1998 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 $20,169 in grants for fourteen special projects, and a $40,000 short-term loan to the Ferry Beach UU camp and conference center in Saco Maine. The loan will be repaid from pledges already made to a major capital campaign; it will provide the cash flow needed to undertake important fire safety improvements over the next few months. The grants include a second year of funding for UU participation in New York State Interfaith Impact, a third year of support for Inward Springs (a UU parenting journal published in the Metro district), co-sponsorship of the John Murray Distinguished Lecture at the UUA General Assembly, a pair of special programs at Unirondack, assistance in the publishing of Stephen Papa's new biography of Abner Kneeland, and miscellaneous projects at Canandaigua, Southold, and Murray Grove.

The Annual Meeting of the Convention was held this past October in Rochester, NY. The Rev. David Johnson of Brookline, MA, was the keynote speaker. Gale Alexander, Bert Brown, Michael Scott, Tom Reese, Judy Quarles, and Deborah Welty (addresses at left) were elected to positions on the Board. Jill Carter (NY 4th) and Harry Burkart (Syracuse First) were elected to the nominating committee. The principal item of business was approval of a major update of the Convention's Charter (Articles of Incorporation), which was last modified in 1918. Ed Ware and Jill Carter retired from the Board after many years of dedicated service. For the last several years Jill served as President and Ed as chair of the Finance Committee. Their warmth and wisdom will be greatly missed.

Mark your calendars: The Convention will be sponsoring a special worship service Sunday evening, June 28, as part of the UUA General Assembly. Scott Alexander, minister of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship, will preach. His theme, and that of the service as a whole, is Universalism for the New Millenium.

AND. . . the 1998 meeting of the Convention will be held October 16-17 at the Fourth Universalist Church in New York City. The keynote speaker will be Geoffrey Canada, President of the Rheedlin Centers for Children and Families in New York City, and award-winning author of Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, published by Beacon Press. While voting rights in the Convention extend only to representatives of the 25 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 1998


* 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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