Vancouver, BC

     This is my second report to you as your Financial Advisor, and bridging the mileage from Brunswick, ME to Vancouver, BC is daunting, to say nothing of the seafood opportunities. If you sample, as I do in any new saltwater place, the local clams, the contrast between East Coast quahogs and West Coast gooeyducks is stunning - simply the largest clam I’ve ever eaten.

     Back to finances... it has been a financial year of planning and problem solving, rather than of dramatic progress. We have been significantly affected by external happenings within the economy, the securities markets, and in certain of our sources of funds. An interesting year, a challenging year, in some ways a frustrating year, but one which leaves us with almost as many problems as we brought into it.

     Now these comments are, perforce, directed to the US economy in which the great majority of our expenses are incurred, and which directly affects the securities markets in which all of our invested assets are placed. If I seem, therefore, to be slighting the Canadian camp in our constituency, let me assure you that my concerns are continental though my focus may be more limited.

     I was right last year about what was going to happen in the economy (or at least I read the right experts on the subject, but I really blew it with respect to what, within two months was about to happen to the stock market. What I failed to tell you was that in August of 1982, the market was going to commence a major move upward. As of last Thursday’s close (when I was last in touch with a Wall Street Journal) the Dow Jones industrial average was at 1189, down slightly from its highs over the magic 1200 level, but still almost 49% higher than it was last year at this time.

     Having failed to alert you to the rise in stock prices last year, perhaps I have to say something this year. To suggest what will happen to the market over the 1983-1984 fiscal year requires a degree of prophetic vision I generally leave to the clergy -- although I am never able to get any market forecasts out of the sermons I hear -- but let me extend my neck to say I do not believe we shall see in the next year a market which will be as good to our portfolios as was the past year’s market. I am not predicting a decline, but a hovering, generally at present or slightly higher levels.

     I was watching a program recently on Channel 13, the public television station in New York, on the centennial of the Brooklyn Bridge. There were statements made by New Yorkers commenting on the significance of the bridge in the history of the city and in the image the citizens have of themselves.

     Now I’m am not suggesting the UUA is like the Brooklyn Bridge. I know both are going from one place to another -- both have great underlying strength -- both soar to great heights at some points -- and both have many moving parts which can’t always be seen moving, even from close up.

     What I am saying is that our power and such wealth as is our portion are only meaningful as they are part of, and lend support to, that reality which exists in our institutional mind -- in the spirit which animates us. St. Jerome, some 1600 years ago said he wanted a church “preferring to store her money in the stomachs of the needy rather than hide it in a purse.”

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