Summary by Larry Weiner | Board Secretary
Photos by Carol Ring
The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica had its annual meeting on Sunday, June 12, 2022, celebrating its year in ministry and launching its coming commitments.
The meeting began with Delany Hutchinson singing “Home to You” by Sigrid.
Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae lit the chalice and opened with a reading from the gray hymnal, “Blessed Are Those” (#728).
Call to Order, Quorum, and Appointment of Officials
Beth Brownlie called the meeting to order and announced that there was a quorum. She appointed the following officials:
Process Observers: Amy Brunell and Cassie Winters
Ballot & Hand Counters: Nurit Gordon and Karl Lisovsky
Inspector of Elections: Ken Alexander
Check In: Nurit Gordon and Joyce Holmen
Timekeeper: Bev Shoenberger
Parliamentarian: Lois Hutchinson
The UUSM Congregation adopted the Rules for the Meeting. The resolution to adopt the Rules of the Meeting was voted on by hand vote and passed unanimously.
Call to Covenant – Eileen McCormack
Eileen called us to covenant, reminding us that we all belong to each other.
Presentation of minutes from 2020 and 2021 meeting – Beth Brownlie
The UUSM Congregation approved the minutes from the Annual Meeting on June 28, 2020 and ratified the meeting. The 2020 Annual Meeting was held virtually in light of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic.
The UUSM Congregation approved the minutes from the Annual Meeting on June 27, 2021. The congregation ratified the 2021 Annual Meeting which was held virtually in light of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic.
Both resolutions 2 and 3 were voted on by hand vote and passed unanimously.
Acknowledgement of 2021-2022 Board and Nominating Committees
Beth Brownlie read the names of the members of the Board of Directors and the Nominating committee, thanking everyone for their service.
Presentation of the Annual Congregational Awards
Beth Brownlie presented Jacki Weber with a plant in an inscribed vase. Jacki is leaving the Board after eight years of service.
Eileen McCormack presented a Lifetime Recognition Award to Beth Rendeiro for her years of work in coordinating the OWL program at our church as well as many other accomplishments she achieved for UUSM. Beth accepted the award naming the numerous OWL facilitators who she said were the actual heroes of the program.
The following people received the second annual version of their awards:
Jacki Weber awarded Aubrey Sassoon with the Distinguished Service Award.
Jeremiah awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award to Patricia Wright.
Beth awarded the Unsung Hero Award to Lois Hutchinson.
The UUSM Congregation approved the amendment to the Bylaws stating “During an emergency, when large group gatherings are prohibited or discouraged, the Congregation may hold online or virtual meetings to make important decisions. Rules about participation (e.g., quorum) will apply.”
The UUSM Congregation approved the amendment to the Bylaws stating, “The Secretary, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large shall be eligible to serve for a maximum of four years.”
The UUSM Congregation approved the amendment to the Bylaws stating, “The Nominating Committee shall consist of five (5) members who have been voting members for at least a year at the time of the Annual Meeting.”
Resolutions 4, 5 and 6 were modified to remove the sentence concluding each of them “Adoption of this Bylaw amendment strikes and removes those Bylaws which conflict with this amendment.” Once modified, all three resolutions passed.
Presentation of the Board of Directors & Nominating Committee Candidates
Beth introduced the candidates on the ballot for this year’s election. Votes were cast and collected and counted.
Minister’s report – Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae
Jeremiah expressed gratitude for a number of accomplishments this year.
- Our virtual GLAM Summer Road Trip services with sibling congregations around Los Angeles
- Our Spirit-Level Grant and personal contributions of $20,000 to rebuild our technological infrastructure
- Outstanding leadership of our Board of Directors, our talented staff and many exceptional congregational leaders
- Our Presidential Team consisting of Beth Brownlie, Eileen McCormack, and Jacki Weber and their resilient leadership during this pandemic
- The continued process of revising our bylaws to be voted on in the coming months
- Our Intersectional Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Commission
- The Pastoral Associates program and our CareRing Team now merged into a unified Pastoral Care Team
- The newly formed Leadership Development Steering Committee for emerging leadership training
- Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins’ leadership of our Worship Associates program and her monthly preaching schedule
- Our leadership in our intersectional, anti-racist, and counter-oppressive ministry
- Our extraordinary music ministry has returned to our newly opened sanctuary
- Our Communications Team’s powerful presence through online messaging and a renovated website nearing its launch
- The enduring work of our ongoing committees which have enabled us to endure the harshness of the pandemic
- A matching grant of up to $50,000 for next church year to offset costs and help preserve more of our emergency reserves
An important work that faces us is the rebuilding of our religious education program for our children including the Our Whole Lives sexuality education program (OWL). Rev. Dr. Kikanza Nuri-Robins will serve as our consulting minister for that project.
