President’s Report: March 2019

by Tom Doe, Board President

My February Beacon article on Board activities focuses on our upcoming Holly House vote and our upcoming Mission Fund Drive.

Holly House Vote

As I write this, I am reminded we are one month away from the vote on developing the Holly House property. That vote is scheduled for a congregational meeting on (most likely) March 24. The vote will decide whether to sell Holly House at market rate or sell it to an affordable housing developer. An important part of the discussion will be the use of proceeds ranging from keeping the money in reserve, supporting social justice work (including investing in other organizations’ affordable housing projects if we choose market rate), and bolstering church programs. The Dream Big initiative has compiled some possible uses.

THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT VOTE. PLEASE PLAN TO BE THERE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

The major topic for the February Board meeting was whether or not the Board would make a recommendation to the congregation on the voting outcome. In the past, several Board members felt we had the fiduciary and leadership responsibility to assess what we feel is in the best interest of the church. The discussion did not focus on what the recommendation would be, and the Board has scheduled an out-of-cycle meeting.

In making a Board recommendation, we discussed policy requirements the Board “speak with one voice.” That is, when the Board makes a decision all Board members including the ex officio nonvoting staff members, will support the decision. With respect to the Holly House choices, I do not know the preferences of the Board members, though I am sure they span a range from market-rate to affordable housing, possibly reflecting the opinions of the congregation as a whole. We could relax our “speak-with-one-voice” policy, but that would dilute the strength of any recommendation we will make.

As we proceeded with our discussions, it became clear there was one position we as a Board and staff could unanimously support. We can and will support whatever decision the congregation makes. There is no right or wrong choice. There is no good or bad choice. All of the outcomes can be made consistent with the mission and vision of this church, our commitment to social justice, and our obligation to be good stewards of our church’s resources.

Mission Fund Drive

Since my last Beacon article, we have formed a Mission Fund Drive (formally known as the Operating Fund Drive) team co-chaired by Doug Strombom and me and staffed by Nicole Duff with support from Milly Mullarky, Ralph Lutz, Den Kerlee, Mary Anderson, Elaine Cox, Steve Wellons, and Martin Cox (thank you, thank you, thank you). There’s still room to add your name to the list! We are starting late but enthusiastically.

Stewardship Sunday will be March 3. You will receive the Mission Fund Drive brochure and your pledge card at the service. The packets not handed out on Sunday will be mailed.

We are planning major donor events in March consisting of either light suppers or appetizer receptions in member homes. The invitations to these receptions will start with the households that contributed a total of 50% of our operating income during the past year. We know these are not all the major donors. Major donors are also people with smaller pledges that represent larger shares of their income and those who donate significantly of their time. If you would like to be part of a major donor reception, you are welcome; please do not hesitate to contact either me or Doug Strombom. We are planning to continue our outreach through additional events (suppers or receptions) hosted in member homes over the next several months. We think member-to-member social events are a highly effective means of building community and reminding ourselves why this church is important to us and why it deserves our support.

If you would be interested in helping with these events, please contact Milly Mullarky, Doug Strombom, or me.