September 2023 Board Meeting Highlights

September 2023 Board Meeting Highlights

The Board of Trustees met on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 6:30pm at OBIC with Zoom option. Minutes from the meeting will be posted here on the UUCC website after they have been approved at the October Board meeting.

The following is an informal recap of topics discussed at the September meeting.

Spiritual Practice

This month Kevin Mercer started the meeting with the following opening words:

Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.”  — Rumi

The Spiritual Practice started with the following reflection:

“When we sit at the beginning of any spiritual practice, be it meditation, yoga, contemplation, or another form of reflections, we take time to bring our awareness to our inner being. We close, or softly focus our eyes to block out the myriad of stimuli in our everyday life and focus on the simple movement of our natural breath. Just that. As we feel the breath moving and our body expanding and contracting with that movement, we affirm that we’re alive, we’re breathing, and we are part of the miracle of the Universe. We are part of the pulsation of life. And that pulsation is what the symbol of “om” represents- a connection of our body, breath, mind, and spirit with the vibration of the Universe.” — Lucy Lomax

Then Kevin led the Board in Yoga OM practice — 3 separate sounds A-U-M, repeated 3 times.

Ethical Eating — presentation by Chris Crandell

Chris Crandall presented a plan to promote a Plant-Based Food Policy at UUCC. The goals are to: 1. Reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by increasing and highlighting plant-based food offerings at congregational events, and reducing our consumption of animal products; and 2. Inspire UUCC members to pass a congregational resolution adopting a Default Plant-Based Food Policy similar to one adopted by River Road UUC in 2021.

For those who might have concerns, this is not a request for UUCC members to become vegan or to ban all animal products from UUCC events. The policy would be in keeping with UU 7th principle — respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part — eating fewer animal products. This past weekend’s pancake breakfast was plant-based/vegan. The plan is to offer more veggie meals, education, and webinars. Chris would like board approval to move forward with these plans.

The Board asked questions regarding concerns for allergens, dietary needs, policy as not inclusionary, food insecurity, catering events where people have specific dietary needs, costs. The Board asked specifically. The Board also mentioned the possibility of exploring other approaches that could be more effective in moving toward climate justice. While the Board supports the efforts to educate and motivate the UUCC community toward a diet with less environmental impact, it had some concerns about the concept of board ‘approval’ in light of remaining questions, and later corresponded with Chris to clarify that it supports the efforts of the group to educate and motivate congregants, but not a specific policy at this time.

New Youth Board Position Update

No applications for the youth board position have been submitted. Some youth have expressed interest in starting in the spring. We will continue to search in earnest.

Financial Report

Kevin Mercer, Board Treasurer, presented the possibility of adding a co-owner congregation to OBIC (current owners are UUCC and the Columbia United Methodist Congregation). This is the start of a conversation for the possibility of expanding ownership. This will require a lot of discussion within the congregation over the next few years.

  • Pros: Lean into Jim Rouse’s vision of an Interfaith Center — currently we own 90% of the building; also would help with mortgage debt; and spread the costs of owning the building
  • Cons: Give up some control of OBIC; we have historically put in a lot of resources into the building; may be contentious among the members; harder to make a unanimous decisions about building
  • Other considerations: Methodists and the OBIC Board would have to agree

Reconnecting to Disconnected members

Kevin Mercer — reached out to several current members who would be interested in contacting distanced members — three have agreed. This endeavor would be supported by the Executive Team (provide member data/contact information from 2017) but would not be a Board related task.

Board Committee on Governance

Our Bylaws were last updated in 2013 and are outdated and inaccurate. We discussed the possibility of having a committee of the Board that looks at governance processes and identifies possible areas of updating and improvement. This is the beginning of some focused attention on this area of Board work.

