Important Announcement!

Greetings Fellow Congregants,

I write to share some news about the troubles at the Unitarian Universalist Association and how our congregation has been asked to help. As you may have heard, our UUA president, Peter Morales, has resigned in the midst of a controversy over hiring practices at the UUA. This has left the organization leaderless during a very troubled time. I was approached by Jim Key, moderator of the UUA board, to ask if our congregation would support their asking Reverend Bill Sinkford to step in as interim president until the election of a new president at General Assembly in June. Bill is in a rather unique position to help them as he served as president for eight years, has many contacts at the UUA, and holds a position of significant trust within the organization. I spoke to Bill about this request and he is willing to serve so long as the board and our church could whole heartedly support him.

I shared this information (including a written request from Jim Key, a description of the work the UUA board wants Bill to do, and their understanding that he will continue to serve First U during this interim assignment) with your board. Bill has assured us that, though it will be a stretch, he can accomplish what the UUA needs. Tom Disrud and Kathryn Estey also expressed their willingness and ability to pick up additional workload in order to free up some of Bill’s time to do this important work. This is a huge opportunity for our congregation to support our larger faith community, and to repay the UUA for the many ways they have helped us over the years. Your board voted unanimously and enthusiastically to support the UUA’s request. The UUA board has now formally asked Bill to step into the role of interim president and he has agreed to do so. I trust you all join me in celebrating our ability to support the UUA in its time of need.

Randy Russell, Moderator, First U Board of Trustees

And from Rev. Bill Sinkford:

Dear Friends,

Last week, in my blog, I wrote about the current challenges at the Unitarian Universalist Association: allegations of racism in hiring, the resignation of President Peter Morales and now other senior staff, the UUA Board looking for a path forward.

Last week I was asked to consider stepping in as Interim President, for the period between today and the General Assembly in June, to help center our response and to begin a process of analysis and discernment about how racism and white privilege operate in our faith. The term “white supremacy” is being used by the UUA Board. This will be soul work that I am willing to undertake.

My goal is to help make this an opportunity for our faith to take our next steps in addressing racism rather than allowing these sad events to hold us back.

Our Board at First Unitarian has authorized me to accept the invitation. Last night the UUA Board appointed me Interim President to serve with two Co-Presidents for these next 10 weeks.

I will be spending considerable time in Boston. Although I will maintain a reduced preaching schedule, my attention will need to be primarily focused on the challenges at the national level. Tom Disrud, Kathryn Estey and I have developed a plan to cover my responsibilities and to keep critical issues moving forward. Both Tom and Kathryn will be going above the call and I trust you will support them.

This is a significant contribution on the part of First Unitarian to our faith. This is also a challenge to which I am personally called. I will update you in the coming weeks as appropriate and possible. Please hold me and our larger faith community in your thoughts and prayers.