Path to Eldership

by Margie Manning, Southern Region Communications Task Force

The four districts that make up the UUA’s Southern Region now are just four months away from our annual assemblies, and the historic votes we will take to dissolve district governance and move forward with a new model of stronger relationships between congregations.

This change has its roots in the Orlando Platform, which recognizes – among other points – that congregations create good leaders, whose faith calls them toward fulfilling a larger Unitarian Universalist mission. The Platform calls on us to provide a mechanism to allow these leaders to be of meaningful service to our faith.

These leaders are called Elders, a term taken from the Cambridge Platform, which is the basis for our congregational polity. Elder does not refer to age, but to wisdom and experience.

In the four years since the Orlando Platform, we have been working to define the scope and structure of the work taken on by Elders. We established an Elders Task Force, chaired by Denise Rimes, president of the Southeast District. Those who currently or have previously worked on the task force are: Peter Kandis, Jill Austin, Sarah Ritzmann, Lewis Morris, Connie Goodbread, Maggie Lovins, Erin Sullivan, Carlton Smith and Natalie Briscoe. We are grateful to each for their contributions to the following model for Eldership that envisions how lay leaders and Congregational Life Staff will work together to build relationships, strengthen congregations and grow Unitarian Universalism.

The document below was prepared by our Elders Task Force with answers to commons questions about the proposed Elder Model.

View, download, or print the Elders FAQ