This is the report of the Secretary of the Church of the Younger
Fellowship. For the purposes of this report, Steering Committee  refers to those elected or appointed to it, as well as the Tech Team, and our minister/Administrator, unless specified otherwise.

In 2009 the Steering Committee has engaged in the following:

  • The restarting of semi-monthly scheduled chats for members
  • A more regular posting of worship
  • A re-distribution of work between the volunteers, contract staff, paid staff, and CLF administration
  • Engaged in the beginning of a visioning process.
  • Revised a Mission Statement that has been submitted to the community for discussion.
  • Adjusted the Steering committee work and meeting schedule to optimise the limited resource of volunteer and staff time.

As Secretary, I am responsible for ensuring the integrity of our
documents. In this capacity, I have several concerns:

  • The Steering Committee played no part in the determination of our budget for the 2010 fiscal year.
  • Similarly, the Steering Committee played no part in the drafting of a grant proposal submitted for our ministry.
  • For the entirety of 2009, the Steering Committee was provided inaccurate information as to the status of our surplus and deficit.
  • The Steering Committee had no fiscal nor fund raising plan for 2009, and has made neither for the current fiscal year.
  • The redistribution of work previously cited has never been articulated.
  • CLF Board Policy requires that a new Memorandum of Understanding be negotiated annually. We are currently operating without one, and our Board Liason has expressly told us to ignore that Board Policy.

These are of particular concern, as Church of the Larger Fellowship
Board of Directors policy requires the Steering committee be responsible for the expenses of our ministry. It is impossible for the Steering Committee to meet that responsibility without information from our fiscal agents that is both accurate and timely, coupled with a fiscal plan and an accurate understanding of our responsibilities and limits.

As Secretary, I have striven to make information timely and accurate for our meetings. I have not always succeeded, but with the co-operation of the rest of the Steering Committee I believe that the records of our work and thus its consistency are far more stable now than when I came to office in March 2009.

However, being the Secretary of the CYF as elected by its members, I have failed in my duties of reporting to them. This failure has been intentional, as I have sought to maintain as healthy a relationship with my fellow Steering committee members as possible, believed that bringing our work to a stable point was essential, and that airing my concerns over the lack of integrity of the Steering committees work would not allow us to meet those ends.

I still believe that the work of the Steering Committee has no spiritual or institutional integrity without being part of a long term fiscal and programming plan that is informed by the revised Mission Statement, a current Memorandum of Understanding with the Board, and a defined relationship with the CLF staff. Further, the negotiation of these agreements and the creation of this plan must be the top priority of the Steering Committee for the first half of this year and completed before General Assembly. This process need not necessarily include the Tech Team or Administrator.

During the 2010 year, I seek to announce and publish minutes of each
Steering committee meeting on the CYF website, and to furnish the
community with quarterly reports of our work and finances. I will also seek to engage the community in discussion of including our ministry in other aspects of the UU world, through the creation of what I hope will be some of the most comprehensive, approachable, and integrated denominational affairs work in our Association.

I look forward to the rest of 2010, and the work of the CLF’s Young
Adult Ministry.

Submitted in Faith,
Donald Wilson
Church of the Younger Fellowship


I’ve kept the following question in mind when I charge expenses to the Planning Committee accounts: How many registrations does it take to pay for this?

Well, I went one step further. The linked PDF is my contribution to openness. It shows, using the numbers available on the UUA site, what % of the total GA expenses each line item is, as well as how much (in dollars and cents) is used from a Full Time registration to pay for that line item.

I now have a profound respect for bean counters, because that was a chore I never want to have to go through again…


Forewarning, I might be on the planning committee, but I wasn’t
involved in the planning of any of the worships or celebrations, and
got to experience them as an audience member, for the most part.

In my understanding, misappropriation comes into play when you have
one group that is taking an idea, words, theme, and using them
outside the context of the original, or in a way that is inauthentic.

When it comes to music, there is a 3rd culture that has been
increasingly involved in appropriation/misappropriation in our
worship services: The Culture of Music.

It is, and has been through the development of culture itself, the
culture of music to take themes, ideas, lyrics, melodies, even whole
pieces, and to use them in the creation of something that may, or may
not, reflect the original. In fact, once one hears a new type of music, one will never hear other music quite the same way again. Music is infectious in this way, changing the way we view the world, with each note and cadence.

How many different versions of songs can we find in Singing the
Living Tradition, in the hymnals of other religions? Is it wrong to
sing “Forward Through the Ages” as opposed to “Onward, Christian
Soldiers”, both of which are to the tune St. Gertrude, which was
likely co-opted from local folk who may not have been Christian at
the time, by missionaries?

Which melody is appropriate to use with “Nearer My God to Thee”? The
Irish folk song version of Pictish origin, or the Scottish of Celtic?

“The Green Hills of Tyrol”, an old melody of Gaulish origin, which
showed up in the William Tell Overture, was adapted by a marching
band from Sardinia, and then to the Great Highland Bagpipe by Pipe
Major John MacLeod in 1854, and finally had lyrics added in WWI
becoming a lament for soldiers lost.

The Culture of Music is based in appropriation itself, with an intent
of sharing what has been gathered and learned over time with the
cultures that those who carry music from one place to another. This
is going to make music one of, if not the hardest, aspect of
misappropriation to unpack. What is misappropriation to you and me in
a worship service, is a wholly anticipated and accepted form of
appropriation to the musicians.

Acknowledgment of the history of the music helps, and yet there was no acknowledgment made of the privilege we have to perform music, and to take music from other cultures where it means something more than what we can take out of performing it.
UUA Trustee, Tamara Payne-Alex

There are 2 very different halves there. The first is that we have a privilege to perform music. Personally, I see the RIGHT to perform music as one that behooves us as UUs to support. We have this privilege because we’ve spilt blood to ensure it, and that “we” is an encompassing one for all those who claim this country as their own.

The 2nd half is the privilege to take music from other cultures … Which is where we run smack dab into the problem of the Culture of Music again, and its appropriative nature.

This nature of appropriation that Musicians have, is one filled and built on respect, both for the other musicians and the cultures from whence they’ve come. If we as the GAPC are to continue to make music a integral part of GA, and if we are going to employ the services of the UUMN, we are going to start running into this same exact problem a LOT, because the musicians of the UUMN have been learned and bred in this culture of music, and see respect incarnate in the performance of these pieces.

As do I, but then again, I’m a musician.

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