Before I tell you about the important progress we are making in both reinforcing the Humanist core of Unitarian Universalism and acting as a bridge between Unitarian Universalism and the secular/non-theist community, I have an exciting announcement to make:
On November 18, 2013, your Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Maria Greene to the part-time position of Development and Communications Director of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association (HUUmanists). Maria will guide our efforts in three areas: Membership Development/Fundraising; Local Group identification, formation and affiliation; and Communications. Please join me in thanking Maria for taking on this critical job in our movement and in giving her our enthusiastic support. In a related action, the Board has appointed Rev. Dr. Neil Gerdes to the position of Secretary of the Association, replacing Maria.
Let me tell you about just a few of the exciting "happenings" involving your UU Humanist Association.
We have balanced the budget! Thanks to increasing paid memberships and donations, we are taking in more funds than we are expending. Continually increasing our financial resources will allow us to accomplish more of the ambitious objectives we have set for our Association. To make membership more widely attractive, we are experimenting with changing our dues structure. Starting on January 1, 2014, yearly dues will be $35, which will include the electronic version of the Religious Humanism Journal. Dues will remain at $60 for those wanting a print copy of the journal. But we need you help. You can make a donation and encourage others to join us.
Neil Gerdes and I accompanied the archivist of Meadville Lombard Theological School on a visit to the American Humanist Association offices in Washington, DC. Roy Speckhardt, the Executive Director of AHA, gave us an extensive tour of their facilities and their stored document areas. A plan was developed for several boxes of materials to be sent to MLTS for possible inclusion in the Humanist Archives. More documents will follow, both from the AHA and from many other sites across the country.
HUUmanists Board member Lowell Steinbrenner and I have joined the advisory board of Greg Epstein's Humanist Community Project (HCP) and are working closely with Unitarian Universalist Association staff and others to maximize UU Humanist participation in the project. Your Association has committed $5,000 to HCP and is actively seeking more funding through UU resources. This is a huge opportunity for us to carry our message to freethinking folks - especially young people - in communities across the country who are not inclined to typical church attendance.
Preliminary planning for the 2014 UUA General Assembly has begun. We are envisioning a huge Humanist presence at GA centered around program events (both inside and outside of the GA itself) and a large booth dedicated to UU Humanist outreach, local groups, and social justice. I'll give you all the details as soon as we learn if our main program proposal is approved by the GA Planning Committee. But mark your calendars for June 25-29, 2014. The 2014 General Assembly will be held in Providence, RI.
This could be a break out year for the Unitarian Universalist Humanists. We have gotten people's attention. This is our time. Our congregations need to hear our message and we need to be there for the searchers in our communities who are looking for the kind of life stance that we have embraced - that of reason, compassion, and community. We need you now more than ever to join in the cause.