Steering Committee and UUA Staff clash

The following has been taken from Joseph Santos-Lyon’s blog at:
Radical Hapa: Youth Ministry Associate
Jesse Jaeger Director of the UUA Youth Office informed me this afternoon that this letter from UUA President is officially public. I support the Youth Office in their efforts to manage both the transition and their professional responsibilities.

April 11, 2005
Dear YRUU Steering Committee,
The events of the recent Steering Committee meeting may very well reflect anxiety about change and uncertainty about power as we engage in a process of examining our ministry to and with youth.
Whatever the reasons, the Steering Committee’s demand that UUA staff leave the meeting so that SC alone could decide on the September YPS recommendation was clearly outside the boundaries of established procedures. Excluding the people who would work with and be responsible for the YPS staff, and refusing to discuss the issues interfering with collaboration, moved SC outside of right relationship with UUA staff to an extent that needs to be acknowledged. At this point, proceeding with “business as usual” is not possible.

SC’s behavior was particularly disappointing and hurtful following the special consultation on relationship conducted at the January SC meeting. That work sought to keep communication open when conflict arises. It is likely that right relations, and the structures of authority that support it, cannot be fully established until the Youth Ministry Consultation process addresses this fundamental issue.
It would not be fair, however, for others to take the consequences for the Steering Committee’s actions. We would not penalize the committed youth applicants, the Youth Office staff, or our congregations by reducing or delaying staffing. Therefore, until a productive, respectful relationship is restored between SC and UUA staff, we will hire youth for the position of Youth Ministry Associate rather than YRUU Program Specialist. This means that the UUA will hire the Youth Ministry Associate without the current form of consulting with the SC. Youth Ministry Associates work for the UUA, serving youth in congregations throughout our Association.
Finally, Steering Committee will be asked to sign a covenant regarding appropriate behavior while staying at Eliot and Pickett Houses. Right relationship needs to be re-established with UUA staff there as well.
In Faith,
Rev. William G. Sinkford


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