Board Highlights April 2020: Planning the Annual Meeting While Safer at Home

People Alone Together

The UUSM Board of Directors met Tuesday, April 14, via Zoom. After the chalice lighting, members were asked to check in on their well-being and – following on this month’s theme of Liberation – to name a spiritual leader who had an effect on them and/or society. Responses ranged from Jesus, as seen in the Jefferson Bible, to ministers and relatives.

There were no new members to report. The board reported a previous email vote to move funds from Merrill Lynch to the UU Common Endowment Fund (UUCEF). The motion was approved.

Our minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, reported that the church has been doing online services for 5 weeks and there are hundreds of people who have been able to view them, including Minister Emerita Rev. Judith Meyer. Some people have had difficulties accessing the correct link, but these details are being honed.

The 2020 Annual Meeting is being postponed until Sunday, June 28. With the timing of the stewardship campaign in the midst of a stay-at-home order, it has been more difficult to finalize the budget. Materials will be mailed to all members in a timely fashion, but the details of how the congregation will “meet” are still to be figured out. There will be town halls via Zoom to give opportunities for comment and discussion on, for example, the budget. Platforms for combining online voting and mail-in ballots are being explored. A limited time window for voting will be part of the solution. The UUSM bylaws specifically state that people have to be present: they don’t seem to include contingencies for pandemics. A subset of the board has been tasked with determining the best format under the circumstances. Hence, the late meeting date – to give time to create an inclusive solution.

Treasurer Vilma Ortiz reported that pledge receipts continue to trend down. As of the end of March, 75% of the pledge year has passed, but only 67% of the pledges had been received. Also, income suffers from the loss of the popular Dining for Dollars fundraiser: those receipts normally come in March. To the extent necessary, funds will be taken from emergency reserves. The church has applied for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to pay staff salaries – which would theoretically be forgiven if no staff are laid off. Staff continues working from home, with a few hours in the office and meetings via Zoom.

Stewardship has a goal of receiving a pledge from each pledging unit. Normally, many members simply do a “rollover pledge,” in which the church expects, in 2020–21, to receive the previously pledged amount. But this makes it difficult to understand each family’s true level of commitment. Outreach continues. If you have not yet pledged, email Administrator Nurit Gordon with your commitment or visit the Stewardship page on the website.

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