These proposed reforms probably would not require amending the UUA bylaws:
- Come Up with a Mission Statement of Shared Values (assuming that we don't do this as a bylaws amendment in Article II or elsewhere in our bylaws).
- GA in Las Vegas every year.
- Lay off 1/3 of the UUA National Staff.
- Move UUA headquarters to St. Louis.
- American Sister Churches.
- Eliminate UU Hypocrisy.
- Found a UU monastery.
- Support Lay Ministry.
- Develop a UU Yoga.
- Celebrate World Day of Conscience during days on which a total solar eclipse takes place anywhere in the world.
- Streamline the UUA.
- Social Justice Activities should be placed in a religious context.
- Be Proactive in Best Practice Sharing.
- Less Emerson, More Parker.
- A Separate non-tax exempt political organization.
- UUs need to minister to recent immigrants.
- Inreach to the Unchurched.
- Abandon Our History.
- Real Outreach.
- Build an association of free faiths.
- Focus on the Freedom.
- Figure out what changes would make Unitarian Universalism "not Unitarian Universalism"
I've only got a few additional implementation tips for just a few of the proposed reform suggestions:
"Meta-Tips" for Any Proposed Reform Idea -- Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- "How does this proposed reform help Unitarian Universalist congregations?"
- "Is this proposed reform coming from a member congregation of the UUA or is it coming from an individual?"
A few years ago, I witnessed my district's board rejection of an Eastern European UU heritage trip proposal for UU youth in our district. The stated reason for rejecting this proposal and not providing any district sponsorship, endorsement, etc was that it was proposed to the district board by individuals and not congregational representatives.
So ... if our reformers pay attention to polity concerns and address them in promoting their proposed reforms, their work will be easier and they may find their work easier by gaining of institutional allies.
Found a UU Monastery -- Setting up a full-time UU monastery that would provide a place for Unitarian Universalists (and others) to spend months or years in a calmer lifestyle with time to explore this unique faith would be very hard to start up from scratch.
Scott Wells recently mentioned an article by Guy Kawasaki on the problems of startup ventures ("Bootstrapping a church" is Scott's article ... Guy's article is "Let the Good Times Roll").
I would recommend that we should look at starting small with realistic expenses and cash flow for this venture.
Rather than focusing on creating a "24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365.25 day a year" full-time UU monastery, I would suggest looking at creating short-term monastery opportunities. Single day workshops, weekend workshops, week-long workshops, and multi-week workshops would be one way to gauge interest.
Instead of building a permanent monastery facility at first, look into using existing Unitarian Universalist congregations and camps first. This could be done in cooperation with the Council of Unitarian Universalist Camps and Conferences. An additional advantage of this could be trying out various locations of North America for temporary monastery events before finding a permanent monastery location. This will help prevent locating a UU monastery in a region that has little interest in UU monastic practice.
Build an Association of Free Faiths -- This is a good idea that has been tried repeatedly in the past. Here are some historical timelines showing our previous attempts to create a free faith association:
- Timeline of Significant Events in the Merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Churches During the 1900s
- Timeline of Significant Events in the Merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Churches During the 1800s
- 1865: Resolution offered in the American Unitarian Association to establish a higher council consisting of denomination bodies and other members. Christians, Universalists, Methodists, and Congregationalists were approached. Nothing came of this effort.
- 1867: The Free Religious Association was formed, with at least six different religious groups represented; about half were Unitarian ministers. Very few Universalists affiliated. This association apparently lasted about 25 years. Its chief product was a liberalizing influence, principally on Unitarianism.
- In 1908 the National Federation of Religious Liberals was formed. Its membership included the Unitarians, Universalists, Religious Society of Friends, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The organization ceased its existence with the advent of the Free Church of America in the 1930s and was of minor significance in Unitarian-Universalist relations.
- In 1923 the Universalists received overtures from the National Convention of Congregational Churches. Each body established a Committee on Comity and Unity. In 1927, the Universalist Committee met with an interested group of Unitarians with the thought of establishing a Congregational-Universalist-Unitarian structure, but the whole move was defeated by Universalists, who felt that the best course would be Universalist-Unitarian.
- In 1931 a Joint Commission of the two churches was formed and began meeting, but this commission soon concluded that the time was not ripe for merger. Instead, in their May 1932 report, they recommended that an organization be formed that would include all liberal churches. This resulted in the formation of the Free Church of America, which was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1933. The Free Church movement did not attract as many liberal churches as hoped, and it held its last annual meeting in 1938.
Develop a UU Yoga -- I'll admit that I'm not a yoga practicioner, but this idea would seem to complement the proposed UU monastery. It would make sense for the yoga reformers and the monastery reformers to look into cooperative ventures.
That is about all that I can say at this time. Good luck.
[Sunday evening, 5 February 2006 -- note: the spelling error that I didn't catch was corrected. Thanks, Scott, for mentioning this.]