Board Buzz: From the President – July 2019

by Dennis Fleck, Board President

This is my first article after having the honor of being installed as your new Board President. I would like to thank our outgoing Board members, Sara Brannman completing a one-year Trustee term, Lee Dorigan a three-year Trustee term, David Baumgart four-years as our Secretary, and Tom Doe four-years including this past year as our President. Tom leaves large shoes to fill as he has mightily led us through a ministry change, the decision reached by the congregation on the Holly House sale and a litany of additional tasks.

Normally, I would be writing on behalf of your Board. However, the first thoughts I’m sharing are mine as an individual, and do not reflect the position of the Board. Following are some things I would like our Board to consider:

  • In Policy Based Governance, the Board sets goals and the staff (under the direction of our Staff Leadership Team (SLT) comprised of Rev. Steve Furrer, Aisha Hauser, and Jason Puracal) are responsible for actions to meet the goals. Might it make sense to shift our approach to Policy Based Governance a bit to deploy it in a manner that makes better use of congregation resources? What if we looked to our staff to meet the goals by more closely working with and through our various ministry teams and committees? Would this lead to enhanced congregation engagement, more value received from being a member of East Shore, and development of future leaders?
  • Rev. Steve has spent the past year listening, observing and mentoring. How can the Board best support Steve as he implements his Developmental Ministry Plan?
  • What can we do differently to assure all voices are heard – the more inclusive we are, the better we can be as we learn from the experiences of others with different backgrounds.
  • While the congregation approved a budget of just under $1.3M for the year 2019-2020, what direction might the Board provide to our SLT regarding funds expenditures given we are still around $40K below the budgeted pledge amount in the approved budget?
  • Each of us has a role in growing the church – not just our staff and/or Board. How can we better engage our congregation in developing the strategies that will be used to grow our church.

Board Appointments

Your Board met on June 25 for our monthly meeting – a week later than normal due to participation at GA last week. We had a very full agenda. I am pleased to announce that the Board appointed Clare Sherley to the open three-year Trustee position. Additionally, the Board appointed Martin Cox to a one-year position as Chair of the Nominating Committee. These appointments are in accordance with our bylaws. We appreciate the leadership roles that Clare and Martin are accepting and value the input and direction they will be providing.

Since Martin has transitioned from a 2-year term on the Nominating Committee to Chair, we now have an opening for the second year of Martin’s term on the Nominating Committee. In accordance with our bylaws, this will be a Board appointment. If you know somebody you would like the Board to consider, or would like to submit yourself for consideration, please let any Board member know.

Update on Office Assistant Position

The budget approved by the congregation on June 9 includes a half-time Administrative person. Filling this position will allow Nicole to be 100% focused on Membership/Marketing and Amanda to be 100% focused on RE/LLL. In order to grow, we need to allow Nicole and Amanda to focus their efforts on Membership/Marketing and RE/LLL. During the Board meeting, your Staff Leadership Team (SLT) and the Board decided to try to save some money by filling the Administrative position with church volunteers. Currently, June Coghlan, Wenda Collins, Ryam Hill, and Aimee Woolwine are providing office volunteer support. The additional help would be needed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 10:00-4:00 and on Thursday from 10:00-1:00.

The required tasks include getting and sorting the mail, answering phones, greeting visitors and directing them, printing labels, helping people with the copier, helping staff with filing, keeping track of the lost & found and pony express (reminding people to pick up items), and helping staff with other items.

If you are willing to help the church by committing to supporting some of the times needed, please contact Nicole (membership@esuc.org) and copy me (dennisfleck@ieee.org) so that we can collectively provide the Administrative support needed to operate the church without needing to hire an additional employee. I hope you will be able to help fill this need with volunteer support.

Listening Session: Saturday, July 6, 10:00 a.m.

The Board will be holding its monthly listening session on Saturday, July 6 from 10:00-12:00. Please come to share your thoughts with the Board as we want to listen. We will not have a listening circle in August as the Board will be holding a retreat on August 2 and 3.

Holly House Sale Update

At the March 24 Congregational Meeting, the congregation voted to sell to a market–rate developer and to allocate approximately $900K of the sale proceeds to Earth and Social Justice. At our June Board meeting, the Board decided that the next step should be to determine what would be the best process for the congregation to use to determine how to allocate the funds committed to Earth and Social Justice. We need to solicit input from throughout our congregation as there are multiple options regarding potential processes. In order to hear all the potential options, and work toward the selection of a process (or multiple processes) to use, there will be listening circle opportunities to bring forth ideas. Once a process(es) has been determined, then that process will be utilized to allocate the funds for Earth and Social Justice. Watch for information on these opportunities in the weeks to come.

Mission Fund Drive Update

The update on our Mission Fund Drive is that we have received pledge cards from 206 of our 315 pledging units. Currently our pledges are at about $575,000 and we anxiously await receiving pledge cards from the remaining 109 who have yet to pledge.

The Power of We: General Assembly 2019

I attended GA last week along with 32 others from East Shore. I had the opportunity to see former East Shore ministers Joan Montagnes and Barbara ten Hove (Wells), along with Barbara’s husband, Jaco. It was great to see them. The theme for GA was “The Power of We” and how we can be so much more impactful working together instead of individually. I attended many learning sessions, heard amazing speakers, attended several religious services and returned invigorated and exhausted. Getting back to “The Power of We”….. I believe that many of us feel the Presidential election next year will be extremely important. At GA, there was talk of “UUing the Election”. My take-away was that just voting for my candidate of choice next year will probably not be sufficient to see the outcome I want. I’ve been thinking about what else can I do to get my preferred candidate elected. Might it make sense to spend time in a swing state helping to get folks registered to vote, or knocking on doors to promote my candidate of choice? What can I do within my church community to help drive the election outcome that I want  – “UUing the Election”? What can I do with others (non-UUs) to help assure the outcome I want? Again,  “The Power of We.” Might my “Power of We” actions with non-UUs help show my friends what UUs are about and encourage them to check us out and hopefully join East Shore? Lots of food for thought.

I am honored that you have asked me to serve on your behalf. I value your input, and look forward to hearing from you as we collectively navigate our new church year. 

Yours in Faith, Dennis