On Rev. Morales' campaign website, he bemoans the fact that the UUA's numbers are down for the first time since the early 1990's.
This MUST serve as a wakeup call, he declares.
First off, the decline of 74 people that Morales is so hot to turn into a campaign issue isn't even statistically significant.
Secondly, a quick jaunt by UUA data services reveals that Morales' home church, which had 775 members last year, now has 764. So the entire UUA's loss in membership would have been about fifteen percent less if he'd held on to the people in his own church.
Now there's a wakeup call.
Do I think a difference of nine people in a 750+ member church means anything? No, I don't. People die, people move away, people get busy at work, people marry observant jews and convert, people forget to pledge and get dropped off the rolls*, people get divorced and feel weird going to church with their ex-spouses. This stuff happens.
The thing is, it happens on a national scale, too. I certainly don't see a loss of 75 people meaning anything much in a national organization of hundreds of thousands.
Everything I read from the Reverend Morales sounds like a marketing appeal, this new letter especially. He is currently using this loss of 74 people as an emergency that calls for marketing as a solution.
I don't believe him. I don't want a marketer, I want a minister.
And Laurel Hallman is the minister I want.
*As an aside, two of the three UU congregations I've been involved with have required a financial commitment for membership. This makes me wonder how often "Bob loses his job. He could pledge some, but can't afford to pledge what he could last year. Embarassed, he throws his pledge card away rather than submitting it with a reduced amount. He keeps attending, and even throws cash in the collection plate, but is dropped from the pledge rolls." has played itself out in our congregations. I know it has happened at least once because I've been Bob. I suspect that in these tough economic times it has happened quite a bit. Indeed, I bet you it has happened more than 74 times in the last year.