UUMA Code of Conduct published on May 1, 2019;

Be it further resolved that the following process shall be observed for the study period:

    • The UUMA executive committee shall ensure that study materials are available to chapters no later than September 15, 2019. Study undertaken by chapters will be eligible for continuing education units;
    • Edits and revisions to the current text shall be sent by chapters or individuals to the UUMA exec no later than March 15, 2020;
    • Alternative proposals to the current text shall be signed by no fewer than 100 UUMA members and submitted to the UUMA exec no later than March 15, 2020;
    • The various options which emerge from this process shall be published to UUMA members by April 15, 2020 for a straw vote at Ministry Days 2020. The UUMA exec may combine very similar proposals into one for the purposes of this vote;
    • If no substantial revisions or alternative proposals have been received, a final vote on the above changes to the Code of Conduct shall be in order at Ministry Days 2020;
    • If there is more than one proposal, a vote shall be held among them at Ministry Days 2020, to choose a final draft for a year of study.

The UUMA exec shall provide a process for the 2020-21 year of study. A final vote to adopt or not adopt the final draft changes shall be in order at Ministry Days 2021;

And be it further resolved that while major revisions to the Code of Conduct are under consideration for the study period of one or two years, the UUMA shall not recommend any changes on the connection between fellowship and membership in the UUMA.

“A UUMA Guidelines Proposal Response”

June 19. Update. The vote is today, so this is the final update of signatories.

June 14. Update: I have updated the signatories list, and here's a link to the associated resolution amendment proposal, original and today's update.

I am a signatory to this letter, issued yesterday. You can read the document referenced here.


A UUMA GUIDELINES PROPOSAL RESPONSE

I. Executive Summary

Ministry occurs in a complex landscape of diverse perspectives. We applaud all who are engaged in the vital work of articulating professional ethical standards, including collegial relations; we understand that our polity makes holding each other accountable to those standards particularly challenging. That said, having read and studied the current proposed revisions to the UUMA guidelines, we are moved to respond.

There are several problems we see with the proposed changes to the UUMA guidelines. We are concerned with the subjectivity of what constitutes “harm,” and the entirety of the “accountability” section. Perhaps most significantly: we, the undersigned, believe there should be a clear boundary between the important work of the UUMA to serve as a resource for improving our skills in ministry, and the important work of the community of congregations (otherwise known as the UUA), which credentials ministers through fellowship.

We know that credentialing serves important purposes. It vets people for psychological wellbeing. It assesses quality of connection and commitment to tradition. It provides external confirmation of vocational call. It assesses potential for spiritual maturity. Credentialing requires people to articulate the call and why they want to pursue leadership. It requires instruction and training in a particular body of knowledge (ie. ethics, scripture, etc.) Credentialing carries accountability to an authorizing body and is the basis for consequences. It carries endorsement from the community of congregations through the UUA, and it allows for portability of professional standing from one community to another. The UUMA does not relate materially to any of these processes.

The UUA is in the process of trying to create a single path for ethical complaints against ministers (and possibly other religious professionals). We would like to see that work continue and develop without the UUMA’s intervention. We would also like congregations to get more training on their responsibilities as employers, including non-discrimination and non-harassment.

The UUMA is not charged with saving congregations from their own weaknesses, but rather with upholding and supporting the standards of excellence of our professional ministry so that we may effectively and responsibly serve congregations and communities.

II. Principles

Here are the principles we see as vital to uphold:

1. Congregational independence and authority are core values of Unitarian Universalist congregations and have been since our traditions' founding.

2. Congregational interdependence is equally ancient and is now most clearly expressed through membership in the UUA.

3. Every UU, including every minister, has a responsibility to serve the sacred as they understand it.

4. Every minister has a responsibility to speak the truth, in covenant with the congregation or community they serve.

5. The congregation has the sole authority to affirm or reject the call of a particular minister in that location;

6. Ordination is the acknowledgment and solemnization of an individual’s sacred call to ministry, performed by a congregation. Fellowship is the affirmation by tasked and trusted representatives of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, including but not limited to ministers, that an individual is deemed ready and acceptable for ordination, and for serving a call to professional ministry.

In summary: The UUA is an association of congregations. The UUMA is an association of ministers. The UUA advocates for congregations and the UUMA for ministers.

