Before we share highlights from the August Board of Trustees meeting, we want to let you know about an important meeting coming up. Next Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at 6:00pm, the Board will conduct a Special Board of Trustees Meeting to discuss the recommendations issued by the Trust and Reconciliation Committee in their final report and determine possible next steps. All UUCC members and friends are invited to attend and listen to the Board discussions. While the Board will not be receiving any public comments during the meeting, we invite you to share your feedback with us beforehand by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! Meeting information is located on our UUCC events calendar here.
This summer the Board has been discussing several chapters from Dan Hotchkiss’ book, Governance and Ministry, which was selected to help us in our orientation to Board work and to learn more about policy-based governance. During the discussion, Board members commented on the importance of being more proactive, focusing on visionary work, church being a place where people may learn to want something new, and how the Board’s decision-making should be mission-driven.
One of the first orders of business was filling the vacant at-large Board position. The Board is extremely grateful to all members of our community who offered to contribute their time and energy in joining the Board for the open seat or shared suggestions for potential candidates. The Board held a closed meeting last week to discuss candidates and ultimately voted to approve Katja Fort Rhoden to serve as at-large Board member for a one-year term. We are thrilled to have her join us in our work!
The Board also adopted a “Board Covenant” to guide how we interact with each other. You may find our covenant on UUCC’s website here.
Board members also shared updates on the individual Board Initiatives:
Budget and Stewardship – Sarah Basehart shared details of recent Stewardship Council meetings, which she and Kevin Mercer attend:
- Considering median pledge versus the mean/average pledge is important as a few large donations skew the mean.
- UUCC’s pledge levels match those of other UU congregations. Former Pledge Team members do not think there are untapped resources within our existing Congregation. We may need more members to raise more money.
- UUCC’s budget health is dependent on the generous contributions of a few large donors.
- An alternative way to have pledging discussions is to consider the cost of operations per household instead of “fair share” as it provides another perspective. The cost of running UUCC per household is currently roughly $2,500 (and the median pledge per household is about $2,600).
Bauder Education Center Funding – Sarah Basehart reported out that she and Jenny Afkinich are working on a fundraising appeal letter to specific members of the congregation and that they will be sending that out soon.
Beloved Community Resolution – Jenny Afkinich shared some updates from a recent meeting with Kristin Parrish and Colette Gelwicks. They held a brainstorming session to discuss possible ways that the Board could live out the Beloved Community Resolution more fully. Options include: reviewing our policies and bylaws through the lens of the resolution; asking Board members to each lead a Board Meeting Spiritual Practice using the resolution for inspiration; and reviewing the UUA Widening the Circle of Concern report and other congregations’ practices to identify other options.
Thoughtful Board Communications – Kristin Parrish shared out ideas and options discussed in a recent meeting with Jim Johnston and Colette Gelwicks. The Board will begin to deliver a Board Minute on the Sunday following services during announcements and share out on social media as well. Other communications options are to host listening sessions again and ask Board members to attend coffee hour to connect with congregants.
Board Annual Calendar and Continuity Planning – Colette Gelwicks shared out that she and Jim Johnston are developing an updated draft Annual Board Calendar that will be shared with Board members soon. They will be looking at continuity planning next.
Open Questions – Another idea from Dan Hotchkiss’ book that we are undertaking is developing a few “Open Questions.” These questions will allow the Board to step aside from monthly business and engage in the visionary, forward-looking work during board meetings. They offer opportunities for congregational participation and allow the Board to begin conversations now for decisions that will not be made for many months, if not years. The Board will be gathering ideas and identifying one or two open questions at the September meeting.
Monitoring – Monitoring is one of the key duties of the Board and includes an annual review of all the polices and a semi-annual review of the Ends. The Board will be engaged in this work over the coming months, beginning with the Ends and Administrative Limits in October. In September, discussions will continue to determine what the Board will ask the Executive Team’s Limits Report to include and whether and how the Board will determine how we as a congregation are meeting the Ends.
Communications Audit – Sara Davidson recently conducted a communications survey where she received 83 responses. She shared out findings and some preliminary recommendations. These include:
- Reduce frequency of communications and consolidate communications by issuing one weekly newsletter of all updates
- Establish a Communications Advisory team to work with Sara
- Develop Social media plan for Facebook an Instagram
- Align the website to UUCC vision
CAIR Letter – The Board also approved a motion to sign onto a letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) opposing Islamophobic attacks on Howard County Muslims pursuing public service. The letter condemns comments made opposing the appointments of Sabrina Taj for the Howard County Public Library Board and Ainy Haider-Shah for the Compensation Review Commission.
Please consider joining us for next month’s meeting when we continue discussions around monitoring and identify this year’s Open Questions!