The UUSM Board of Directors met on Tuesday, November 8, to hear reports from church staff and committees, and to discuss various aspects of the church’s operations. Board Members attending the meeting included President Eileen McCormack, Vice President Norm Richey, Treasurer Vilma Ortiz, Secretary Larry Weiner, Members-at-Large Michael Monte and Linda van Ligten, and Past President Beth Brownlie. Also attending were Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae, and congregation members Teresa Castelli and Karl Lisovsky. Board members Abby Arnold and Siobhan Braybrook were absent.
Call to Order, Opening Readings and Check In
Eileen called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. Norm read the Third Principle and the Third Source, and a reading of his choice. The Church theme for the month is “change,” so Board members did a personal check-in answering the question, “It’s what many of us fear the most: becoming reconciled to injustice, resigned to fear and despair, lulled into a life of apathy. Have you put in enough strategies to avoid this fate? What are some of those strategies?”
Norm read new member Johnny Canales into our membership roll. We currently have 257 members.
Standing Monthly Reports
The Standing Monthly reports were noted but not discussed. Larry moved to accept the Standing Reports and October minutes as written. Norm seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Jeremiah’s Minister’s Report included the following sections:
Introduction: The spiritual reflection for our congregation this month is “The Path of Change.”
Worship Life: We had 5 Sunday services in the last month, as well as our annual “Garden of Eternity” service.
Pastoral Care: The Pastoral Care Team met this month and the Executive Team will meet later.
Bylaws Refresh Task Force: Task force members are currently evaluating feedback from the community.
Leadership Development Team: The launch of the program was a big success; the second session was held on October 29th.
Minister Emerita Judith Meyer: Judith will be coming to California in January and plans to spend time with us. (Jeremiah discussed getting her a stole as a gift of acknowledgement for all she has done and continues to do for our community.)
Committee for Shared Ministry: The committee did a heart-brainstorm and has created a charter for the Board to consider.
Intersectional Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Commission (IARAO Commission): There will be a review of process, and Amy Brunell has joined the group.
COVID Steering Committee: Masks will be strongly recommended but no longer required for large indoor gatherings.
Opening Hearts: An Embodied Practice Circle: There was much positive feedback and Rev. Amelia will do another one soon.
Santa Monica Interfaith Council: Jeremiah continues to meet with this group and has been elected Co-Vice President. The Santa Monica Synagogue is only 2 blocks away from us and we will consider doing things with them.
UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee: Jeremiah continues to work with this group, including monthly meetings and emergency clinical consultations.
Vilma said there are no major surprises in this month’s Treasurer’s Report. She said most of the budgetary projections are holding, but our rental income still lags behind what was hoped for, and rebuilding it will be a slow process. Our projected deficit of $30,000 is as expected and manageable. Vilma also noted the increased cost of earthquake insurance, and board members discussed our options. Nurit will get more details and numbers for the Board. Vilma also spoke about the “Lunches for Bunches” ministry, which will need money to finish out the church year. The intention was for this group to fundraise, but they will need $6,000. There was a discussion about doing an “ask” at the Thanksgiving Luncheon. The consensus of the Board was that we should support this ministry.
Beth spoke about doing a year-end “ask” and sending a letter to the community. Other possibilities were discussed and it was suggested that board members talk about it further at the next Board retreat.
The Executive Committee will meet to discuss scheduling this and creating an agenda.
Youth RE Report
Beth provided this report for the Board to review, and all thanked Beth and her committee for their hard work, saying things appear to be moving in a very positive direction.
Leadership Development Seminar Update
Norm updated the Board on what has already been done with the launch, the second session on the 29th, and the upcoming seminar on November 19th. This next session may be switched from zoom to in-person by popular demand.
Developmental Ministry Goals Update
Beth reminded us of the survey that was done last year and suggested the Board be given the chance to fill it out again, and the idea was well received. The goal is to put together a report to the congregation about where we stand and where we will go moving forward.
Karl Lisovsky asked the Board for guidance in case it happens to be raining next Sunday at the time of the Luncheon. It was agreed that indoor spaces could be used if necessary. Board members also discussed the hour and a half gap between the end of the service and the start of the luncheon, and Board members liked the idea of filling the time with a little special libation.
Committee for Ministry Charter
The charter was presented to the Board in the meeting’s agenda, but it was decided to table this discussion until the December meeting so Board members could have more time to review it.
Gratitudes were expressed and the meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m.
Notes for this report were provided by Larry Weiner, Board Secretary