III. Areas of Agreement (with Gratitude)

  • We believe that misconduct should be actionable.
  • We agree strongly that we need to consistently clarify and strengthen our professional standards against behaviors that perpetuate white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and other systems and structures of oppression.
  • We agree that bullying is a form of misconduct.
  • We agree that it is important to add language about emotional needs as one of the ways a misconducting minister could exploit others.
  • We agree that it is good to clarify the expectation to refrain from contact for two years if a minister wants to begin a sexual relationship with someone they have encountered as a minister.
  • We agree that even then, the burden would be on the minister to demonstrate that they weren’t exploiting the partner.

IV. Areas of Disagreement

CONFLICT AND ACCOUNTABILITY

While recognizing that ministers have engaged and will engage in acts of gross or criminal misconduct, the vast majority of ministers are doing good, ethical work. The accountability language in the proposed guidelines is so broad as to make ethical colleagues wary of ordinary behavior and communication.

In order to fulfill their call, ministers must be free to speak the truth as they understand it, in covenant with the congregation or community they serve. Sometimes this will involve unskillful communication. Sometimes folks will need to work through their own biases or failings and be called back into covenant.

Many of the missteps of ministry are easily resolved in healthy systems by simply engaging in good-faith conversation or seeking and offering apology or reconciliation as a matter of course. The breadth of the proposed language threatens to override this healthy form of accountability and replace it with a much more dramatic and anxiety-driven process than is necessary.

We believe that in most circumstances, colleagues are able to work out disagreements between themselves as they see fit. In the vast majority of cases, a minister should be required to speak directly with a colleague with whom they have a disagreement as a first step toward resolving the conflict.

We appreciate the caveat in Footnote 2 regarding egregious misconduct. However, much of the language in this section is confusing at best, and seems to indicate a breathtaking level of overreach. Lines 122-196 outline a process that includes deliberate triangulation with regional staff, congregational staff members and lay leaders, clusters, and “accountabila-buddies.” That such a right relations process can be forced on a colleague for conduct as broad as covenant that is “broken, violated or even bent” is punitive and unreasonable.

We are concerned that this section of the proposal is not only problematic, but possibly illegal:

185 14. “The restoration of our covenant is a collegial process, not a legal one. Using legal counsel, insurance

186 agents, or similar outside bodies to prevent repair or frustrate accountability is itself a violation of this code.12

187 If a member employs these tactics to avoid accountability and healing the RRG may refer the

188 matter to the Common Ethics Panel for review and appropriate action, which may include removal or

189 suspension from membership and/or fellowship.”

In many union contracts there is an agreement to work through legally binding arbitration, or to pursue mediation as a first course. But those are both within legal practices. What we find deeply problematic about this section is surrendering our legal rights, and signing ourselves over to volunteer-run processes that have no established codes.

STAFF SUPERVISION AND CONGREGATIONAL POLITY

Many ministers are called by the congregations they serve to be staff supervisors within their congregational structure. It is wholly possible for these organizational models to express healthy collaboration while not exactly reflecting the UUMA's preferred culture. We are concerned that the proposed guidelines would put an undue burden on ministers to serve a UUMA culture that may be in direct opposition to congregational expectations and established employment practices.

If a minister is unable to function as a collaborative, respectful, good supervisor then the onus is on the congregation, not the UUMA, to address the minister's professional deficiencies and to deal with any fall-out from their bad behaviors -- just as it is the congregational leadership's role to address any fall-out from other staff's misconduct or professional failures.

RIGHT RELATIONS GUIDES

The Right Relations Guides, as conceived, are a large group ("we may need 25-50 of these RRGs", Accountability Guidelines Team Report, page 16) and a significant change in the collegial ecosystem. At first glance, they appear to hold a parallel role to the long-existing Good Officer program, which already helps mediate conflicts between colleagues as well as between our colleagues and other religious professionals and congregations. Good Officers often help their colleagues discern whether a conflict with a colleague needs one-to-one conversation, a mediated conversation, or if the conflict rises to the level of a formal complaint.

However, unlike Good Officers, Right Relations Guides would hold considerable power to recommend the suspension of UUMA membership which, if required for fellowship, presents a credible and predictable risk of abuse. This has the potential to create within the ministerial college an atmosphere of suspicion, effectively chilling relationships between colleagues.

