Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why the Independent Affiliate Mystery matters

So, the UUA board rejects the applications for a bunch of Independent Affiliates?
  • Weren't there too many of them anyway?
  • Aren't they an "organizational irregularity" in "An Association of Congregations" anyway?
  • Aren't some of them just kind of support groups?
  • Aren't others just political pressure groups that have as their purpose to lobby for certain political stances by the Association?
  • How many have more than token memberships?
  • Aren't they part of the problem of GA -- that bazaar of the bizarre that our substitute for a serious meeting where the work of the association can be carried out by representatives of our congregations?
  • And aren't some of those IA's responsible for our fracturing into hyphenated-UU's and actually prevent the kind of clarifying and unifying theological discussion which we need?
Independent Affiliates have been part of the organizational ecology of the UUA for many years now. They are trans-congregational memberships and networks, and this single form has become a catch-all form for almost any sort of grouping.

Somewhere, there is an analysis of what kinds of groups serve our larger purposes and fill a needed niche in the ecology, and which ones don't. Or is there such an analysis? So the first reason that it matters is that there needs to be some accountability and transparency about the real reasons why things like this happen.

I get the sense that the real reasons are hidden behind a veil of UU-speak. When the rule says that an organization needs to "model interdependence through engagement with our member congregations" that somebody somewhere has a pretty specific idea of what that means, and who is and who is not doing it. I think that we all have the right to know.

2 comments:

Donald O'Bloggin said...

I can tell you some of the reasoning, as it was brought to my attention when I was on the GA Planning Committee.

Independent Affiliates get a lot form the UUA for very little in return. For $50 (I think that was the most recent amount, maybe $100 or so.. chump change regardless), the IAs were getting published in the UUA directory, preferential treatment at General Assembly including guaranteed workshop slots (many of which were being reported by attendees as sub-standard), and other perks.

That's it. Just "Pay us money and get a rubber stamp of approval". So, last I heard, the IAs are being replaced with a smaller group of overseeing organisations, which others can be members to.

As an example: Ferry Beach, The Mountain, and the Council of UU Camps and Conferences are/were all Independent Affiliates. In a proposed re-organisation, Ferry Beach and The Mountain would not be able to be members of this new group, but CU2C2 would be (and its relationship with the UUA well defined, as opposed to current IA practices), and the Mountain and Ferry Beach members of CU2C2.

Anonymous said...

>>> I get the sense that the real reasons are hidden behind a veil of UU-speak.

Are you coming to an IA meeting at GA about this?

Letter to the Leadership of Independent Affiliates of the UUA
http://www.uua.org/aboutus/governance/boardtrustees/letters/26969.shtml

Networking Meetings for Independent Affiliates
http://www.uua.org/aboutus/governance/boardtrustees/letters/26970.shtml

Jasmine
jasminegld at aol.com