Yesterday, the Rev. Derek Parker wrote me yesterday morning about the UUA.org front page, and he mentioned that if I wanted to put it up on the blog, I may. It was a variation on that minor annoyance which sends a bad message about the UUA: President Bill Sinkford’s overexporsure on the first page of the association’s web. Had it stayed at that, I think I would have declined because we’d touched on this before.
A comment by uuwonk prompted me to follow-through. He wrote about the perception rank-and-file Unitarian Universalists have of the UUA administration. With that in mind, I give you our quest writer.
Yes, on World AIDS day, Bill Sinkford has charted new ground on the UUA web-page. Featuring what he is heroically doing. Oh and yes… what UU congregations are doing as an after thought. Or perhaps what UU congregations “do”, is done vicariously through Bill Sinkford?
Don’t you think it would be better use of web-space if the article was an in-depth feature about UU congregational ministries involving AIDS? Or perhaps an article about a UU chaplain who ministers in an AIDS related charity or non-profit?
Nothing says integrity like advancing your personal publicity via a global tragedy. I believe Jesus had something to say about folks who pray on street corners in order to be seen. Truly, they have already enjoyed their reward.
The unintended effect is making the UUA (as a religious fellowship) look smaller than it is. It also makes the press office look bad. Sorry, that’s how I read it.
Right on, Derek. This is why I don’t look to uua.org for any information about congregational life, which pretty much says it all. I know that I’m going to find the latest photo op of Bill S. looking sincere and caring on the front steps with this or that policy person, and never, as Derek suggests about the ministries within our movement.
I also wonder about the message of vicarious virtue that the HQ is sending out with all these Bill Sinkford photos. I don’t need the UUA president making appearances here and there in order to feel we’re *doing something.* In my opinion, the HQ employees (I refuse to call them “the UUA”) ought to be in the background providing services to the member congregations (who are TRULY the UUA), and taking pictures of THEM *doing something.*
Personally, I think that any PR for Unitarian Universalism that Bill Sinkford can generate by trips and photo ops is good for UUism as a whole by giving us broader exposure. My guess is that, to the press (at least the national press), what the head of the UUA does is more newsworthy that what individuals or congregations do.
OK, Paul, I hadn’t thought of that. But this is the only news reference to Bill Sinkford on Google News I found, so if it is the goal it isn’t working. Warning: audio attack.
Then Bill needs to turn up his PR machine a notch :)