Review of Board-Staff Linkage and Administrative Limits

We began the process of reviewing the Board- Staff Linkage and Administrative limits- The document is murky in places. Definitions and Clarifications — Paige described the following:

  • Bylaws: Guidance from the congregation authorizing the parameters within which the Board may act on its behalf to oversee how congregation is run.
  • Board-Staff linkage: Defines the relationship between the Board and the staff and defines what board responsibilities have been delegated to the Executive Team Ends — every decision is made to further the ends and the Executive Team is able to do anything to further those ends except where the action contravenes an Administrative Limitation
  • Administrative limitations: Board’s Statement of Values — specifically listing limitations of the Executive Team Governance Process- relationship with each other (on the Board) expressed in policies to guide the Executive Team
  • End and Limits Monitoring: Define what Board wants as basic parameters of end of year monitoring. The possibility of updating the limits-monitoring instructions was raised, and will be looked at during this Board year

Closing Words

There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing (us) in a crooked line. The less (we) seek (our) source for some definitive, the closer (we) are to fine.”  — Emily Saliers

Next Board Meeting

Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 6:30pm


Please connect with us at or stop by the Board Corner in Sanctuary B on Sundays during coffee hour.


  1. Gail Thompson

    This report is wonderful. The Board is undertaking projects in need of attention. Yay!
    Regarding updating the Bylaws, please consider contacting other area UU churches for any related statements they may have already made within the areas of revisal discussions. Wording may be helpful. Any areas of conflict they may have faced given the climate of the times.
    We may not need to completely reinvent the wheel. Also please run the draft through an attorney, Mr. Jeffery Agnor of DARS comes to mind. He has a reduced price schedule for non-profit organizations and has been our attorney on call for years.

  2. John Guy

    Kudos to the Board for initiating an interactive process for updating and upgrading the UUCC institutional factors that prescribe and proscribe UUCC’s future. It’s important to recognize and repeat with the congregation that this is a multiyear process and will require some long term analysis and lots of long term commitment to obtaining an institutional model that the majority of the congregation votes to sustain . Most importantly throughout those years please remember under UU governance in UUCC the Congregation is the ultimate authority. That means seeking a majority of congregational votes before and during the initiation of any transformation to the institution of UUCC. Again I applaud the Board’s vision for UUCC’s future. Let it thrive and remember the congregational VME process recently completed as the framework for defining our future. Regards John Guy PS I plan to send some thoughts directly to the board via their email address.

  3. Dori Schatell

    I would like to include myself among those who are NOT on board for UUCC becoming vegan, and thank you to Megan for clarifying that this is not the supposed intent of the policy. My concerns are that there are important and legitimate health reasons–such as blood sugar–why it is impossible for some of us to eliminate meat, eggs, and dairy from our diets. Take a pancake breakfast. As someone who has to check blood sugar every day and eat accordingly, I can’t have pancakes, or ANY grains or root vegetables, more than about ¼ cup of legumes, or even most fruit. So, it is UNWELCOMING for a community to try to eradicate anything that is not vegetarian from our communal gatherings. We don’t ask people to BELIEVE any particular spiritual tenets, so why would we ask them to EAT in certain ways? (I can’t help the planet if I’m dead.) If some folks thrive on being vegan or vegetarian, terrific. Keep doing it. I’ve was vegetarian for a while in college. But, today, it would literally risk my health and my life to do so, and I don’t appreciate being marginalized any more than anyone else does around any issue. You decide what you want to eat and let me eat what is healthy for me. To do otherwise is elitist in terms of both health and income.


    This reply to Dori’s post, expressing some contrary thoughts to hers, is intended to be kind hearted. The subject is fraught. I hope I succeed.

    I do not want to force my beliefs about eating on anyone; but I would like to flip them to my way of thinking. So, I do feel some need to let folks know why I strive to eat Whole Food Plant Based and why I think this is an overall a good. This is because my heart is in it just as strongly as it is in my beliefs about equity and justice.

    I want to eat Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB), which is one of the many varieties of vegan. From the many hours of research I have done, I believe WFPB is far and away the healthiest diet. It results in the almost complete elimination of our biggest killer, heat disease; about a 30% reduction in cancer; the almost total elimination of tooth decay; is the most effective diet for diabetes and much more. As a vegan way of eating, it decreases animal suffering, and the effects of animal agriculture on the planet.

