Board Buzz: Money Matters

Board Buzz: Money Matters

The Board has been busy with setting goals, forming mutual agreements on how we will govern, reviewing the budget and reviewing suggestions for changes to the Bylaws.

Recently, the major focus has been on the budget. The Town Halls were well attended and folks asked good questions. The Congregation will vote on the 2023 calendar year budget on December 4 at the Congregational meeting. There will also be a vote on a Bylaws amendment to make the number of Board members a bit more flexible, along with the quorum needed to hold a meeting. Hope to see you all there.

The Budget Committee has been meeting at least twice a month since September to bring what we feel are the best numbers that support staff and minimize the amount of money to be drawn from the Endowment fund. The goal for pledges from members and friends is ambitious but we are beginning a new chapter at East Shore and hope you all will consider supporting the budget goals.

A large determinant for the needed Endowment draws is a lack of an operating reserve. Over the past few years there have been a number of unbudgeted expenses – Holly House sale attorney fees, various costs associated with the changing of ministerial staff and transitions, consultant fees and building maintenance costs, all of which have depleted the operating fund cash balance.

We hope to create a long term reserve plans for operating, facility maintenance and ministerial expenses so the Endowment fund can be stabilized, yet available for expenses when needed. A wonderful goal would be to grow the fund so all major facility expenses could be covered by the gain on the funds. That would however require substantial fresh deposits to the fund. While we want our congregants to be around for a long time, it would be great if many of you include a designated donation to the Endowment fund in your trust or will.

by Geri Kennedy, Board Treasurer

Your ESUC Nominating Committee Needs Your Help

Your ESUC Nominating Committee Needs Your Help

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou

In June 2023, ESUC members will be electing a new slate of Board members and Nominating Committee members. These members are charged with guiding and leading our congregation, as we live our UU and ESUC values. The Nominating Committee is asking you, the members of ESUC, to nominate people you feel have the qualities, skills and commitment to lead us.

We are embarking on an exciting path with our new minister, Reverend Maria Cristina. We are seeing a renewed energy in our community and combined with our need to be together after years of Covid isolation. If you know of someone who would be willing to serve our loving community, please let us know. And if you feel you are that person with the giving heart and spirit, please nominate yourself.

For more information, please look over the volunteer descriptions in the link below. These descriptions will give you an idea of the position and time commitments. We have also included a link to our nominating forms.

Volunteer Position Description link:
Job Descriptions

The Nominating Forms:
Self-nominating
Nominating Someone

If you would like to send something directly to the Nominating Committee, please email us at [email protected] Or contact any member of the Nominating Committee: Ryam Hill (chair), Marcy Langrock, Bill Carlstrom, Elaine Cox and Beth Wilson, with David Langrock as our Board liaison. Any or all of us are more than happy to answer questions you may have about the process or the opportunities available.

2022 Church Goals

2022 Church Goals

At its October 25 meeting, the Board of Trustees endorsed adoption of three major church goals for 2023. In accordance with East Shore’s Policies, the goals must be presented to the congregation for comment before the Board can consider final adoption. Your feedback is needed.

The goals follow, but this listing and brief explanation do not present a complete rationale as to why each goal was chosen or to provide suggested ways on how to move forward. The goals are rich, complete, and created with great intention. You can see the full document here.

The Goals

Establish or deepen a relationship with at least one local organization serving the LGBTQ+ communities. It has been nearly 20 years since East Shore engaged in all-congregational work on LGBTQ+ justice and became a Welcoming Congregation. Progress has been made, but recent political and cultural threats reaffirm the need to take greater action.

Intentionally apply a multicultural, anti-racist approach and lens in all ministry team activities, program development, and other aspects of congregational life. In this first year of the goal, the focus will be on welcoming, membership, worship, and RE to create a community where all people are welcomed as blessings and the human family lives whole and reconciled.

Intentionally create pathways that support current and future leaders to develop leadership skills in all aspects/areas of the church. Current and aspiring leaders should have an opportunity to hone leadership skills unique to East Shore and Unitarian Universalism.

You are invited to review and comment on the goals. Please send your feedback to Mary Anderson no later than November 6. All comments will be forwarded to the Board for its consideration at their November meeting. Following ratification, the goals above will replace the prior year’s goals in Policy 1. GOALS.

by Mary Anderson & Ann Carlstrom

Board Buzz: What Can I Do?

Board Buzz: What Can I Do?

