On April 5 and 6, Marty Shaw, Jamie Gibson, Leslie Kinney and I attended the Northern New England District – UUA Annual Conference. Marty and I were the representative delegates from All Souls. The theme of the conference was “The Power of We”, which was intended to garner support for the dissolution of the NNED-UUA. The Board of Directors “has recommended that the NNED complete the process of merging with the New England Region. This involves the dissolution of the current Northern New England District.” The Board presented the results of the survey completed by the great majority of congregations in the NNED (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) to support the dissolution. At the time the All Souls Board completed the survey we responded that there was insufficient information to support or oppose dissolution. One of the missing pieces of information, how would dissolution occur, was answered at the annual meeting: by a vote of the member congregations. As a practical matter, the NNED currently has one staff person who works 30 hours per month, and provides little or no programming directly. The programming that many of you attended this past year (and we attended or accessed quite a number of programs!) were put on by the New England Region-UUA. NNED supports these programs by funding from its endowment. At some time in the next year or two, this matter will be brought to our congregation for a vote. I anticipate we will schedule the matter for a special congregational meeting when that time comes, preparing for an intelligent review of the matter beforehand.
Other than the portions of the conference supporting the concept that “we” is more than NNED, there were beautifully uplifting services as well. Reggie Harris gave a brilliant concert Friday evening of songs and stories from the Underground Railroad that still pertain today. You may remember Reggie from the concert and service he gave at All Souls last year. The Rev. Dr. Jodi Hayashida of Auburn. Maine, and Sarah Dan Jones of Plymouth, NH led us in a deeply meaningful service Saturday morning that moved us all.
And on a more personal note, Marty Shaw ended her service on the NNED Nominating Committee, and Jamie Gibson was elected to serve on the NNED Board of Directors. Thank you very much, Marty, for your service. And thank you, Jamie for taking on this important responsibility. We are blessed.