We have witnessed colleagues and non-colleagues in social media settings, often in mixed groups, attempt to insert themselves into what we see as simple differences of opinions between adults. With this proposal, if these interlocutors were RRGs, they would be empowered to initiate processes that are disproportionately strong, even coercive, and threatening to the professional standing and livelihoods of colleagues.

Compelling participation in a process under threat of loss of professional standing by definition takes away the possibility of it being voluntary. Instead, it will likely bring some participants to the table with resentment, under duress, and utterly lacking the kind of goodwill upon which an effective reconciliation process must depend.

COMMON ETHICS PANEL

We appreciate the reasons why the guidelines committee has proposed a common ethics panel. But we submit that the UUA already has a common ethics panel: the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. The MFC has members appointed by the UUA and UUMA. It has lay people, UUA staff, ministers, DREs, psychological professionals and student liaisons. The MFC is accountable to the UUA board, and staffed by the Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership.

The MFC should be supported with additional staffing and resources to do effective work, rather than creating a new group to do their work for them. The UUMA can offer volunteers, ideas, and encouragement to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, but we should not create a separate team that decides who is accountable to whom while being accountable to no one.

V. Proposal/Action Plan

Complaints against all religious professionals for egregious misconduct should continue to go through the appropriate UUA channels (which definitely can be improved). There should also be a way for religious professionals to report egregiously misconducting congregations to hold them accountable and let it be known to ministers and others that they have a record of abusive treatment of religious professionals.

We understand that these guidelines are partly proposed to mitigate situations in which a colleague offends against another colleague, and is therefore out of the bounds of the congregation’s reach and scope. A mature resolution would look like the offended and offender talking one-on-one to each other, and/or offer options for supporting engagement with one another with a skilled facilitator if needed, allowing for an outcome that acknowledged the complexity of the situation, and responsibility all around. If egregious misconduct has occurred, it should be referred to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee.

A professional association expects its members to nurture a growing awareness of complex interpersonal dynamics; the ability to listen and speak openly and mindfully; and the regulation of one's anxiety. These practices promote the ability to make thoughtful, principled choices. These expectations are expressed through equally clear and principled guidelines that depend on its members' robust support.

The history of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist ministry is replete with stories of fierce disagreements between colleagues. With a modern eye, we look back at some of these disagreements with disdain for opinions that no longer would be considered acceptable. But we always are in a present position of seeing through a glass dimly. Those who were most reviled in their time by their colleagues are often the ones whom time has shown to be most prescient and wise. We dare not silence the prophetic voices of those in our time, it is through their uncomfortable (and even painful) conversations that we may grow. A humility is needed for us to listen to each other, and bear the difficulties of withstanding opinions which we may most vehemently disagree with, affirming that freedom of conscience is still a supreme value of our ministry association.

We appreciate the hard, painful work of our dear colleagues on the guidelines proposal team, but we cannot support the proposed UUMA guidelines as written.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Neal Anderson, Senior Minister Elect, UU Church of Greater Lansing, MI

Rev. Robin W. Bartlett, Senior Pastor, The First Church in Sterling, MA

Rev. Darcy Baxter, Minister, UU Fellowship of Stanislaus County

Rev. Chris Bell, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa

Rev. Wendy L. Bell, Interim Minister, Unitarian Church of Sharon, MA

Rev. Peter Boullata, Unitarian Fellowship of London, London, ON

Rev. Tricia Brennan, Interim Minister, First Parish Dorchester, MA

Rev. John A. Buehrens, retired, San Francisco, CA

Rev. Dr. Andy Burnette, Senior Minister, Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Chandler, AZ

Rev. Roger Butts, Staff Chaplain, Penrose St Francis Health Services, Colorado Springs, CO

Rev. Cynthia Cain, in transition, Mackville, KY

Rev. Brian Chenowith, UU Church of Lexington, KY

Rev. Frank Clarkson, Minister, Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill, MA

Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford, Minister, Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church, Cedar Park, TX

Rev. John T. Crestwell, Jr., Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD

Rev. Rick Davis, Minister, UU Congregation of Salem, OR

Rev. Gregory DuBow, Captain, Chaplain Corps, United States Air Force

Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley, Minister, North Chapel, Woodstock, VT

Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof, Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, WA

Rev. Claire Feingold Thoryn, Minister, Follen Church, Lexington, MA

Rev. Seth Fisher, Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County

Rev. Emily Gage, Minister of Faith Development, Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Oak Park, Illinois