Have you ever asked yourself, what can I be doing better, doing more of, doing differently that will really feel right and gratifying? Have you ever asked yourself, what could I be doing that energizes me, gets me going, challenges me, and makes me grow? Engaging with this church, with its mission and congregation, has made me ask myself these questions. Sometimes in worship, sometimes in studying, and sometimes just doing volunteer work, I have one of these UU moments: moments when I am struck by how deeply I believe in something; moments that make me — drive me — to ask myself, what is the best possible thing I can do, right here, right now, for what I believe in most?

I speak from experience when I say that volunteering at East Shore — for a committee, like the Nominating Committee, or for a ministry, like R.E. — is one of the most gratifying experiences life has to offer. These special UU moments convey a special feeling – a feeling that there’s a way to work towards a truly deeper reward, a reward that nourishes you, that challenges you, to do better, to do differently, to do something — even something small — that makes this world a better place.

East Shore is a vessel that holds and carries our mission forward. And our mission is love, is justice, is taking care of this world, our world, and the children who are the promise of the future. Know that this institution, this community, needs you. Both the mission and the vessel that carries it, deserve your time, your energy, and your commitment at whatever level you of which you are capable.

I’ve been striving to embrace this mission, the life of this church, for a decade or more. My work as a volunteer has drawn me in, nourished me, and helped me to discern what I can do, here and now, that will make a real difference. I’ve volunteered in many ways, from brewing coffee to leading the Family Covenant Circle, and now I serve on your Board of Trustees. The deeper I look, the more I see. After all this time, my curiosity has only grown.

Even when I’m tired, or frustrated, or have other problems to worry about, I remember that East Shore, with this mission — to promote racial, economic and environmental justice — is a wellspring of opportunity. It is an opportunity for all of us to channel our energy, our conviction that through love, through community, you can make a difference, you can be of service, and at the same time, be nourished and appreciated.

So ask yourself: what can I be doing better, what can I be doing more, to make this world the best it can be, both for this community, here and now, and for all beings, for generations to come? I invite you, personally, to contact me. Talk to me, to any member of the Board, to Rev. María Cristina, to Nicole Duff, or to any member of the Nominating Committee, about how you might volunteer and what you might be interested in. I promise you we will listen to you, we will hear your passion, try to discern your skills and limits, and suggest one of the many terrific ways East Shore could put your talents to work. Your future is calling.

by Martin Cox, Trustee

Get Your Budget Bearings!

Get Your Budget Bearings!

At our Annual Congregational Business Meeting this past June, two significant things were approved – we voted to change the church’s fiscal year and we passed a budget following a rather difficult budget cycle. In response to problems that surfaced during this past spring’s budget cycle, the Board’s Policy and Governance (P&G) Committee undertook a thorough evaluation of our budgeting process. In this article let’s look at what these changes are and how they affect our 2023 budget and beyond.

Fiscal Year Change

Formerly our fiscal year matched our program year (July – June) and now matches the calendar year (January- December) beginning January 1, 2023. Many of the technical changes this shift requires have already been accomplished by our able staff. With the fiscal year change, the Board of Trustees needs to present a budget covering all of 2023 before the end of 2022.

Our Budget Process

Those involved agree that the budgeting process this past spring was awkward. A look at our process, starting with the policies and bylaws that govern how our budget is built, was initiated by the P&G Committee. A P&G Task Force comprised of Grace Colton, Lori Saccardi and Mary Anderson met through the summer with the goal of forming a more inclusive and transparent budget process as described in a newly created interim charter. Five areas of concern were identified:

  1. Per the church bylaws, the Board of Trustees (BOT) holds the fiscal responsibility of the congregation/church. Therefore, the group that creates the budget should be a “committee” under the direction of the BOT.

An interim charter, ratifying an Interim Budget Committee, was passed by the Board to cover a shortened budget cycle (September 2022-December 2022).

  1. A church’s budget is a moral document and reflection of its mission, not simply a financial plan. It should be created through a collaborative process which includes mission centric as well as financially-focused constituencies and representation.

The Interim Budget Committee Charter lists a six-member BOT Committee comprised of the Minister, Director of Finance Operations, Board Treasurer, Financial Stewardship Committee Chair, a second Board Member, and member of the newly formed Committee on Ministry. This group has been meeting regularly since September and has held two Town Halls to present progress to date, answer questions, and receive your input. More Town Halls are planned.

  1. It is recognized that Budget Committee members may have conflicts of interest when making budgeting decisions.

The Interim Budget Committee Charter outlines how to deal with a conflict of interest, and how to address issues that are not resolved within the Budget Committee (such as a tie vote).

