Mass Bay District Congregations Vote to Dissolve the District.
Last month I explained that this year’s Mass Bay District (MBD) annual meeting was focused on the proposal to dissolve the District. As I described, the four New England Districts had come under the umbrella of the New England Region with the Reverend Sue Phillips serving as the regional lead and were sharing resources – and most importantly staff – across the six states.
At the April 23 meeting 22 member congregations with 45 voting delegates voted to dissolve the District. The dissolution begins with filing documents with the appropriate government authorities. The staff and assets of the District are absorbed into the New England Region which is officially part of the UUA. The Districts have been moving in this direction for several years and this vote just made it “official”. In speaking about regionalization, one minister mentioned his collaboration with neighboring towns’ UU churches which were technically in the Clara Barton District; Quincy is in the MBD but partners with Weymouth in the Ballou Channing District. District boundaries may have made sense 50 years ago, but no longer serve us well.
The issue that fueled the most discussion centered around the assets of the Woburn Fund which was created when the Woburn Unitarian church dissolved and generously gave their assets to the MBD to be used to assist other churches with growth and development needs. For over 20 years congregations in the District have been benefitting from grants from the Fund including our own MUUC. Michael O. advocated for keeping the Fund for (former) MBD congregations as the Woburn church directed, and there was a lively discussion, but ultimately the Board and delegates did not support this with an affirmative vote. Grants will continue to be made, but once the District is officially dissolved churches within the entire Region will be eligible to receive funding.