September 2022 Board Highlights

The UUSM Board met on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, via Zoom, to review committee work and the congregation’s overall operations.

Board members attending included President Eileen McCormack, Vice President Norm Richey, Treasurer Vilma Ortiz, Secretary Larry Weiner, Members-at-Large Michael Monte, Linda van Ligten, and Siobhan Braybrook, and Past President Beth Brownlie. Board Member Abby Arnold was absent. Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae was also present, as were congregation members Teresa Castelli, Karl Lisovsky, and Dan Nannini.


Chalice Lighting, Opening Reading and Check-in – Eileen McCormack

Eileen called the meeting to order and read the First Principle and the First Source, and a reading about the First Principle. The Church theme for the month is “Belonging,” and Board members and guests checked in with personal and theme-based comments. The Board also read the covenant and discussed the possibility of doing a deeper dive into the covenant at a future Board retreat.


Membership – Norm Richey

Norm read new members Sheila Laffey and Rebecca Haggarty into the record and announced that past member Anita Brenner has passed away.

Total Current Members: 256


Standing Monthly Reports – Noted but not discussed.

A motion was passed unanimously to accept the Standing Reports and the June Board minutes as written.


Minister’s Report – Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae

Jeremiah spoke about Worship Life, Pastoral Care, the Bylaws Refresh Task Force, Leadership Development, Consulting Ministry/Kikanza Nuri-Robins, the Spirit Level Foundation grant, the Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Commission, updates on the Music Ministry, the COVID Steering Committee, the launch of the new website, and our new weekly announcements (the work of our newest staff member Esther Chase). He also spoke about his summer work with Dare to Bless the Love (an interfaith, multi-religious worship community) and the possibility of partnering with them, the Santa Monica Interfaith Council (which did not know much about us), and the UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee. He concluded with a call to celebrate a new church year without the stresses and demands of the pandemic and thanked the Board for its dedication, skills and wisdom in service to our community.


Treasurer’s Report – Vilma Ortiz

Vilma reported that our year-end income came in lower than expected because we did not meet our projections for rentals and fundraising. Our expenses were also lower than projected but did not offset the income loss. So far this year, Vilma reported that our pledge income is on target, partly because we were more realistic in our projections. Our rental income still has not come back to pre-pandemic levels, but our expenses are very close to budgeted numbers. Thanks to Administrator Nurit Gordon’s diligence, we did receive an employer tax credit… and a very generous anonymous donor gave the congregation a $35,000 donation for the Spirit Level Foundation matching grant for the repair of the Arizona door and surrounding area. Vilma said people will usually step up for special giving opportunities like this, and she believes we will be able to get the rest of the money to fulfill our part of the $50,000 match.


Board Meetings

Eileen suggested holding in-person Board meetings in October, January, and April.  The suggestion was well received, so next month dinner will be ordered and eaten starting at 6:30 p.m., with the meeting beginning at 7. Visitors are welcome.


Board Liaisons to Committees

The Board reviewed liaison commitments to various committees, and discussed which committees – including Fundraising/D4$ – still need a liaison. 


OWL Training

Beth Brownlie talked about doing a 7-9th grade OWL class starting this Fall and into Spring.  There will be a training for facilitators at the church from December 2-4. She also mentioned that the beach cleanup day was a big success.  


New T-shirts

Eileen, Jeremiah, James Witker, and Amy Brunell are designing new church garb that we can wear (especially at Faith in Action events) to provide more visible expressions of who we are as a community.



We are creating a master calendar for the church year so events do not get scheduled on top of one another.



Julie Nyquist has asked the Board to consider holding a Thanksgiving luncheon at church, after the service on Sunday, November 20 (the Sunday before Thanksgiving). Board members responded positively to the idea, so it will be investigated.  


Executive Session 

During an executive session, the Board discussed personnel issues regarding vacation pay, sick leave, and employee categories. No action was taken, but Board members agreed to take a deeper dive on this topic soon.



The meeting was adjourned at 9:23 p.m.


Notes for this report were provided by Larry Weiner, Board Secretary