The election at the end of June of Peter Morales as the president of our UU association was a surprise to many—perhaps including Peter Morales himself. He had said at the beginning of the campaign that he would be content just to make a respectable showing but somehow his message caught on and he won—by a considerable margin.
What happened? What does this mean? The real answer is that it will take time for this to be clear.
We had two very good candidates: Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman. Both were senior ministers of large congregations. Laurel seemed to be the voice of good judgment and good listening. Peter seemed to be the voice of plain spokenness and of need for change.
It is interesting to contemplate what is likely to be done by our new president and administration . To me it is even more interesting to ask what our choice means about us—leaders serving congregations across the continent.
A good place to begin to answer the question of what drew such a strong response for Peter Morales is with his platform (http://www.moralesforuuapresident.org/pdf/Platform_1.pdf). Perhaps the strongest single statement in this platform concerns growth:
Growth will not result from ambitious media campaigns or costly efforts to start mega-churches. There are no gimmicks or magic bullets. We will grow our movement primarily in our existing congregations.
Clearly the first part of this is a negative judgment on some things that our association has been doing. How about the second half? This second half has an implicit highly positive judgment: that our existing congregations can be the engines for the growth that we need. Do we believe this, not just concerning congregations in general but concerning our own congregations? What would we need to do to fulfill the promise and hope implicit in this statement? What kind of support would be most helpful to you in achieving this - help either from our association or from other congregations?
What do you think about this? In the months ahead we will be interested to hear your thoughts. We hope for some lively, creative and energized discussions!