  1. Continuity of constituency representation on the Committee needs to be assured.

Budget Committee members are required to attend all meetings. If a member misses two meetings, the Board will appoint a permanent replacement from within the constituency that member represents (e.g., Board member to be replaced by Board member, SLT by SLT, etc). This will help keep communications clear and the process transparent.

  1. Due to the recommended changes described above, an Interim Budget Committee and Charter were created. However, they do not comply with existing East Shore policy 2.10 (no bylaws are affected by the interim changes). This policy was suspended by the BOT for this interim period as allowed in policy 7.6 when there are crucial time-sensitive circumstances.

This suspension was done as the time to complete a full 2023 budget was brief and the budget process needed the revisions noted above. Please be assured that the adopted interim charter contains most elements of policy 2.10. Most importantly, this newly created Budget Committee, its charter, and policy 2.10 will be fully evaluated early in 2023, resulting in an updated policy and charter in time for the 2024 budget cycle to take place in late 2023.

For a full look at Policy 2.10 click here. Take a look at the Interim Budget Committee Charter here.

What Happens Next?

Funding the proposed 2023 budget. As you will recall, we made pledges to cover the first half of 2023. These pledges do not cover the second half of 2023. Early in 2023, an abbreviated Mission Fund Drive will be held to provide for the second half of the year, which is how we will contribute toward the entire fiscal year 2023. (We will continue to depend on other revenue sources.) Toward the end of next year, the Mission Fund Drive will align with the new fiscal year.

Your feedback will continue to be crucial as we move forward. The Budget Committee is using an “extended replacement” strategy to fund all of 2023. The budget we approved in June of this year (covering the first half of 2023 as approved by the congregation) is foundational to the full 2023 budget. Town Halls have already been held for your comments. With your feedback, a second round of Budget Town Halls is scheduled for November 6 and 7. Please check the church calendar for details.

Look for more on goal-setting and long-term planning in the coming months. Our annual church budget must reflect the needs and long-term goals of our congregation. It is important that ALL areas of our church engage in long-term planning and goal setting. This will allow us to look 5-10 years into the future and then fund the annual “bites” that will allow us to attain those goals.

Budget constraints will continue to be a challenge. Due to our generosity, we can fund current needs without deep dives into our Endowment Fund as in the recent past (again, we will continue to rely on some endowment funding). This was due not only to increased pledges (thank you!), but also to one-time-only gifts. Our financial picture was not changed in the long term. Again, look for more on goal-setting and long-term planning.

If you have questions about anything you’ve read, please contact a member of the P&G Task Force: Grace Colton, Lori Saccardi, or Mary Anderson.

by Mary Anderson, Policy & Governance Committee

Get Your Budget Bearings!

Updated Information for Member Meetings (and Renters)

Hello, my friends.  As many of you know, we now only have one caretaker to cover all the cleaning, maintenance, and repairs on this large campus. While Celil is a wonder and always willing to assist, the huge volume of work doesn’t allow him to do everything we were accustomed to when we had a second caretaker.  As many groups are returning to meet onsite, I am sending a reminder that you are responsible to set up and tear-down your own events.  Sadly, I did not get any responses following my July Beacon article asking for volunteers to form a set-up team we can call on, but my dream is to have a group of members who are willing to help out occasionally. I would be very happy to hear from any of you who would like to volunteer for the “dream team” of set-up volunteers.  I do want to express my appreciation to all of you who kindly stepped up for Salmon Bake and for the Totem Pole event. We are very grateful to you for offering your time and helping to make the events extra special.

Meeting Set-up/Tear-down Procedures:

  • Complete the Member Room Reservation form, on our ESUC website. Under Additional Comments and Questions, include which types of tables you would like, and you will be informed where to locate them prior to your meeting.  Also note if you would like a TV cart for your meeting.  The carts are first come/first served, so submit your requests early. Instructions for use are located on the carts.  You must bring your own laptop to connect.
  • At the end of your meeting/event, please return the room to its original arrangement.
  • If you have used one of our kitchens, please wash and put away dishes and utensils, including emptying the dishwasher.
  • Wipe tables and counters and clean debris out of sinks.
  • Make sure coffee pots are cleaned and coffee grounds removed.
  • Brooms or vacuum cleaners are located in each space so that your group can tidy up messes.

Many thanks for your cooperation. Contact [email protected] with additional questions or updates.

by Dianne Upton, Facilities Manager