Memorandum of Understanding from AUUMM to General Assembly Planning Committee for 2020
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Posted by: Laurice Grae-Hauck
We are pleased to bring you a progress report on our negotiations with the General Assembly Planning Committee (GAPC) following the public letter addressed to the GAPC on August 28, 2019.
An update was provided to our membership on December 31, 2019. Since this time, a fifth meeting was held with members of the GAPC, Worship Arts Team, and UUA staff, that also included staff members of CMI, the audio-visual company that supports General Assembly.
We are pleased to move forward with our commitment to the 2020 General Assembly in Providence. The Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Board of Trustees has released a memorandum of understanding to the GAPC and other interested parties.
Download the memorandum
In an effort to be as transparent as possible about this process, the AUUMM Board of Trustees will host a town hall regarding this process on Tuesday, February 4th at 8:30 PM EST/5:30 PM PST. All AUUMM members are invited to bring their questions to this town hall style Zoom meeting. More information here.
January 28, 2020
The Board of Trustees of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), on behalf of its membership, decided on January 27, 2020 to proceed with full participation in the 2020 General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
This decision comes after several months of negotiations with the GA Planning Committee (GAPC) and UUA Administration. Those negotiations are not yet complete. Although we have made progress, both the AUUMM and the GAPC acknowledge the need for conversations and progress to continue.
We are satisfied with the UUA’s commitment to hiring a Production Manager who will be responsible for holding all the individual pieces of GA in one place. The hope is that this position will help to improve and increase communication across all disciplines such that all parties have the same information from the same source at the same time. The GAPC, in collaboration with AUUMM Board members, is engaged in an active search to fill this position. We expect someone will be hired by no later than February 20, 2020, recognizing that we are already quite late in the calendar leading to GA.
We are also satisfied with the GAPC’s commitment toward fair compensation and ethical financial expectations for all music personnel, including band members and additional song leaders/soloists. Additionally, the GAPC has committed to provide adequate funding for equipment rentals and other typical expenses. The GAPC is committed to calling on members of the AUUMM to fill roles whenever possible.
There are, however, some remaining growing edges around relationship that we hope will be worked out over time. The Board, in our conversations with the GAPC, has witnessed the same lack of respect, disregard for time, and insufficient communication as has been reported by many of our past GA participants. We do not believe this is malicious or even intentional. We recognize it as a persistent systematic culture that will take some time and deliberate focus to change. So we continue to call the GAPC into a deeper, truer and more mutually respectful relationship. To that end, we recognize that the UUA Director of General Assembly and Conference Services, LaTonya Richardson, no longer has the time to convene our gatherings. However, we hope that Ms. Richardson will commit to remaining engaged in the continuing conversation.
In addition to our continued conversations around right relationship, a shared document, covenant, or agreement is being jointly drafted by the GAPC and the AUUMM which will hold all GA worship artists and leaders accountable to each other and to a collaborative process. It is our hope that this will help to dismantle any perceived interdisciplinary hierarchy and increase respect.
Until such a time as the relationship between the GAPC and the AUUMM has become healthy, we expect that all GA music personnel contracts will be approved by the AUUMM President before being offered to AUUMM members. Further, we expect that all planning meetings and conversations which involve an AUUMM member will include an AUUMM Board member or AUUMM Good Officer who will be present to serve as a process observer to support the work of participating AUUMM members and advocate for fair and respectful collaboration.
As has already been stated, there is work yet to do. However, we are encouraged by the progress made and we are appreciative of the generosity and dedication of all who are staying engaged in the process.
The AUUMM Board:
DeReau Farrar, President
Deborah Weiner, Moderator
L.H. Brown, Treasurer
Sarah Jebian, Secretary
Joel Chapman, Member at Large
Rev. Christe Lunsford, Member at Large
Amanda Thomas, Member at Large
Laurice Grae-Hauck, Acting Executive Director (ex officio)