24 January 2006

How To Implement UUA Reforms (Process Suggestion)

With the recent discussion on Chalicechick's blog and elsewhere about "Fixing the UUA," I wanted to point out a technical issue about how we do business.

Once this blog discussion has selected the top reforms, I would recommend dividing the reforms into ones that require UUA bylaws changes and those that don't require bylaws changes.

Any individual or group of individuals can come up with great ideas. The difficulty will be getting some of these ideas from the "brainstorm" phase to where we can vote on them.

Proposed changes to the UUA bylaws cannot be proposed by just anybody. There are only five possible pathways for getting these changes on a future General Assembly agenda:
  1. UUA Board of Trustees
  2. The General Assembly Planning Committee
  3. The Commission on Appraisal
  4. Not less than fifteen certified member congregations by action of their governing boards or their congregations
  5. A UUA district by official action at a duly called district meeting at which a quorum is present
Now ... if one can't convince the participants in any of these five possible pathways to the General Assembly business agenda, the proposed reform is dead in the water.

The following ideas would not require amending the bylaws:
  • Association of Free Faiths
  • Real Outreach
  • Abandon Our History
  • Inreach to the "Unchurched"
  • Ministry to Immigrant Groups
  • A Separate Non-Tax Exempt Political Organization
  • Less Talk About Emerson, More About Parker
  • Being Proactive in Best Practices Sharing
  • Social Justice Activities Should be Placed in a Religious Context
  • Celebrate World Day of Conscience
  • Develop a UU Yoga
  • Found a UU Monestary
  • Eliminate UU Hypocrisy
  • American Sister Churches
  • Move the UUA Headquarters
  • Lay Off One Third of the National UUA Staff
  • Hold GA in Las Vegas
  • Moratorium on Condemning Things at GA
Surprisingly (or maybe not), something as simple as changing our name requires a bylaws change.

The non-bylaws changes may be easier to implement. Even if the most popular reform is one that involves a bylaws change, one should have a worthwhile non-bylaws alternative reform in mind as well.

I hope that this process suggestion is helpful to our reformers.

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