The 2023 UUSM Annual Meeting and Election of Officers

On Sunday, June 18, after the day’s service, members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Monica gathered in the Sanctuary for their 95th Annual Congregational Meeting.

Chalice Lighting and Call to Order

The event began with a chalice lighting from Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, and then President Eileen McCormack called the meeting to order at 12:52 p.m., confirming a quorum of 69 members present.

Appointment of Meeting Officials

Beth Brownlie appointed the meeting officials:

  • Process Observer: Susan Hendricks
  • Voting Hand Counters: Karl Lisovsky and Laura Carlson Weiner
  • Inspectors and Counters of Board Election Ballots: Sarah Robson, Cathie Gentile, and Garland Allen
  • Check In: Joyce Holmen, Karen Mathews and Audrey Erbes
  • Time Keeper: Johnny Canales
  • Parliamentarian: Lois Hutchinson
  • Right Relations Trained Officials: Beth Rendeiro and Cassie Winters
  • Pastoral Associate Chaplain: Cheryl Barnet

Covenant of Right Relations and Meeting Rules

Eileen read and then attendees reviewed the Covenant of Right Relations:

“Democracy in a congregation is practiced in the context of our covenants. We ask that everyone honor these covenants as we participate in the democratic process. Note that participation in church democracy is unlike that of other settings where it is only bound by the expectations of law.”

Beth Rendeiro led a discussion of the Covenant, including agreements to:

  • Maintain respectful dialogue and discussion
  • Avoid personal criticism of others
  • Follow meeting rules about speaking
  • Support each other in staying within our covenant

…and appropriate remedies:

  • Speakers are asked to stop
  • Take breaks.

Introducing the Rules of the Meeting, Lois talked about moving away from Robert’s Rules of Order in the future, and toward more consensus-based rules for running our meetings.

Both the Covenant of Right Relations and the Rules of the Meeting were adopted with unanimous votes.

Call to Covenant and Approval of Minutes

Eileen provided the Call to Covenant.

Minutes of the June 5th 2022 Annual Meeting were approved with a unanimous vote in favor.

A motion to approve the minutes from the Special Meeting on the Bylaws on February 26, 2023, was amended by a unanimous vote to require that the revised Bylaws be attached to the minutes of that meeting.  The minutes, with the revised Bylaws attached, were approved by a vote of 52 members in favor, 4 opposed, and 2 abstentions.

Presentation of Congregational Awards

It was announced that the Congregational Awards will be resumed in 2024.

Presentation of Candidates for the Board of Directors and Leadership Development & Nominating Committee 

The following candidates were presented for seats on the Board of Directors:

President – Eileen McCormack, second one-year term
Vice President – Vilma Ortiz, first one-year term
Secretary – Larry Wiener, second year of second two-year term
Treasurer – Rebecca Crawford, first two-year term
Member-at-Large (Vote Required) – Trish Brassard, first year of first two-year term
Member-at-Large (Vote Required) – Audrey Erbes, first year of first two-year term
Member-at-Large (No Vote Required) – Linda Van Ligten, second year of first two-year term
Member-at-Large (No Vote Required) – Norm Richey, second year of first two-year term

Candidates were also presented for the Leadership Development Nominating Committee:

(Vote Required)
John Zinner, first year of three-year term
Haygo Salibian, first year of a three-year term

(No Vote Required)
Teresa Castelli, second year of three-year term
Wendi Gladstone, second year of three-year term
Dan Patterson, third year of three-year term

Barbara Kernochan was presented as the candidate for Past President (no vote required).

After the candidate presentations, ballots were collected.

Reports and Budget Approval

While votes were being counted, Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae presented the Minister’s Report, Elieen McCormack presented the President’s Report, and Vilma Ortiz presented the Treasurer’s Report and the 2023-2024 Budget.

The 2023-24 budget was approved by a vote of 45 in favor, 6 opposed, and 1 abstention.

Election Results

After the ballots were tabulated, the election results were announced. All candidates on the ballot were elected, so the Board of Directors for 2023-2024 consists of:

President – Eileen McCormack
Vice President – Vilma Ortiz
Secretary – Larry Weiner
Treasurer – Rebecca Crawford
Members at Large – Norm Richey, Linda Van Ligten, Trish Brassard, and Audrey Erbes.

The newly elected officers were read the charge, and all accepted their responsibilities.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment

Eileen thanked everyone for a successful meeting, and Susan Hendriks gave a brief process observation report, concluding that the meeting went well.

The chalice was extinguished and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 3 p.m.


This report is based on draft minutes provided by Board Secretary Larry Weiner.