OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION East Shore Congregational Meeting Sunday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m.

East Shore’s Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. A worship service at 10:00 a.m. precedes the Annual Meeting. Childcare for children 10 and younger will be available during the Annual Meeting.

Your participation is important. The Congregational Meeting is the ultimate authority within the church. As a free, liberal, religious community, we, the members, own the church. We have the responsibility and privilege of living our values. We elect our leaders and adopt our budget. We discuss and influence our policies and the direction of East Shore. The Annual Meeting gives shape and power to the fifth principle in Unitarian Universalism: the right of conscience and the use of democratic process. Our Bylaws mandate a quorum of 10% of the membership in order to conduct business. However, at this meeting, we’re seeking at least 25% of our membership (approximately 105 members) being present as the proposed budget includes using funds in excess of $100,000 from our endowment. Our Bylaws require a minimum of 25% of membership present to make financial decisions in excess of $100,000. 

In the links below you will find:

A copy of our detailed proposed budget will also be available for review in the church office starting Tuesday, May 28, 2019. In addition, the 2018 Annual Meeting minutes are available in the office and on the website. Individual hard copies are available on request. Biographies of the nominees for the Board and Nominating Committee are also available on the bulletin board in the North Room, in the office or at esuc.org.

The proposal to tap endowment earnings (not principal) for the 2019-2020 budget is one the Board has not taken lightly, even though we would restore that money with Holly House proceeds (pending congregational vote). Since taking this office, I have spent considerable time reviewing our membership and financial history. We have been falling in membership since the 2008 recession, and pledge totals were largely flat until 2015 when they began to drop as well. We have been able to maintain our facility and staff through increases in the average pledge (your generosity) and Jason Puracal’s management of our facility rentals. However, this trend has not been sustainable, and this is the year that unsustainability has become clear. 

Our Financial Stewardship committee’s and my own analysis shows we are undersized to our facility, and the path that best fulfills our mission and our faith is to make investments that will grow the church with a target of our 2008 size over the next 8-10 years. The Board has considered a budget balanced to expected pledge income, but it devastates our ability to function, likely leading to a self-reinforcing downward cycle of decreased programs and membership. We have the resources to invest in growth, and the investment is not a major portion of our financial resources. 

A complete discussion of the financial strategy is beyond the scope of this letter. For more information the Board will provide the following:

  • Saturday Morning Conversation, June 1, at 9:00 a.m. in E-201
  • Budget Town Hall, Sunday, June 2, at 11:30 a.m. in M-108
  • Budget Town Hall, Monday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary
  • Distribute a webinar for viewing at home (see video below!)
  • President’s Report in the June Beacon

You are also welcome to contact me or other Board members directly.

I will be stepping out of leadership after this meeting. It has been an honor to serve this church this past year.

Warmly,

Tom Doe President, Board of Trustees

Board 2019-20 Budget Recommendation Video

We would appreciate you taking 15 minutes to watch this video your Board leadership has put together to prepare you for the budget hearing and the congregational meeting. This video explains in more detail the budget proposed by the Board. Questions and comments about the budget can be discussed at the upcoming conversations and town halls.