President’s Report: January 2019

Happy New Year to the East Shore community! After chilling through the holidays including our lovely Christmas Eve services, there is definitely a feeling of rolling up our sleeves for a very busy first quarter of the new year. The congregational meeting to decide our path forward with Holly House is scheduled for Sunday, March 24. Our church owes a considerable debt of gratitude to the current Task Force, under Linda Freeburg’s chairpersonship, as well as to the previous task forces which were led by Bob Weiss and Marcy Langrock, which have brought us up to this point. This has been quite a road traveled! The details of informational meetings and voting materials are still under construction but will be very clear by the publication of our next Beacon.

Despite the impending holidays, our December Board meeting was very productive not only on the Holly House front, but also addressing issues of Right Relations, church goals, and our lay leadership.

Last month, my Beacon article included a list of the Board Goals. At our December meeting we completed a table which assigned for each goal a responsible staff member, lay team, and Board member to provide oversight. Over the next few weeks we will be working with staff members and lay teams to define strategies and measures for achieving our goals. We will continue to involve the congregation as a whole in the church goals and encourage everyone to take ownership of these worthy objectives.  I should be able to include that table the next Beacon.

The Board heard a presentation from Connie Hirnle, our Nominating Committee Chair, on the nomination process and their timetable for completing the slates of Board and Nominating Committee candidates for our June annual meeting. The Nominating Committee is also working with Board members Dennis Fleck and Jerry Bushnell to propose candidates for our open board position. Their priority in filling this position would be a candidate who increases the diversity of the board and represents our families with RE children. The Board hopes to have one or more names to consider at our January 15 meeting.

The Board approved the proposal from the Right Relations committee to continue funding Pam Orbach’s restorative justice work with our church.  The proposal essentially approves a retainer for $20,000 for her work, and it will be funded from general reserves. The Board will be asking our heart-working Right Relations team for a plan prioritizing Pam’s work. We expect it will include diversity-awareness work with the Board. Despite some initial skepticism on my own part regarding restorative justice, I was personally convinced by several testimonies that I heard in a post-service meeting (including one by Jack Slowriver), as well as by emails from several members. I also reflected on how valuable restorative justice methods could have been in resolving some of the differences we experienced in the last few years.

This Saturday, January 5, the Board will be meeting with Rev. Tandi Rogers, our UUA contact, in a workshop typically associated with ministerial startups. Attending will be Board members and chairs of Board committees. We expect to be following this workshop up with a visit by Rev. Rogers in our pulpit with all congregation discussion on our relations to the denomination. The workshop will address such issues as developmental ministry goals. 

With respect to fundraising, Board members have been reaching out to those who have yet to pledge for the current financial year. Please respond to their appeals if you have not pledged already. With respect to the 2019-2020 church year, I have been meeting with Rev. Steve Furrer and Nicole Duff, and we have been mapping out a strategy for our fundraising. Expect to see more on this in email blasts over the next couple weeks.

Finally, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the efforts of two leaders who have stepped down in the past few months. Grace Colton has done a splendid job with our Personnel Committee, and she will be succeeded by Sheridan Botts. Ruth Edwards is stepping down as our archivist, and she is leaving very big shoes to fill. That position is still open. Please contact Nicole Duff or a Board member, if you are interested.