Another challenge we face is the significant depletion of incomes caused by the pandemic. The loss of our established in-person fundraising efforts and the rental income has created a significant challenge.
Lastly, I conclude with offering the names of the beloved members of our community who died in the past year. Let us honor their spirits and memories, and the spirits and memories of all the members of that mighty cloud of witnesses — our ancestors — that surrounds us now and always.
Because they are remembered, they live.
President’s Report – Beth Brownlie
“Jacki Weber, Eileen McCormack and I have been working as a tri-presidential team. We took turns running meetings and made decisions collaboratively. Together we worked on refreshing the bylaws. We were delighted that Abby Arnold shepherded the Arizona Entryway project. We are pleased with the growing success of the FAHS Collaborative to engage our congregation in the Beloved Conversations Programs. We look forward to rebuilding your Youth Religious Education Program. We are grateful that we have been able to transition to a hybrid worship experience. The re-designed website and the ongoing newsletter are exceptional. Small groups, task forces and committees have made our community rich and vibrant. We are blessed by our outstanding staff: Rev. Jeremiah, Music Director, Saunder Choi also, the spectacular Nurit Gordon, Cyndee Hayes, Sibylla Nash and Tom and Kevin our sextons. I want to express my deep gratitude and thanks to all of you for your gifts, talents and faithful commitment to our community.”
2022 Annual Meeting Treasurer’s Report – Vilma Ortiz
Vilma Ortiz presented a PowerPoint slideshow with details of expenses and income for last year and projections for next year.
We have a significant amount in savings as of the end of March 2022. These are allocated into various funds including the Emergency Fund and the Catastrophe Fund. Several years ago, we also established an Endowment Fund.
Approximately half of our savings are held in CDs at Self-Help Federal Credit Union. The SHFCU CDs have staggered maturity dates so that a CD matures every three months.
We also have several account with the UU Common Endowment Fund, a diversified fund designed for long-term investments managed by the UUA.
We are currently renovating the Arizona Street Entrance because of structural foundation issues. The project is expected to cost approximately $225,000. We applied for and have received a grant from the Spirit Level Foundation. The Foundation prioritizes funding construction projects and provides grants of up to $50,000, requiring congregations to raise matching funds. We expect to raise at least $25,000 and hopefully close to $50,000, as matching funds.
2021-2022 Overall Financial Status
Pledge income is lower than we had anticipated while other donations from church members are as expected. Fundraising was low because we were unable to do our traditional fundraisers. Rental income was low because our church building has been closed.
We continue to have many of the same expenses. Staff involved in worship — minister, DRE, music — continue to work producing our high-quality Sunday services. We spent this year transitioning from online services to hybrid services to meeting in-person while still streaming our services. Our office staff continues to run our church. Some of our expenses are lower because we did not meet in-person all year.
2022-2023 Overall Budget
We anticipate developing a robust fundraising effort that includes both in-person and online strategies. We expect that rental income will increase now we are open.
We do not expect significant changes to our expenses. We will have some reduced expenses (for example, the office assistant’s hours were reduced).
We have weathered a global pandemic and economic crisis for more than two years, yet we remain a strong community. We — the Board, Finance Committee, and Minister — will continue to work diligently to monitor the financial status of the church and to address issues that arise. We appreciate your gifts to our beloved community.
The UUSM Congregation approves the budget presented for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.
The UUSM Congregation approved the transfer of identified funds from the Emergency Fund and from the Catastrophe Fund to the Deficit Reserve Fund.
Resolutions 7 and 8 were passed by unanimous hand vote.
Announcement of Election Results
All candidates on the ballot were elected.
Installation of Elected Officers
Eileen congratulated the elected officers.
President-Elect’s Closing Remarks
Eileen thanked everyone for their participation and their patience. She said that she was looking forward to working with everyone in the coming church year.
Process Observers Report
Amy said that what was present in the room was the “desire to be kind and have love.” She spoke of so much love and thanked Jeremiah for the space he has created for our congregation.
Extinguishing the Chalice
The chalice was extinguished, and Eileen adjourned the meeting.
Annual Meeting Photos by Carol Ring