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11 Responses to Participate in the Discussion!

  1. Robert Kaufmann, MD says:

    Greetings to the Board of Trustees! I am a fairly long-term “friend” of UUSF. I was briefly a member of UUSF during the “interim ministry” of Rev. Robinson. I have been present at UUSF more or less regularly since about 2000. I attend “services” when I am motivated to do so, although I am “agnostic” and have an aversion to ritual of any kind, especially religious ritual. I was raised by nominally Jewish parents in Ethical Culture. As a child I was forced to attend EC Sunday school in Garden City, NY. As an adult I attended EC meetings in Ossining, NY.
    I attend UUSF Humanists on a fairly regular basis. I gave a presentation to that group some time ago on Ethical Culture.
    Here’s the point: I strongly recommend that the Board consider instituting one strictly humanist service per month. No robes, no ritual, no Jesus, no bible, nothing religious…strictly secular.
    It’s my belief that if UUSF were to do this and word were to spread in the community, that many people would be attracted to UUSF.
    I might consider rejoining UUSF under those circumstances.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Robert J. Kaufmann, M. D.

    • Stephanie Gowin says:

      Dear Robert,

      Thank you so much for your comments; it’s such a pleasure to hear from you!

      When the Task Force on Future Ministry polled the congregation recently, they validated that most of our members (over 50% of those who responded) identify as humanists or non-theists. When we interview the developmental minister candidate tomorrow, you can bet that our interview questions will skew heavily toward discovering how he or she supports humanism. We’re also interested hearing how the minister hopes to have humanists embrace his or her leadership. Since several Board members also identify as humanists and non-theists, we’ll be listening carefully to the responses during the interview.

      We’re also following standard practice for our denomination that bakes into the DM contract the minister’s right to “freedom of the pulpit.” In theory, the minister can decide to preach about worshipping cabbages, and the contract suggests that we not interfere. That’s all the more reason for us to complete our due diligence during the hiring process, to confirm that the minister’s sermons will fulfill the needs of the congregation. Please feel confident that the Board is giving humanism a high priority during the vetting process. We can certainly pass your request (for one humanist service a month) on to the candidate as an example of the type of sermon that could encourage congregants to return. I appreciate your comments, and I hope to hear more of your suggestions and comments during this transition.

  2. Kerry Parker says:

    Dear Board of Trustees;

    A HUGE congratulations to you and to Jonathan Silk for a *very* smooth implementation of a new website…for the new millenium and the new Dev. Rev.!!

    Just checking out this new, great communications tool.

    In harmony
    Kerry

  3. Kerry Parker says:

    AND Gino Fortunado!! Thank you every one of you who envisioned such a hip new way to connect!!

    In harmony,
    Kerry

    • Thanks for the comments, Kerry. The blog should be fun… we’ll see.

      As for the new website, that is all Jonathan’s. The Board, like other lay leaders Jonathan asked, supplied material for our pages and informal feedback. But, the execution and hard work is his!

  4. Tori Weelot says:

    What a great slate for the incoming board! Glad to see Marc on board (pun intended).
    Thank you for all your service.

    • Stephanie Gowin says:

      Yes, Marc is a great addition to our Board, and I’m looking forward to an interesting (in the good way!) year. Thanks Tori!
      ~Stephanie

  5. I rented a room to do a slide show on the JFK assassination.
    After the event a stranger, Eric B. began slandering me, and harassing me, by falsely accusing me, to people at my meeting, of being a “racist”, because I made 5 videos on AIDS, over the past 5 years, on how young black girls are being raped, and so given AIDS, in the black community.
    One of my videos is an interview with a famous black woman film maker, Iesha Simmons, who made the famous movie on rape in the black community, called “NO!!”.
    You may have seen it when it was shown at the R Theater on 24th st. in SF.

    I then rented another room, paid the rent, $100., and spent $600. in time and costs printing flyers, and passing them out, for a talk on “How Solar energy could create thousands of jobs in San Francisco.”

    To stop me from doing my talk on how Solar creates jobs, Eric B. then took his false slanders to Kerry Parker and convinced her to illegally cancel my June 2014 room reservation.

    Parker then sent me a false email, saying she was canceling my paid reservation, because Eric B. had shown here 2 minutes of a 9 minutes video, taking my words out of context, and somehow convinced Parker that I am a racist.

    This incident may be a good place for UU to start a discussion on racism, but it is not the basis for canceling my reservation.

    I would like to show the videos in question to 3 Board members so you can evaluate them yourself.

    It is not fair to illegally cancel my reservation, after I went thru all the work & expense.

    I request a hearing to expose this illegal conduct by Parker.

    • Thank you for caring enough to bring your disappointment to our attention.

      As a religious organization we are sensitive to issues of inclusion and racism, and our staff has the authority and responsibility to respond to concerns about the use of our rooms and space.

      However, we appreciate that you reached out to someone at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco in an appeal to be allowed to rent rooms.

      We will forward your comments and concern to the Senior Minister, the Rev. John Buehrens. We don’t expect that you know our organization’s structure, but Rev. Buehrens is the person responsible for the operation of the building and center. Kerry and other staff report to him. The Board sets policy, but it does not supervise staff or make decisions on individual rentals.

      Rev. Buehrens will review the situation and take appropriate action. If you would like to provide Rev. Buehrens additional information, please contact him directly at JBuehrens@uusf.org or at 415.776.4580.

  6. Betsy Darr says:

    Dear Friends,
    I am respodning to the announcement in the Flame of 4/4/2015 of considertaion of a by-law to form one Committee on Ministry.
    I would like to add that Directors of RE are also strongly urged to have Relations Committees, for many of the same reasons ministers are. Though we don’t have a DRE at this time (or lay director of faith development, or whatever title is current), in case we do go back to a lay person to head up Faith Development in the future, I ask you to discuss thoroughly whether the bylaw will say that such a lay leader will be part of the Committee on Ministry, or whether that person will be expected to form his/her own Relations Committee.
    Thank you, and thank you for all your good work,
    Betsy Darr Credentialed Religious Educator, Master Level, retired
    former LREDA Good Offices person for PCD

    • Thanks, Betsy!

      You raise a great point. I know the intention is to be inclusive of all professional program staff, but I think the current draft amendment uses the word “minister”. We were so focused on getting the responsibilities down, that I think we missed the probability that we will have non-ministers leading religious education from time to time.

      I’ll pass along your comment and see how we can fix the wording at the next Trustee meeting.

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