Summary of EUU AGM (Annual General Meeting), November 12, 2023

(by Karen Kyker)

Our 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place online on Sunday, November 12, with 32 EUU Members in attendance, from five of our Member Fellowships and many At-Large EUU Members. The business meeting began at 2:30 pm as planned and ended at 4:20 pm. Quite a few people connected as early as 2:00 pm and took advantage of the opportunity to chat and connect.

After perfunctory approval of the agenda and of the 2022 AGM minutes, the current officers were re-elected for the 2024 calendar year: President Karen Kyker; Vice President Emily Searle-White; Treasurer Jutta Hamm-Ullmann; and Secretary Bonnie Friedmann. The officers all are enjoying working together and enthusiastically invite others to JOIN IN THE FUN, as there must be a change of President for 2025 (we have a 3-year presidential term limit). Anyone who might be interested is encouraged to begin talking with Karen and the other officers soon.

The rest of our business meeting resulted in approval of a 2024 budget — modified from the initially proposed budget — and acceptance of a “Preliminary Safe Community Statement for EUU. The discussions and process involved in attaining these two goals were dynamic and highly interactive — not at all perfunctory!

(Please write to treasurer@europeanuu.org if you want to see the outline of the budget.)

Read details about these discussions here…

The budget portion of the meeting took time, as there was animated discussion and inputs from numerous people, in response to the initially proposed budget which included two significant new line items: 1000 EUR to the Retreat Grant Fund, and 1000 EUR to support technical expertise expenses for continuing to make retreats accessible online; and a related reduction of the social action budget to cover those increases.

After lengthy discussion, an alternative set of calculations was proposed and accepted, to result in a balanced 2024 budget that corresponds to our values and desires, and intentionally takes money from our reserves to support these goals. The Social Action budget is now higher than initially proposed, and an additional new line item was added, to further help reduce the financial barriers that Youth – in particular Young Adults – experience when they consider participation in EUU retreats. The careful, clear and thoughtful work of Treasurer Jutta Hamm-Ullman, as well as her gracious and rapid alterations during the meeting, were very much appreciated.

The Safe Communities topic had less time for discussion, due to the length of the budget conversation. Building upon extensive discussion about ‘Safe Community’ at our October 15 Town Hall meeting, task force members Eva Kortekaas and Tony Zamparutti had formulated the Safe Community Statement and incorporated further changes after feedback from the Coordinating Council (CC) Members.

The statement presents, in a positive spirit, the values of our community, seeking to ensure that everyone can feel safe as we live alongside each other, and it outlines negative behaviors/concerns. It also outlines groups of people deserving of a special duty of care and identifies additional standards of behavior for leaders in our community.

It was decided to add “Preliminary” to the title of the statement to emphasize the “living” nature of the document, with the intention to continue discussing and modifying it going forward, with a commitment to do so in the first half of 2024, including at the spring retreat. The living nature of the document will continue on…

It was emphasized at the meeting that this statement does not include any specific sanctions or procedures if issues arise, and it pertains only to EUU – not to Member Fellowships of EUU, which have autonomous governance. Member Fellowships are encouraged to use the EUU statement and subsequent policy work as a starting point, if they should choose to develop their own statement.

EUU will proceed in January 2024, at our CC meeting, to begin the work on practical policy and procedures for EUU, related to this accepted Statement of values and expected behaviors. This work will necessarily include some of the suggested ideas that have come up thus far, including creating structures for supportive mediation when needed, and addressing concerns about balance of power, and safeguarding of everyone in the community from abuses of power.