    Unless I bring the food, I almost never have the option of eating WFPB at UUCC. For this reason, I was heartened by Chris’s attempt to increase plant based eating at UUCC.

    The vegan pancake breakfast was not WFPB. The maple syrup and vegan butter were the main culprits.

    Whole Food Plant Based is the least expensive way of eating in my own experience and this has been backed up by research. (I’m not sure I can lay my hands on the papers anymore.)

    From my way of thinking, the health benefits, the reduction of animal suffering, and the benefits to the planet are ethical considerations. Because of this, I think how we eat is worthy of discussion at UUCC; however difficult the discussion. I appreciate that everybody thinks different about everything and that others have opinions far afield from my own. I want to keep my meat eating friends and my Christian friends and my Republican friends. I therefore try to be an amiable vegan as I try to be an amiable atheist and an amiable Democrat. I also know that my thinking is quite in the minority on WFPB. And, I may be wrong.

    I have read many primary sources that back up what I wrote about the health benefits. There are also dozen of well researched books that support the claims I made. These include:

    Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, by Neal Barnard. (Advertised as 3 times more effective than the next closest diet)

    How not to Die by Michael Greger

    How to Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn

    I do not feel elite.

    As a food addict, I frequently fail at eating WFPB. For now, it is my worthy goal.

    If anyone wants to join me in a WFPB journey, please let me know.

    With great respect,


  5. Dori Schatell

    Ed, the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest one on the planet—eaten in the “Blue Zones,” where people live longest. It is high in veggies, nuts, seeds, olive oil, with some dairy, small amounts of starch, lots of fish, some poultry, and very little red meat. That’s what I eat—in a grain-free version. You don’t know the health history of anyone in UUCC. I’ve had prediabetes for 21 years and still don’t have type 2 now (like my late dad), BECAUSE I eat an extremely low-carb diet every day (and test my blood sugar to see how foods affect it, which is the only way to know). I’ve also had cancer 3 times, and have had extensive, costly genetic testing to see what suits my body best. Extremely low-carb is not possible as vegan: it cannot be done without relying on tofu and seitan, both of which contain large amounts of glyphosate (So does “Impossible” meat, by the way. And, how are y’all getting B-12?). My strategy for events like potlucks (anywhere) is to bring something to share that I can eat. This policy would make that impossible—and would therefore exclude any of us who have dietary limits that make veganism not an option, even for one meal. This does not exactly make for a welcoming community. The line you included that bothers me most is that you want to “flip people to my way of thinking.” That is evangelical, gives vegans a bad name, and is no more appealing with food than it is with religion. UU does not tell people how or whom to worship, and I think we need to also stay away from telling people how to eat. Educating? Sure. People who are lucky enough not to have health issues may want to learn more. But, a policy limiting food options at UUCC events to vegan only is not just or equitable.

  6. Becky Reese

    Dori and Ed,
    Thanks for sharing your respective views on the plant-based diet proposal and for your efforts to be clear about your views, which you each strongly hold, and also accepting of others’ dietary requirements and choices. I feel very strongly that as UU’s we should be open to respectful dialogue on any issue (especially important ones!). I appreciate that this may be the start of such a dialogue that includes many more voices.
    That said, I believe that it is essential to remain inclusive and accepting of differences as we explore topics. We now have the Covenant of Right Relations to support our interactions with each other. I find many of the detailed examples in the CRR to be challenging to fully implement in real conversations and I am eager to improve my skills! The topic of dietary norms for congregational events is one of many topics that may give us opportunities to practice.
    I also want to point out that the proposal that Chris presented to the board left room for there to be non-vegan offerings included in pot lucks. It is simply proposing that vegan options be “normative” rather than the exception. The proposal explicitly states, “For those who might have concerns, this is not a request for UUCC members to become vegan or to ban all animal products from UUCC events.”

    With loving wishes for deep respect and inclusion of all UUCC affiliates,
    Becky Reese

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *