The UUSM Board of Directors met on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, to review monthly reports and discuss various church activities. Board Members attending included President Eileen McCormick, Vice President Norm Richey, Treasurer Vilma Ortiz, Secretary Larry Weiner, and Members-at-Large Michael Monte, Linda van Ligten, and Past President Beth Brownlie. The Reverend Jeremiah Kalendae also attended. Board Member Michael Monte was absent. No congregational members attended.
Call to Order, Opening Readings, and Check-In
Eileen called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Siobhan read a personal selection, the Third Principle, and the Fourth Source. Board members did a personal check in and answered a question based on this month’s worship theme: “Has delight ever helped you through anything difficult?”
Opening Remarks and Announcements
Board members read our Board Covenant.
Our current membership is 269. New members Jennifer Silvers, Jason Buhle, Vicki Zielig, Kenny Stevenson, and Dorien Davies were read into the membership roll. (Note: although Helen Brown passed away on January 12, she was not listed on the membership report at the time, so her death did not change the membership total. Also, Susie and Jim Pickett were listed on the membership report as new members, but they are actually Friends of the Congregation who contribute but have not applied for membership as of this time.)
Standing Monthly Reports and Board Minutes
Nurit was on vacation, so the only standing report reviewed was Membership. Other reports will be completed and linked to when Nurit returns.
Norm moved and Larry seconded that the minutes be accepted as presented. The motion passed unanimously.
Jeremiah highlighted political issues that are in conflict with our Unitarian Universalist values, focusing on ongoing attacks on LBGTIAQ+ folks, people of color, and humanist progressive change, while touching on how rampant capitalism has our corporations bending like pretzels to maximize profits. At the same time, however, they also spoke of celebrations and acts of resistance, and how being part of a Beloved Community can bring “delight” to us even in challenging times.
Jeremiah also mentioned:
- The past five Sunday Services.
- Meetings with the Worship Team, the Worship Associate Chairperson, musical leadership, and the individual Worship Associates to plan services.
- Summer worship planning, which has been completed and will provide a slate of captivating services.
- Our 2022-2023 Honored Guest Teacher will be Rabbi Shira Freidlin, from Santa Monica Synagogue, who joins a long line of other distinguished guests over the past years.
- The Pastoral Care Team met to discuss the pastoral dimensions of the Annual Meeting. The Pastoral Associates report was received at the meeting, and Jeremiah spoke of following up personally with a number of congregants who have had health issues and recent surgeries.
- The Santa Monica Synagogue Shabbat and Shavuot Service and interfaith dinner in May, and our possible future collaborations with the synagogue.
- Attending the Giants of Justice CLUE Annual Coalition Breakfast, where Jeremiah discussed the important work CLUE is doing to advance workers’ rights.
- The Global Mystical Traditions and Spiritual Practices Adult RE Series with Bettye Barclay has finished.
- The Healthy Congregations/Right Relations Team met twice and explored the UUA Right Relations Curriculum. The group is also looking to recruit others to reconstitute the team.
- The Committee on Shared Ministry (COSM) met and reviewed the notes of the meeting it had with the UUA, firmed up the commission’s responsibilities, and discussed short and long term goals.
- The RE Ministerial Specialist Search Committee has been appointed and has created a job description for the position.
- The Faith Forward: From Visitor to Leader Leadership Development Program has completed its work, and the graduates and facilitators will be honored at the June 17 service. The graduates also met with the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee to thank them and look at how this committee can take on more of the leadership development work in the next year.
- Jeremiah met with the IARAO Commission to discuss the UUA Article II Study Commission, do LA Pride planning, and talk about the UUA Common Read, Mistakes and Miracles.
- The first ever Soulful Sundown Friday Night Musical Offering and Meal, organized by Johnny Canales (June 23rd).
- 2023 Annual Meeting Planning, which Jeremiah is working on with the Board, Right Relations officials, and the Pastoral Care team on. The goal is to create a smooth, loving meeting where all are served. They are also working on their Annual Report.
- UUA General Assembly Planning – there are still delegate positions open and scholarships available.
- Helping the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council prepare and publish a letter condemning the vandalism directed at the Bahai community.
- Meeting with the UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee.
In conclusion, Jeremiah acknowledged the Board Members for all of their care, time, and talents in getting the congregation through the pandemic, and emerging in such good shape. They recommended a summer of joy, rest, and spiritual replenishment. See Jeremiah’s full report for more details, including the developmental goals related to all of their activities.
There was no report at the meeting because Vilma did not have the reports she needed to write the report, due to Nurit’s vacation. Vilma did speak, however, about the four budget town hall meetings she held, at which she presented next year’s proposed budget to the congregation and answered questions.
Annual Meeting Planning
Board members discussed the issue of raising the money for the matching funds needed for the DRE/Ministerial Specialist Spirit Level grant. Vilma said she feels strongly that it will not be a big problem, and the Board agreed to take a positive attitude about it.
Also, we will be using Robert’s Rules of Order at this year’s meeting, and Lois Hutchinson will briefly discuss the possibility of handling the meeting differently next year.
Forbes Hall Repair Update
We are in a holding pattern at the moment because there’s uncertainty about the status of the building permit, inspections are coming, we are still missing lighting products, and we need a clear process for our interactions with the contractor.
Youth RE Update
Beth Brownlie provided another update and, judging from the service on June 11, things are definitely going in the right direction.
Siobhan asked us to take a look at the bike rack, and – thinking about values-based decision making – asked if adding toilet seat covers to the bathroom at the front of the building was consistent with our value of sustainability. A brief discussion followed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 p.m.
Draft minutes used to create this report were provided by Larry Weiner, Board Secretary.