Board Highlights May 2020: Annual Meeting and Budget Planning

On Tuesday, May 12, the UUSM Board of Directors met via Zoom. Vice-President Beth Brownlie chaired the meeting and remarked that we are finding new pathways in “doing church.” She sees a future hybrid style, including video and face-to-face. The group discussed preparations for the Annual Meeting and finalizing the 2020–21 budget.

Our minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, reported that the church is in decent health. Sunday services reach around 100 people online, but we need to consider the sustainability of the effort required of staff and volunteers. We will likely continue this method for three months more, perhaps longer. Jeremiah has been working with the Nominating Committee on leadership development. His Wednesday “coffee with the minister” has been popular. Thresholds is the theme for May.

Board Secretary Norm Richey has been working with Administrator Nurit Gordon and a small task force on the format for the Annual Meeting, June 28, at noon. Zoom is considered too cumbersome for the numbers of members expected to participate. Various methods for the election have been considered. It’s been decided that voting will take place in the weeks before the actual meeting so results can be announced. In addition to mail-in ballots, a voting platform, ElectionBuddy, will be utilized to allow members to vote online. Pat Gomez, co-chair of the Nominating Committee, said that bios and photos for the committee’s official slate will be available before voting commences. Because our bylaws specifically state that the UUSM Annual Meeting must be in-person, any virtual meeting will be considered “interim” until we can be together — even if we’re social distancing.

Treasurer Vilma Ortiz gave an update on current finances and the almost final version of the 2020–21 budget. The church received a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan of $70,000. To the extent that this is used for salaries, it is intended to be forgiven. All of the money will be spent in the current fiscal year, specifically on salaries. This allows the current fiscal year to have an overall surplus, which can carry forward into next year. The church has also received a UUA Spirit grant of $10,000 for fiscal 2020–21. Despite these pluses, the budget for next year will still show an end-of-year deficit. Stewardship did well this spring, receiving more pledges from the membership, but the church will continue to suffer considerable losses from the predicted lack of rental income. In the next year, if fundraisers such as Dining for Dollars and rentals fall short, it may be necessary to dip into the Emergency Fund. A Zoom town hall to discuss budget specifics will take place on Sunday June 14.

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