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Board Meeting

News from Boston:

Interweave Continental’s 2012 
Board Retreat

The members of Interweave Continental’s Board of Directors met in Boston for their annual retreat during the first weekend of October. Over the course of the weekend, the board discussed the opportunities and challenges that Interweave Continental, Interweave chapters, individual members and BGLTQA Unitarian Universalists confront during this exciting time in the history of our organization, our association and our nation.2012 board meetingpeter1

The retreat began with a wide-ranging conversation between the board and the Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Board members updated President Morales on Interweave Continental’s ongoing work and future plans, and President Morales spoke to the Board about developments related to BGLTQ issues both within the UUA and in the wider culture. Following this discussion, board members participated in an informal worship service led by Interweave Continental Treasurer Valerie White, and then we shared a supper prepared by Interweave Continental President Maryka Bhattacharyya.

The retreat continued as board members discussed two critical questions:

What do Interweave chapters expect of Interweave Continental?

What do individual Interweave members who are not affiliated with chapters expect of Interweave Continental?

Board members agreed that Interweave Continental needs to do the following:

provide strong advocacy on BGLTQ issues on a national level, both within and outside the UUA

offer local chapters detailed information about how to build and sustain an effective Interweave group

inform Interweave chapters about events and activities sponsored by other Interweave chapters

suggest ways to sustain engagement with BGLTQ issues at the congregational level after the "Welcoming Congregation" process has been completed

The board also discussed the possibility of hosting regional gatherings and events for Interweave chapters and members, as well as establishing online discussions through which chapters and individual members could provide guidance to the board. In addition, the board acknowledged the need to create a more functional process to elect leadership at the national level and to develop a clear statement of the rights and responsibilities of the national organization, of local chapters and of individual Interweave members.

The board devoted considerable attention to the needs of individual Interweave members who do not live in areas served by an active Interweave chapter. The board discussed the feasibility of using online forums, podcasts and social media applications, possibly adapting strategies developed by the Church of the Larger Fellowship, to engage individual members more effectively. Board members noted the particular value of Interweave Connect in linking members and chapters across the country.

The board then engaged in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Strengths) Analysis. Board members noted that Interweave, at the national and local levels, has strong leadership and is well networked with other anti-oppression organizations both within the UUA and in the BGLTQ community at large.

At the same time, local chapters and individual members often feel unconnected to one another and to Interweave Continental, and the absence of any full-time Interweave staff members at the national level makes it difficult for Interweave Continental to sustain a high level of engagement among the organization’s numerous and widely scattered local chapters and individual members.

Board members noted that new technologies, especially in the area of social media, may offer more effective, economical and accessible means to engage Interweave’s membership in national conversations about crucial issues, and they expressed appreciation of the consistent support that Interweave Continental has received from the UUA Administration.

The retreat concluded with a discussion of important upcoming events. Interweave Continental President Maryka Bhattacharyya indicated that she will submit a proposal to present a session at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference, which will take place in Atlanta at the end of January. The board voted to hold Convo, Interweave’s annual national membership meeting, at General Assembly, which will take place in Louisville in late June. The board also plans to sponsor programs at GA, perhaps in partnership with other UUA and affiliate organizations.

Nisco Junkins
Interweave Connect