What Does It Mean to be Nominated as Co-Moderator of the UUA?
By Charles Du Mond
from the archives, March 2020
December 2019: “The Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is pleased to announce its unanimous nomination of the Rev. Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond for election as the next co-moderators of the UUA, at the special election to be held at General Assembly (GA) 2020, in Providence, RI. If elected, they will serve in this position for a term beginning at the conclusion of GA 2020 and ending at the conclusion of GA 2025.”
February 2020: “Board Secretary Rev. Patrick McLaughlin received no petitions for Moderator by the bylaw-directed deadline of February 1. As a result, the sole candidacy for the 2020-2025 Moderator term is the team of Rev. Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond. The incoming Co-Moderators will assume their roles at the close of General Assembly 2020 in Providence, RI.”
If you are not a UU-insider, you may be asking, what is a co-moderator? You may be wondering if you should congratulate Meg and me. (Yes, you should. We choose to do this.)
And here’s the job description:
The Moderator serves as Chief Governance Officer of the Association, presiding at General Assemblies and at meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. The Moderator also serves on the Finance Committee without vote, represents the Association on special occasions, and assists in promoting its welfare.
Let’s unpack some of this. First, Meg and I are running as a team – 2 people for one position. Back in 2017, I served on a Moderator Search Committee and no one applied for the job. That committee recommended the UUA change the by-laws to allow for teams to run and the rules were changed. Meg and I applied as a team last fall and the Board decided to nominate us.
We are in an uncontested election. The Board could have nominated other candidates but chose not to. Other candidates could have run by petition, but the time for submitting those has passed. The UUA Board is still working out the details, but there will be an opportunity for delegates at GA to confirm our election.
While Meg and I won’t have specific responsibilities at the 2020 GA – other than answering questions in a forum and participating in an installation ceremony – we will be responsible for the board meeting that occurs on the Monday after GA. There are 4 in-person board meetings during the year and electronic meetings in all the other months. And then, we will be responsible for chairing the next 5 general assemblies.
The last part of the job description, “special occasions” and “promoting its welfare” are the parts that can get out of control and have limited the number of people who can participate. For many past Moderators, it was a more than full time volunteer position. There’s no salary, but travel costs are covered. Some spent a lot of time traveling and visiting congregations.
Meg and I have an agenda to make this position more accessible to more people. We’re going to share the work, trust one another, stay in regular communication, and practice collaborative leadership.