International Council of Unitarians & Universalists
29 October 2020
Dear ICUU Members and Friends,
I hope this finds you and your communities navigating the impacts of covid-19, staying healthy and safe.
As you know due to the pandemic of the coronavirus, ICUU made the difficult decision to cancel our in-person biennial conference meant to be held in Montréal, Canada this past October. Though we were disappointed not to gather together to share in worship, workshops, and conversation, it was the right decision. We are distressed to see covid-19 continuing to ravage so many communities around the world and can only hope that the vaccines in development will be the answer we are all hoping for. We are wishing good health to all you, your families, and communities.
Like so many of you, in the face of covid-19, we have had to adjust how we work and serve our global community. Moving the Council’s business meeting to a virtual format was one of those adjustments. At our 29 October 2020 ICUU virtual business meeting we were able to address and accomplish all our necessary business, including the passing of our Fiscal Year 2021 budget, electing officers: executive committee and nominating committee members, and discussed issues regarding membership that needed action. And we had the joy of welcoming Aliança Unitária-Universalista da Língua Portuguesa (the Portuguese Language Unitarian-Universalist Alliance) as an emerging member group. We are grateful to all the delegates and observers who attended.
Our new Executive Committee was elected seeing Inga Brandes, Derek McAuley, and John ‘Mich” Michell all re-elected to their positions of President, Vice President, and Treasurer respectively. Shelley Adams shifted her role from Member-at-Large to Secretary. Lucie Hrabánková is staying on as a Member-at-Large and we welcomed Rev. Derrick Pariat and Rev. Norbert Racz as our new Members-at-Large. Please check out the Board page on our website HERE to read their bios. We offer our gratitude to Rev. Aryanto Nugroho for his service as Member-at-Large as he steps off the ICUU EC.
We also extend our deep appreciation for Rev. Celia Midgley as she steps off as Convener of the Nominating Committee. Celia has served ICUU in several roles over many years and her passionate dedication to our global faith community is an inspiration. Rev. Tet Gallardo also stepped off the Nominating Committee and we are very thankful for her service. The new Nominating Committee Convener Eva Kortekaas, beginning her second term on the committee, welcomes Rev. Alicia Forde and Rev. Szent-Ivanyi to the team. You can see their bios HERE.
Leading up to the virtual Council meeting, ICUU’s staff and EC worked diligently on addressing the on-going, complicated issues facing us as an organization. As we discussed with you last year, the structural deficit of our operational budget is a significant risk to ICUU’s long-term future as an effective organization. Covid-19 has only increased this risk.
Last year member groups supported the EC taking this past year to explore sustainable ways in which to address the issues the deficit raised. And as a result of extensive discernment and conversation, the proposal “A New Vision” was published a few months ago. If you’ve not had a chance to read it, you can find it on our website by clicking HERE. We held two well-attended information & discussion sessions prior to our virtual business meeting inviting feedback and questions regarding the proposal. Leading to an overwhelming approval of the proposal moving forward. Essentially what we have learned over the past year is that ICUU can no longer exist in its current form if it is to achieve its objectives. Change is necessary.
Many questions remain unanswered as we begin to take these next steps, but as Derek McAuley said in the business meeting, “we are on a journey and by this decision, we have opened a gate and now begin to climb the mountain.” There is still a lot unknown and not yet figured out, but we listened carefully to the feedback and questions offered in our information sessions and that came to us via email. Please know that we are taking all input under consideration and we will be keeping you updated as we progress. Involving all members in our continued deliberations will be critical to the success of this evolution.
There is still much to do to launch this new venture and our day to day work continues, including supporting member groups, and facilitating the Global U/U Training Initiative Roundtable. Your engagement and support will be a necessary part of the months ahead of us and I look forward to working alongside the Executive Committee as we continue to do our best to serve you.
Sara Ascher, Executive Director ICUU