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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the Board Corner in Sanctuary B on Sundays during coffee hour.