Board of Trustees Update, January 10, 2016

Jan 12, 2016 | News

We have updated the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) as of January 10, 2016.  Please feel free to contact Board members with questions you may have, or email Beth Wilson (Board President).

Frequently Asked Questions Around East Shore
Revised January 10, 2016
Board of Trustees

Much has been changing rapidly over the last few months, and we’ve put together some frequently asked questions to help keep you updated. Despite our current transition, East Shore remains a strong and caring community. The Board, staff, and numerous volunteers have been working effectively together to keep things running smoothly, and the way we’ve pulled together as a congregation has been truly impressive. You are wel-come to contact any Board member with questions or concerns you may have – we are here to listen.

1.  Who is our new Interim Minister?

Rev. Dr. Elaine Peresluha!!!! The Board has approved and signed a contract with Elaine and her start date is April 25th. She will be visiting East Shore the weekend of January 22-24 and will be preaching the sermon at the Sunday service on the 24th. She will also be attending the OFD event on the evening of Sat, 1/23, as well as meeting with several teams at East Shore to prepare for her arrival in April. We hope that everyone who wants to will have the opportunity to meet and welcome her to East Shore. We are very excited to have her help in clarifying our vision and direction at East Shore and helping us pre-pare for our next settled minister!

Here is a brief bio provided by Elaine:

Rev. Dr. Elaine Beth Peresluha is an Accredited Interim Minister. Her work is to enhance institutional vitality through creative relational responses to organizational development. She has served interim ministries with The First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, WI; First Parish in Concord, MA; South Church in Portsmouth, NH; and The U.U. Fellowship of Wilmington, NC. Elaine has also served settled ministries with The North Universalist Chapel Society in Woodstock, VT and the U.U. Society of Bangor in Bangor, Maine. She earned her PhD in Social Sciences through the Taos Institute and the University of Til-burg in the Netherlands.

I will also add that she has a very sweet dog named Gussie and she enjoys skiing:-)

2. How is the revised budget looking?

Great! The ESUC congregation unanimously approved the revised 2015-2016 budget at our recent congregational meeting on 10/25/15. A detailed budget can be found in the Administration Building or emailed to you if you wish:-)
The Budget Team has begun working on next year’s budget and we have been discuss-ing priorities and various scenarios for the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget. The team con-sists of 2 members from the Board, 2 from the Finance Team, and 2 from the Staff Lead-ership team. We are also asking for input from various East Shore groups and commit-tees as well as talking to outside congregations about expenses such as our expected search for a new settled minister.  We’ll be watching the Operating Fund Drive as is pro-ceeds and adjusting scenarios according to expected income. The team will again host town halls and other modes of communication to keep members abreast of the develop-ing budget while incorporating input from members.

3.  What is the current staffing status?

Staffing has been stabilized in the last few months and is relatively solid. Nicole Den-man, our Communications and Membership Manager has been increased to full time and we have a new full time caretaker, Chris Gower. Marie Zahrahdnik, our Youth Pro-grams Coordinator, has had to step away from her role due to her increasingly demand-ing schooling, but Aisha has hired a new Coordinator who will be announced very short-ly.

4. What is the Interim Transition Team?

The Board is in the process of appointing an Interim Transition Team and hopes to have the members finalized in the next few weeks. This team will work closely with Rev. Peresluha to help her be most effective in her role at East Shore.

This is an excerpt from Transition Ministry Handbook published by the UUA:

“Interim ministers bring a consultant’s approach and a consultant’s skills—and need the access and assistance that will make their ministry as effective as possible. Thus interim ministers need full access to several years of financial and stewardship information, in-cluding pledges made and pledges paid. They need, too, a Transition Team: five to seven members who are widely known and respected and well acquainted with the congrega-tion’s history. Their role is to provide the Interim Minister with insight, organizational and facilitative talent, and willing hands as the ministry proceeds. Because the Transition Team is an interim minister’s brain trust, it would be inappropriate for any member of the Team to have served on the Committee on Ministry during the previous ministry or to be in relationship with a current member of the governing board. During the interim period any existing Committee on Ministry should thus be suspended. The Transition Team’s first duty is to set up early meetings between the interim minister and important congre-gational leaders: every member of the governing board, every committee chair, every other person the Transition Team views as a leader, and every paid staff member—as well as the Ministerial Search Committee (if yet formed) and the Transition Team itself.

5.  What will we do until the Interim Minister arrives?

The Board of Trustees has been working closely with the committees and ministry teams at East Shore. The Worship Team, in particular, has been working hard to plan high quality services through the fall and winter until an interim is settled. The membership team is revitalized and is working closely with our new Communications and Member-ship Manager, Nicole Denman. Rev. Susan Morrison, our Minister of Pastoral Care, will be working with the Lay Pastoral Ministry Team to provide for the pastoral ministry needs of the congregation. The RE program continues to be strong and is led by Aisha Hauser. Social Justice programs continue to be overseen by the Social Justice Coordinating Council.  Aisha is also overseeing covenant circles and adult programs.

The Board of Trustees is currently serving as a working board, rather than a policy based board, to provide operational leadership. We have a strong team of staff, Ministry Teams, and Board Committees with which the Board will be working in close collaboration to keep the church running smoothly.

6. When will we begin the search process?  What is the timeline?

The Search Nominating Committee (per our bylaws) has begun its work and will be re-porting on their proposed process for selecting Search Committee members at our Con-gregational Meeting on January 24th. The Search Committee is likely to be chosen by Spring 2016 and will begin work in the summer.

The UUA has a suggested search process that the Search Nominating Committee will be tailoring for East Shore.  The current recommendations are that this committee will con-tact each and every member of East Shore and ask “Who would you trust to be on the Search Committee to find our next minister?” This will likely happen in early 2016. Names will be tallied, and the top 15 or so will be put to the congregation to find out who should be on the committee. The top 4 or so will be elected, and then the Search Nomi-nating Committee will appoint the remaining 3-4 members from the initial list of 15 in or-der to have a representative balance on the Search Committee. This method is highly recommended by the UUA, but may be refined by East Shore as needed. In addition, we will have the help of a Ministerial Settlement Representative from the Pacific Western Region and the support of the Transitions Team at the UUA.

The UUA has a very detailed timeline that we can use, but the key times are the for-mation of the Search Committee in early 2016, focusing efforts and soliciting congrega-tional input in summer and fall 2016, creating a packet of info about East Shore that pro-spective ministers can look at in the fall of 2016, identifying and narrowing the pool of prospective ministers in the winter of 2016/17, and finally narrowing down to one candi-date in the spring of 2017. If we can accomplish this and our offer is accepted, a new minister would start in the fall of 2017.

7.  What is going on with Holly House?  I keep hearing rumors….

The Board has convened a Holly House Task Force to gather information and identify options about how to most effectively use the Holly House property (the grey house at the back of East Shore’s campus). Currently, the house is leased to The Sophia Way at a reduced price for transitional housing for women in need. This arrangement is in effect until July, 2017.

Given East Shore’s current state of transition, it is difficult to know how the use of the property will fit with our future vision and mission. According to our bylaws, the property cannot be sold without a congregational vote, and no significant changes will be made without congregational input. The purpose of the task force is only to gather and analyze information, no decisions will be made without significant congregational discussion.

8.  And the Bookstore?  I hear it’s closed…

Yes. After several years of declining sales and activity, the chair of the Bookstore and ESUC staff recommended that we close the bookstore and use the space and volunteer resources in other ways. The Board approved the recommendation at our Oct meeting. Plans are in the works as to how to use most effectively the space in the Admin building and already it’s being used as a quieter option for coffee hour and a place for sign ups. We thank the many volunteers over the years who did such a wonderful job of running the Bookstore! Your valuable time and expertise kept it running long after other independent bookstores closed their doors:-)

9.  What can I do? How can I help?

This is definitely a time to step forward if you can. We need people who are willing to volunteer their talents on multiple levels.

In particular, we are looking for new members to join:

The Worship Team – tasked with creating the Sunday services until we have a     minister in place.  After that, the team will assist with services.

The Operating Fund Drive Committee – tasked with running this year’s
Operating Fund Drive, our annual pledge drive that is the primary source of
funding for East Shore.

The Finance Committee – tasked with assisting the Board and Director of
Finance and Operations in assuring sound financial processes, both short term     and long term.

And so many more volunteer opportunities! If you’d like to discuss where your energies might best fit, please talk with a Board member or contact Beth Wilson, the Board Presi-dent, at [email protected] for more details.

10. How is East Shore doing?

East Shore has demonstrated its resilience through our current transition and the ways in which we have pulled together in love and support for one another have been truly awesome. Despite a wide variety of emotional reactions to the recent changes, we have searched for ways to listen to each other and hold our sometimes disparate perspectives in a Beloved Community. Thanks to the hard work of members and staff, our programs are not just surviving, but are growing and improving. We have an exciting future ahead of us and we can’t wait to see what wonders unfold in the next few years!