A Message from the Board President

by Tom Doe, Board President

As I write this note for the Beacon, I have just realized it’s only been a little over three weeks since you, the East Shore congregation, elected me to be the President of your Board of Trustees. Seems like much longer than that! I will admit that I took this job somewhat reluctantly, and like many of you I have had my share of dark moments over the past three years. But as I write this today, I am feeling an appreciation of Rev. Dr. Elaine Peresluha’s ministry and Jack Slowriver’s past-presidency as well as a very strong sense of optimism for our incoming minister Rev. Dr. Stephen Furrer.

The Board of Trustees normally plans a single retreat to plan the upcoming year and develop the bonds that will sustain the trustees’ working relationship together. Because of uncertainty in the arrival date of our minister, we’ve planned two retreats, and the first will occur on July 22. We are still working on our agenda for the retreat, but I’m hoping to put in discussion of some issues that face us moving forward. So far these are my own, incomplete, and I list them not necessarily in order of importance.

  • Communication: in this time of rapidly evolving social media and abuse of phone calls and email by spammers, how do we effectively reach our members?
  • Volunteer work of the church: a number of our essential committees have been chronically understaffed with volunteers, and too often multiple committees are being staffed by the same people (bless their souls). How can we do the work of our committees more efficiently, perhaps using web meetings and other technology to make it easier to participate in this time when traffic is making it increasingly difficult to show up at the church physically? How do we make the volunteer work of our church satisfying and fulfilling?
  • Funding our church: how do we make an effective transition from the traditional operating fund drive to the 12 month canvass? I strongly believe that the best fundraising strategy is simply to do the church’s job (and make sure people know it!). If this church is providing spiritual growth and changing lives I am confident the money will follow.
  • Creating community: some of our community building activities like extended families and covenant circles have been very successful but they still reach only a portion of our congregation. How do we create an effective community building experience for every member of our church?
  • Social and racial justice: social and racial justice are rightly core to our mission and vision. How do we make all members of our church (and our greater society) feel safe, welcome, valued, and unimpeded in their quest to become the best persons they can be? How do we open our eyes to acknowledge the injustices of the present and past to create a common vision of justice for the future?
  • Church of the future: How do we build the church of the future attracting younger people, diverse people, and families with children while meeting the needs of the long-term members who’ve been the bedrock of this church? I am very confident that the values of Unitarian Universalism are what people need and what many people are looking for.
  • Creating Ends: Ends are the goals that we create for ourselves and use to evaluate both staff and Board performance. They are officially part of our Policies. For the past two years the board has set these at our retreat. Is there a way to involve and get buy in on these from the entire membership?
  • Add your bullet here: the Board would love to hear what you think is important and will help us make East Shore a church that changes our lives and helps to make a significant impact on our planet.

Please know that you are welcome to contact Board members — including and especially me — at any time with any concern about your church. Your Board of Trustees looks forward to working with all of you to fulfill our mission and vision over the coming two years.