Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Independent Affiliate Mystery

At its most recent meeting, the UUA Board rejected the applications of 15 of the 17 organizations who were re-applying for Independent Affiliate Status. I have read elsewhere that the board voted as follows. I have not been able to find the minutes online -- I suppose that they are still in process.

Approved:

Council of Unitarian Universalists Camps and Conferences
Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry.

IA status was denied to the following groups:

Disaffiliated:

Unitarian Universalist Men’s Network
Unitarian Sunday School Society
Collegium
Faithful Fools Street Ministry
Lambda Ministers Guild
New Massachusetts Universalist Convention
Project Harvest Hope
The Unitarian Universalist Psi Symposium
Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association
Unitarian Universalists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
District Presidents’ Association
Council on Church Staff Finances
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
Unitarian Universalist Peace Fellowship
Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans

The rules that spell out what is required for Independent Affiliate Status are here:


Rule 3.8.1. Application for Independent Affiliate Status.

Each applicant for independent affiliate status shall submit with its application:
  1. an attested copy of its charter, and, unless it is included in the charter, an attested copy of its purposes, objectives, and bylaws;
  2. the number of members or member groups in the organization;
  3. a list of the principal officers with their personal mail addresses, congregation membership or congregation where settled if the officer is a fellowshipped minister serving a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and the principal mail address of the organization;
  4. the contribution contemplated by rule 3.8.9;
  5. a financial statement showing income and expenses for the latest fiscal year preceding the date of filing and showing assets, liabilities and net worth as of the end of such fiscal year;
  6. the dates upon which its governing board met during the twelve months immediately preceding the date of filing;
  7. any yearly reports of its governing body and its principal officers sent to members during the twelve months immediately preceding the date of filing;
  8. evidence of whether it enjoys tax exempt status:
    1. under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1954;
    2. as a registered charity as provided for in the Income Tax Act (Canada); or
    3. under the laws of the country governing the applicant's tax status;
  9. if the applicant does not enjoy tax exempt status, the reason or reasons it does not;
  10. a statement outlining how its purpose, mission and structure models interdependence through engagement with our member congregations, coordination or collaboration of effort and resources; and a statement outlining how the organization supports the transformation of institutions and our world to be aligned with those values expressed in our Principles; and
  11. any other information which the Board of Trustees of the Association shall require.
The letter sent out in April, 2007 inviting the applications for this board meeting is here.

The letter does not spell out the meaning of point "J" in the new rules.

Summing Up: The official document trail does not provide any real insight into the reasons and purposes for sudden disaffiliation of 15 of 17 applications for IA status. So, why? What purpose is being served? What was the precipitating event?

If you have any additional information, please leave it in the comments.


3 comments:

ogre said...

Is this point "j"?

a statement outlining how its purpose, mission and structure models interdependence through engagement with our member congregations, coordination or collaboration of effort and resources; and a statement outlining how the organization supports the transformation of institutions and our world to be aligned with those values expressed in our Principles

??

If so, the answer to the "mystery" is simple. I'd pointed to it months ago, telling my UUFETA member minister that UUFETA was going to have trouble meeting the standard.

In short, although the language is murky in the extreme, it is seeking to see evidence of purpose and intent that supports the members of the UUA--which is to say, the CONGREGATIONS. How do these organizations exist and operate in ways that serve the member congregations and feed the larger movement.

The camps association managed to see that, and managed to articulate their purpose in a way that met the standard. Some of the others could, certainly. They just need clearer vision and better wordsmiths. Some of the others could pull it off--probably better in collaboration with other no-longer-IA groups, and with an explicit vision/purpose that feeds and supports congregations.

And some of them... may not be able to, at least not by themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a lot of dribble on the UUA's part - a vauge way of pruning the groups that want (need) workshop slots at the GA. The wishy-washy language seems to be put in place just so that they can choose whom they want to.

Stechjo said...

A friend of mine (PSR student), who is a CUUPS participant, was quite upset by how he felt the rejection was framed.

As he understood it, the UUA wants to look "more like a denomination" and less like a hodge-podge (his words) of disparate single-issue religious groups.

I realize I was getting this from someone who was upset at the time however, if this is true, it makes the about-to-be-launched (San Francisco) BAY Area Marketing Campaign disingenuous.