Rev. Daniel Gregoire, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton & Upton, MA

Rev. Michael F. Hall, Minister, Keene Unitarian Universalist Church, Keene, NH

Rev. Dr. Lucas Hergert, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield Illinois

Rev. Lara Hoke, Minister, First Church Unitarian, Littleton, MA

Rev. Dan Hotchkiss, Dan Hotchkiss Consulting

Rev. Richard Hoyt-McDaniels, Interim Minister, Long Beach, CA

Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson, Gimli Unitarian Church, Gimli, MB

Rev. Cynthia L. G. Kane, Commander, Chaplain Corps, United States Navy

Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Kanter, Senior Minister/CEO, First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX

Rev. Elea Kemler, Minister, First Parish Church of Groton, MA

Rev. Brian Kiely, Minister, Unitarian Church of Edmonton

Rev. Dr. Maureen Killoran, Minister Emerita, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, NC

Rev. Tera Klein, Pastor, Throop Unitarian Universalist, Pasadena, CA

Rev. Sadie Lansdale, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro, NC

Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church, Concord, NH

Rev. Gerald E. “Jay” Libby, Melrose, MA

Rev. Anthony F. Lorenzen, Hopedale Unitarian Parish, Hopedale, MA

Rev. Ian White Maher, Minister, First Parish in Ashby, MA

Rev. Brian Mason, Minister, First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, WI

Rev. Dr. Kelly Murphy Mason, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills, Wellesley, MA

Rev. Robert W. McKetchnie, Minister, First Parish in Cohasset, MA

Rev. Jim McKinley, Unitarian Universalist Church of Hendersonville, NC

Rev. Diane Miller, Minister Emerita, First Church in Belmont, MA. Retired, Salina KS

Rev. Joel Miller, Interim Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY

Rev. Craig Moro, Minister, Wy'east UU Congregation, Portland, OR

Rev. Jake Morrill, Lead Minister, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, Oak Ridge, TN

Rev. Peter Newport, Retired

Rev. Janet Newton, Minister, First Parish Church of Berlin, MA

Rev. Dr. John H. Nichols, Minister Emeritus, Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills, MA

Rev. Parisa Parsa, Cortico Local Voices Network, Arlington, MA

Rev. Carolyn Patierno, Sr. Minister, All Souls UU Congregation, New London, CT

Rev. Hank Peirce, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, MA

Rev. Sue Phillips, How We Gather/Harvard Divinity School, Tacoma, WA

Rev. Jessica Purple Rodela, Grand River Unitarian Congregation, Kitchener, ON

Rev. Jason Seymour, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, MA

Rev. Oscar Sinclair, Minister, Unitarian Church of Lincoln, Lincoln NE

Rev. Erin Splaine, Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton, MA

Rev. Ellen Spero, Minister, First Parish of Chelmsford, MA

Rev. Sarah Stewart, Minister, First Unitarian Church in Worcester, MA

Reverend Terry Sweetser, Interim Senior Minister, First Church in Salem, MA

Rev. Dr. Adam Tierney-Eliot, Pastor, The Eliot Church (UUA/UCC), Natick, MA

Chaplain (Major) George Tyger, United States Army, Fort Bragg, NC

Rev. Rali M. Weaver, Minister, First Church and Parish, Dedham, MA

Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, Swampscott, MA

Rev. Margaret L. Weis, Minister, First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY

Rev. Scott Wells, Washington, DC

Rev. Aaron White, Associate Minister, First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX

UUMA letter: creative crisis control?

I've got little to add to the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association decision to move their before-General-Assembly meetings to a location outside the port security area, and thus avoiding the brouhaha around an ID check for General Assembly proper. The UUMA decision seems right, the tone of the letter is appropriate and avoids it the lugubrious excesses the loudest voices have made.

The form of the letter itself interests me. Daniel O'Connell reprints it in full -- so I shan't -- along with the license at the end, which is:

Please feel free to distribute this letter as you see fit; we only ask that you distribute it in its entirety.

This is, in spirit, a liberal license, not unlike the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works license. That formal license might be worth considering if you have a similar message or document or resource you want to get out unaltered. (But, despite the request, I think excerpting would be fair game, under fair use.)

The original letter, in context.