On Saturday, June 17 the Board of Trustees held its spring retreat lasting about 6 hours. Since it was the first opportunity for continuing and new Board members to become better acquainted we took the first 45 minutes or so to do just this.
That was followed by a lengthy discussion of the circumstances surrounding Thomas’s resignation. To effectively govern it was necessary that new Board members could in confidence become fully aware of the unfortunate and sad details of what had happened. We also dwelled on the emotions, feelings, and concerns fellow Congregation members had in confidence expressed during recent Healing Circle conversations. We very much appreciated their willingness to share.
Treasurer Wendy Tanner then briefed us on the resulting overall financial picture which though not ideal is not as disastrous as some rumors have intimated. This will be the subject of a Board Line report by Wendy in the near future.
Then we turned to discussing what if anything further could be said about the details surrounding Thomas’s resignation and we concluded that very little at all more could be said. Despite the fact that the very foundation of UUism is a very open democratic setting where everybody seeks to know everything just so they can pitch in and help, in this instance revealing more is not possible. There are many strong reasons for this most importantly being this would violate a written contract between Thomas and OUUC the consequences of which could cost us both ethically and financially as well as later on when we are in the process of selecting our next settled minister. Conceivably it could affect how UU would support our selection process and also how potential candidates knowing we had broken a confidence would view us. Some have also expressed concern that we may have relied too strongly on advice proffered us by UU Regional and National officers. But though we did seriously consider that advice we definitely made our own decision bearing in mind the long term welfare of our congregation and Thomas’s welfare as well.
During a lunch break, because we knew we would soon be making recommendations to the Congregation about it, we all took the time to visit the B&G Annex inspecting the outside and the still cluttered inside of the residence. Though it will soon be cleaned up by Building and Grounds with help from other congregation volunteers the clutter inside resulting from the earlier unauthorized homeless occupancy remains very sad and troubling.
After lunch, we first worked on how we can best continue our progression towards policy governance the effort we embarked on several years ago and have lost focus on at times in the interim. Since we continue to believe we are on the right track we are resolved despite recent setbacks not to lose any more inertia than necessary. We reviewed the process calendar earlier developed to keep us on track and derived a slightly modified approach we believe will minimize further delay.
Then, knowing we have been distracted by all has been happening, we began discussing an approach to make ourselves more accessible. A number of ideas were brainstormed and trust that we will be trying them very soon. One, for example, is publishing more frequent Board Line articles such as this one. More are to follow.
We turned to discussing just what our role would be in welcoming our new Interim Minister, Eric Posa. Since a Transition Team of congregation members is already on the job working with Eric, our main role will be ensuring that he is warmly welcomed and allowing him ample opportunity to begin to engage our congregation. Beyond that just what our role will be will be worked out between ourselves, Eric and the Transition Team and more information will be available on this as it is developed.
As our last main task of the day, we discussed just how we can become a more effective body together. Because we care recent events have unintendedly affected our efficiency causing us to spend many many hours, at times to the point of exhaustion, dwelling on just how to proceed. We are now hopefully beginning to get beyond that and to a point where we can again constructively and aggressively address our future.
And in total that constitutes the essence of what we spent 6 hours working on Saturday, June 17.
– Don Melnick, Vice-President