Future of the UUA’s Think Tank?


The UUA’s Commission on Appraisal (COA) has shared a  newsflash via their Facebook page. Facing an 85% funding cut, the COA will, according to this communication, not be able to fulfill its mission.

I don’t know how the UUA Board’s move toward a policy governance model impacts the COA.   Can it fulfill its mission on a $5,000 funding level?  Do we still need the COA? What do you think?

You can find links to previous COA reports here.

12 thoughts on “Future of the UUA’s Think Tank?”

  1. Well, it’s a think tank that hasn’t be setting many fires lately… I hear little about them in my Church or the UU blogosphere…

    ..maybe I’m not plugged in though.

  2. Bill, the Commission works on a single topic over a three-year cycle. If you heard about the proposal to revise the UUA’s Principles and Purposes, which the General Assembly narrowly turned down just last year, then you’ve heard about the Commission’s work. That was their project for 2006-2009, and UU World published several articles about it.

  3. Yes, but that’s sort of the problem. We get the final product of three years worth of work but it sort of hits out of the blue. People react (the commission goes silent –I don’t recall their responses) and that’s it… it’s not a good process to produce thoughtful work. All I really saw in my Church was a petition to sign and that was it…besides some reaction on the blogs.

  4. I’ve heard from several congregations that they were aware of the work, but that the process of offering feedback was too complicated. There was a need to educate people about the principles, GA, UUA, etc… in order for them to engage with the COA process. I might summarize the conversations I’ve had on this topic this way. I suspect many congregations do not have members that understand the UUA and its workings well enough to participate when called to do so by groups such as the COA. Ministers and other leaders may try to engage, but without the educational groundwork in place it is hard.

  5. …they sound like a College of Cardinals then.

    You want a piece of the budget in this kind of enviornment, you get out their and sell yourself and do a little CRM.

    Don’t tell the customers they’re not up to it.

    1. Kurt, you raise a good point. With changes in the UUA’s governance structure and every program and office having a Facebook page and or other social media accounts, communication is both fast, transparent and often sloppy. Nice to have the transparency, but we do need to pay close attention to what is appropriate.

  6. Peter – I don’t doubt that you heard feedback about the COA Principles and Purposes feedback process being too complicated.

    Given the experience in our congregation, I find that our experience was different.

    We used the available RE curricula that were freely available on the UUA’s web site.

    I used the youth curriculum with our high school youth and their feedback was submitted to the COA via their web site.

    Our DRE summarized the adult RE feedback and submitted that info as well.

    I filled out the individual survey which was at the “surveymonkey” level of complexity.

    I’m wondering if the unstated message in the “too complicated” feedback was that folks either didn’t care or were OK with the status quo.

    1. Steve, I should clarify that when I say I’ve heard from several congregations about the complexity, that is an attempt to understand those who didn’t engage. I know too know of far more congregations that did use the resource you mention and engaged successfully. “Too complicated” can be an easy excuse.

  7. I’d like to hear more about why the shift in policy governance affects the COA. Some of this might be because if the Board isn’t trying to manage things, it will actually be talking about about the issues the COA once was tasked to think through. I’ve used pieces from several of the COA reports in faith development programming, as well as reflecting on congregational and leadership issues.

    1. I’m not sure how policy governance formally changes the COA, but I think functionally it does. UUA President, the Rev. Peter Morales, is having a study of our ministry conducted. If the UUA staff conducts studies in order to meet the ends specified by the UUA Board, and if those happen on a faster time table than COA work, I can see that making the COA seem redundant to some.

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