An ongoing discussion regarding UTO Board representation
We have made absolutely no judgment statements regarding how members are selected to be on the United Thank Offering board. No person is diminished by how that person arrives on the board. All members are equal according to the 2012 Bylaws, therefore all members, elected or appointed have policies and procedures to follow and responsibilities for committee service
This particular United Thank Offering board has faced a demand for adapting to transition unprecedented in the history of the organization. Every board meeting has included new members arriving, and old members no longer present. The death of a president has never happened to any Episcopal Church Board; there were no precedents about how to cope with this event. And it is certainly true that the "core" group is still grieving.
What might be called the "core group" of the 2012-2015 Board first met each other and met together in Indianapolis at the 2012 Triennial meeting. That group included the 9 elected province reps and the three at large reps elected from among the sitting reps to serve another term as At-Large members. Since 2000, the United Thank Offering committee/board had been a twelve member board; the INC-055 bylaws of 2012 required that an additional three members be added; two to be appointed by Executive Council and one to be appointed by the PB, the POHD and the President of the United Thank Offering Board. The three appointed members were appointed in April of 2013, almost one year after the Board first assembled. (The United Thank Offering President was not included in the decisions as expected.)
One of these members was able to attend all but two days of the May meeting; one was able to attend four days of the meeting; one was unable to attend at all. Two of these members were able to attend the one-day special meeting in July with the PB. This has meant that although all three have some level of knowledge of the United Thank Offering Board, none of them have had long experience of the working of the board prior to this tumultuous time. They were appointed in the midst of it all. It is assumed that anyone coming on the board has some knowledge of the United Thank Offering; the first meeting of the 12 member board in September was an orientation session, with time spent reviewing the bylaws and the policies and procedures of the board. The members of the UTO board, all of whom served in some capacity on the INC-055 study committee, have not participated in an orientation sessions, or even a session that included introduction of current board members and their backgrounds and interests.
The elected members of the board, most of whom had been working together for a year, chose to discuss some of the issues presented in the draft documents received from DFMS as a separate group, as they were and are the members directly affected by the change in the election process described in the proposed bylaws revisions. The "elected" members of the board are the nine representatives elected to serve a particular constituency and they have very specific responsibilities to those who elected them; these tasks are different from those of at-large and appointed members. That does not mean one group is more important than another. Three provincial members chose to protest and resign; five members have chosen to object, but continue on the board; one, the Province 9 rep, who has still other responsibilities, has chosen to abstain until the September meeting. The thinking was that those elected from Provinces needed to talk among themselves regarding what impact these documents had on them. or example, province responsibilities involve recruiting and training the diocesan coordinator networks that actually use the Blue Boxes. There is concern about how this process will proceed without the relationship with ECW.
One at-large member has chosen to see the issues from a different perspective than the rest of the elected provincial reps who have chosen to continue on the board. None of the board members, current or former, has denied her right to disagree. As stated above, the at-large members of the board do not have provincial responsibilities; they do have board responsibilities.
The appointed members who have come on board in the midst of this "crisis" all have some history with United Thank Offering, but have not been part of the year long process of work that has been done. As a group, they have yet to participate in depth in the ongoing conversation around the table. One member did attend and participate in the recent Face to Face diocesan coordinator training program in July. As a group, they come from a different perspective than the elected members who have emerged from diocesan leadership. All three appointed members are clergy, each with different Professional experience. The integration of these different perspectives offers an exciting opportunity for growth and direction for the United Thank Offering Board that everyone has been looking forward to, but the opportunity for this integration has not yet been available.