Rochester III

     And now, in a new key, we have made an enormous financial commitment to a new hymnal.  We knew, without asking, that our constituency was ready for new words and music, new forms of worship, and a full selection of gender respectful material.  Surveys we did pre-Visions for Growth indicated potential financial support.

     Consider the fiscal facts:  unless we are all going up the river together for a long time, we really need to cooperate on this one.  I am sure the Committee will give everyone a chance to be heard.  And then, being human, they will bring back to us a book that will look to some like a compromise -- and some will want more of the paperback supplements, and some won’t like the new book because it is (or isn’t) loose-leaf, etc. etc.

     We have to work at this ahead of time, to share, to own by our own participation what is created, to avoid what Clifton Fadiman once referred to as “Man’s painful desire to communicate without coalescing.”  We must do this or we will have not a liturgical, but a financial disaster on our hands.

     Now where is the most significant area touching our finances in which we, as committed co-religionists can cooperate?

     The Annual Program Fund furnishes about 40% of our budgeted income.  But every year we have to do it again.  The only limitation we place on the future growth and potential of this association is the limitation we place on our giving to the Annual Program Fund.

     I say it every year -- it is no less true for the repetition -- this Association has the resources to do whatever it wants to do.  If the aggregate time and energy put into, say, this General Assembly, were replicated in a great cooperative effort by all of us to support the Annual Program Fund when we returned to our congregations, the UUA could truly do wondrous things.  Think about it!

     Remember, the Prisoner’s Dilemma is an illustration having meaning not only for the bad buys sorting out their potential sentences, but for all of us --
     -  Struggling for recognition
     -  Making known our concerns for our cherished causes
     -  Competing to prevail over others for the things we believe most of the time, in fact, trying to do the good, the right.

     Oliver Goldsmith said, “It is difficult to induce a number of free beings to cooperate for their mutual benefit.”

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