Scott Wells on the practice of Universalist Christian faith
Thinking about the UUA staff cuts
I’ve heard two attitudes that see some good come out of the staff cuts. One which disagrees with the Washington Office — though others will be losing their jobs too — for political, policy reasons and another which thinks the Washington Office shouldn’t exist for polity reasons. I have no sympathy for either argument. The work of the Washington Office comes from decisions, democratically-made, and rejoicing it its loss for financial reasons is cynical and anti-democratic. Also, we’re not in the seventeenth century and the polity reflects centuries of development. Praising this loss as a triumph for an atavistic view of mutual relations is ideologically twisted, and (again) anti-democratic.
Not to mention these are the livelihoods of people who have served loyally.
Before people start clinking their tongues about how expensive the UUA is to run, I’ve always thought — based on job listings — that the staff was underpaid. It will be hard to recover that capacity should the economy improve.
That said, I would be more convinced by UUA President Peter Morales’s upbeat announcement about staff restructuring if (1) it came apart from the staff cut announcement and (2) if this wasn’t a well-worn path for institutions in trouble.
Would be nice to take down the Washington office job listing.
So the Washington office space is staying open. Lemonade from lemons, I suspect — hoping for times to get better before the lease runs out, perhaps? (And breaking the lease, plus relocating the UUSC and Holdeen India staff, might be impractical.) The Washington office at 1100 G St, N.W. is in a good location but is Class B. Not terribly expensive (and I doubt the UUA paid $48 a square foot when it moved) and might be a desirable sublet — should it come to that — for a downsizing group. That’s becoming common here.
The Universalist historian in me thinks, “oh no, not again.”
Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.
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