I was a little surprised, but pleased, that Rev. Peter Morales was elected President of the UUA. I didn’t attend GA this year and so missed out on the ‘election fervor’ that I’m sure was there in both camps.
I heard both Peter and Laurel Hallman in a forum at the Annual General Meeting of the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA in Salem, Oregon this February. I was more impressed with Peter than with Laurel. I was impressed with what he had to say about growth, and his realism about what it would take to get there. Someone in the audience asked both candidates to talk about where they thought the UUA would be 100 years from now. Laurel painted what seemed to me to be a rather rosy forecast about the size of the UUA and our impact on society. Peter took a more realistic and blunt view. He said that if we didn’t change what we were doing, we wouldn’t even be here 100 years from now.
This bluntness, along with a sense of urgency to do some things differently impressed me. I had some hope that under the leadership of someone like Peter, the UUA might be able to break through the stagnant membership numbers that have remained essentially unchanged since the merger in the 1960s. While the numbers have remained essentially the same, in terms of percentage of the population, we have been on a long, slow decline. It would be nice to see that trend reverse. Peter seems to know what makes growth happen, as evidenced by the sustained growth of his church in Colorado. So here’s to a brighter future. I remain hopeful.