1997 Annual Report


The New York State Convention of Universalists

Report to the St. Lawrence and Metro New York Unitarian Universalist Districts

The New York State Convention of Universalists was organized in 1825, and survived the creation of the UUA. Today the Convention administers two large endowments. One provides pensions* for retired New York State Universalist ministers and their families; the other is used to promote the growth of the UU movement and to uphold the Universalist heritage, most notably through annual meetings and a program of grants and loans. In addition, the Convention appoints the majority of the Board of the Saint Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education, which uses proceeds from a third endowment to support students studying for the UU ministry.

The Convention was pleased to continue its direct support of district programs this year, providing block grants of $11,000 to Metro NY and $17,000 to SLD. The Convention also approved $19,317 for thirteen special projects under its regular grant/loan program, together with a one-time special grant of $25,000 toward the Unirondack capital campaign. The Unirondack gift will help to fund replacement of Leining lodge. The smaller grants include a second year of support for Inward Springs (a UU parenting journal published in the Metro district), a third year of support for the summer program sponsored by Unirondack at the Chautauqua Institution, on-going support for the John Murray Distinguished Lecture at the UUA General Assembly, a special preservation project for historic artifacts at the Murray Grove Camp and Conference Center, and miscellaneous projects in Salisbury Center, Canandaigua, New York City, Southold, Hamburg, Rochester, Oneonta, and the Capital district. This last grant takes the form of matching funds for an unusual joint advertising campaign between the established Albany, Schenectady, and Glens Falls congregations, and the newly-established Riverside and Saratoga congregations.

The Annual Meeting of the Convention was held this past October in Utica, NY. The Rev. Janet Bowering of Haverhill, MA, was the keynote speaker. Marshall Webster (Oneonta) and David Blanchard (Syracuse First) were elected to the Board of Trustees. Wade Wheelock (Canton) and Marcus Catlin (Williamsville/Schenectady) were elected to the Nominating Committee. Other business included an extensive set of "perfecting" amendments to the Convention By-Laws. Chris Lilly of Schenectady retired from the Board after three years, during which time she served as principal organizer of the annual meeting. Her skills will very much be missed.

The 1997 meeting of the Convention will be held October 17-18 at the First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY. The keynote speaker will be the David Johnson of Brookline, MA. In addition to election of officers and trustees, the business agenda will include consideration of a thorough update of the Convention Charter (Articles of Incorporation), last modified in 1918 (!). While voting rights in the Convention extend only to representatives of the 26 member societies, all UUs are warmly invited to attend, for a day and half of workshops, worship, and fellowship.

     Michael L. Scott, Secretary
     25 March 1997


* Legally, the NYSCU “pension” program is a noncontributory service gratuity.
   In recent documents the Convention prefers to use this more accurate term. 

Unitarian Universalist Association

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