Rochester II

     One form of cooperation - let me read from the Minister’s Column in a local church news letter:

     “I believe our national association has done the right thing.   Some response was necessary, and it’s hard to see what other meaningful response could have been made.  If the response made wasn’t some sort of a sacrifice, it really wouldn’t have been impressive as moral witnesses go.  I feel it is important every Unitarian Universalist know what we have done because of apartheid through the the Unitarian Universalist Association, and to remember it as one writes one’s pledge check.  Moral witness does require some sacrifice.”  The Rev. Dr. C. Scott Giles.

     There is a great deal more to be said about divestment than can be covered from this platform today - although I thought other gentleman who spoke to the subject this morning said it well.  To make possible more exchange of information and dialogues, Loretta Williams, UUA Director of Social Responsibility, and I are conducting a workshop this afternoon on the message and the mechanics of divestment.

     Now I know it is easy to talk about cooperation when it appears to be a way of suggesting those who disagree with me should go along.  So maybe this is the moment at which we should talk about field services.  Those who heard these remarks two years ago in Columbus may recall I criticized the process by which the new field services program was conceived and designed and the way the delivery system was organized.  In addition, I had a number of reservations about the funding mechanism, short term and long term.  The Board, as it feels quite free to do, did not see it my way and the new program was approved as proposed by the Administration.  I wasn’t the only one who was not entirely convinced, and some legitimate questions are still being raised as the program is being implemented in the various districts.

     The districts have to believe it before it will work without disproportionate reliance on the UUA Budget.  But - it can reasonably be believed and it can work.

     Do I think my approach would have been better?  It doesn’t really matter, does it?  Respect for the worth and dignity of every person and commitment to use the democratic process means we all have to respect the beliefs of those with whom we disagree as much - maybe more - after they have won the vote than we did before.

     However, we have made our decision.  More important, we have set it in motion.  It may never be perfect, but it is working in a significant number of our districts and in the near future, will be working in someway, virtually across the continent.  The financial concerns have not gone away and probably never will - but are far enough along the way so that we can see a financial plan that can work.

     Little good for the greater institution will come of continuing to pick at this program, of seeking special advantages or treatment for our districts, of focusing on parochial district concerns.  The Prison’s Dilemma here is easily resolved by cooperation.

     Build a sense of district, build an allegiance to the Association, make the financial commitment locally, and the program will succeed.

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