February 2023 Board Highlights

UUSM 2023 Board of Directors


The UUSM Board of Directors met on Tuesday, February 14, 2022.  Board Members attending included Vice President Norm Richey, Treasurer Vilma Ortiz, Secretary Larry Weiner, Members-at-Large Michael Monte, Linda van Ligten, and Abby Arnold, and past president Beth Brownlie.  Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, and congregation members Teresa Castelli, Karl Lisovsky, Sarah Robson, and James Witker also attended.  President Eileen McCormack and Board Member Siobhan Braybrook were absent.


Call to Order, Opening Readings, and Check-In

Norm called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.  Beth welcomed attendees with a personal reading and readings of the Sixth Principle and the Sixth Source.  The Church theme for the month is “The Path of Love,” so Board Members checked in with an answer to the question, “What was a great act of love you did in your life?”


Membership report:

Norm reported no changes in membership this month; we still have 259 members.


Standing Monthly Reports:

The Standing Reports were noted but not discussed. Beth moved and Abby seconded that the Standing Reports and January minutes be accepted as presented.  The motion passed unanimously.


Minister’s Report:

In his introduction, Jeremiah (whose full report is available here) spoke of the Soul Matters theme for the month being “The Path of Love,” and mused about what a difference it would make if our focus was on increasing love in the world, our lives, and our beloved community.  He also reported that:

  • Five worship services were presented since the last meeting.
  • The Pastoral Care Team met once this month, and with the losses of Helen Brown, Joanna Woods-Marsden, and Robert Simon, it was a month to explore death, dying, and the grieving process.
  • The Bylaws Refresh Task Force worked on filling in Board Policies referenced in the Bylaws. A Special Congregational Meeting for Bylaws will be held on February 26th to vote on the bylaws revisions, including the addition to our church’s name.
  • Our Board Retreat covered a multitude of topics.
  • Reverend Judith Meyer and her partner David Denton joined us for a service, and we had a reception for her and honored her with a UUSM minister’s stole.
  • The Intersectional Anti Racism and Anti Oppression Commission (IARAO Commission) met and recommended the UU Common Read book, Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism. The Commission is also interested in our congregation adopting the 8th Principle.
  • The Heart Opening: Embodied Spiritual Practice Circle with Reverend Amelia Mumina continues to be a popular event.
  • Jeremiah and Bettye Barclay will be offering a four-part course called Mysticism and Spiritual Practice. It is a multicultural and multireligious immersion into mysticism and spiritual practices in four world religions.
  • The Leadership Development Series continues with Jeremiah and Jacki Weber leading the next session.
  • Jeremiah gave a Consulting Ministry Update highlighting some of Reverend Kikanza’s recent work.
  • Jeremiah will be making a presentation on the topic of “Liberating the Theological Imagination” as part of a webinar on “Combating Sexism through Religion,” sponsored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
  • We will not be co-hosting a Purim celebration with Santa Monica Synagogue this year, but we may do an event with them to celebrate Shavuot in May.
  • Jeremiah attended the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Breakfast on January 13th. Jeremiah continues to meet with the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council (SMAIC) and plans to serve on its Holocaust Remembrance Planning Committee.
  • Jeremiah also continues to serve on the UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee and to help with emergency consultations.

In conclusion, Jeremiah challenged board members to continue to nurture all the new and positive energy, to increase the love, and thanked the Board for its continued commitment to the community and the ministry of Unitarian Universalism.


Treasurer’s Report:

Vilma reported that we are still on target to have a deficit of $40,000 as projected. Pledges are on target and we got an Employment Tax credit.

In response to a question about how much we as a congregation donate, Vilma said that between the dues to the UUA ($26,000), half of the Generous Congregation donations ($10,000), and the money for the hunger fund/lunches for bunches ($6,000), the total comes to around $42,000. She was also asked if we would be at 100% in our dues payment to UUA this year, and she said we are close and looking towards possibly meeting that goal next year. There will be an Executive session on February 28, and all Board members will be invited so that we can discuss next year’s budget.


Women+ Community Charter:

Discussion and possible ratification of the charter for the Women+ Community was tabled at the request of Jacki Weber, who was unable to attend the meeting.


Bylaws and Policies:

Jeremiah explained the differences between the church’s Bylaws and Policies. For example, the Bylaws are solely under the control of the congregation, while the Policies are under the purview of the Board and can be adjusted at any time by the Board. He said some of references to Policies in the Bylaws needed to be clarified, so the Bylaws Task Force is in the process of working on them.

At this meeting, the Board discussed adopting policies for sections C2.8-C2.12 of the Bylaws. Beth moved and Abby seconded that the policies relating to sections C2.8 through C2.12 be adopted by the Board. The motion passed unanimously.


UUA Common Read:

James Witker, representing the Peace and Social Justice Committee, the Adult RE Committee and the IARAO Committee, and Sarah Robson from the Adult RE Committee, attended to discuss the possibility of the Board supporting the UUA Common read for 2023. The book is called “Mistakes and Miracles,” and is a compilation of case studies about congregations and their adventures working to adopt the proposed 8th Principle. James and Sarah offered to host four study discussions on the book. The possibility of discussion within existing committees was also discussed.  

Larry moved and Abby seconded that the Board affirm the plan to do the UUA Common Read. The motion passed unanimously. Books will come soon.


Youth RE:

Beth talked about a fabulous weekend adventure at Camp de Benneville Pines for the 7th-9th grade OWL students and the current Coming of Age class. She also presented a Youth RE report and a Family Attendance Report.


Committee for Shared Ministry:

This is a new committee consisting of Jacki Weber, Kikanza Nuri-Robins, and Bettye Barclay. Larry made and Abby seconded a motion to add Sabina Mayo-Smith and Gretchen Goetz to the Committee. The motion passed unanimously.


New Business:

Norm mentioned a suggestion by Johnny Canales to publish the amounts of monies our congregation donates. Jeremiah did not think this would be a good idea.

In response to a question about where we might need more volunteers, the stewardship effort and finance committee were mentioned.



The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.


Draft minutes used to prepare this report were provided by Larry Weiner, Board Secretary