UUSM November Board Meeting Highlights

UUSM Zoom Meeting

The UUSM Board of Directors met Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at 6:45 pm, by way of Zoom.

Online meetingGathering – Beth Brownlie (President)

Eileen McCormack performed the chalice lighting and did a reading about the Third Principle. Members were asked to reflect on their well-being and in accordance with this month’s theme of “holding history.” The group shared the memories which embodied the truest sense of themselves. Some fondly remembered the years with their significant others, their siblings, and other relatives. Others celebrated their accomplishments. Some expressed gratitude that things can change for the better. Several noted thankfulness for Camp de Benneville Pines and the fond memories it holds. There was even gratitude for the simple joys of dancing and singing. Philip Siddons was introduced as the volunteer who will post summaries of board meetings in the News Magazine going forward.

New Members – Norm Richey

The additions of Resa Foreman and Kelly Hatfield have brought our membership to 264.

Standard Reports – Our administrator has been on family leave. We didn’t have committee reports available for this meeting. They will be discussed and approved at the next board meeting. The board approved the minutes of the October 12, 2021 board meeting.

Minister’s Report – The Reverend Jeremiah Kalendae

Rev. Jeremiah spoke on our reflection of the month: holding our own history. He urged us to reflect upon the many lives and ministries that have gifted us with this cherished community. There were services honoring the season of the dead and the lives of those who died this past year. There were sermons about Unitarian Universalist history. The seven Unitarian Universalist principles were summarized as our denomination’s theological and philosophical foundation. He indicated there are UU studies considering adding an eighth principle encompassing our commitment to intersectionality, anti-racism and anti-oppression values.

Our gratitude, he says, rests on the foundation of our ancestors of body and spirit and the great web of being that holds us in worship. This gratitude is evident in all of the services and sharing in the small groups of members and friends both in our sanctuary and in the larger group that attends the online streamed services.

Jeremiah noted that we’ve entered a new worship rhythm, making the preparation and coordination of the services less stressful than earlier in the pandemic. Challenges remain with the limitations imposed by changing weather and the unstable nature of the pandemic.

Certainly, the regional COVID designations of “Medium or “High Risk” force continual evaluations of the safest ways to offer worship. Rev. Jeremiah expressed gratitude for the impressively talented congregational musicians and technical leaders for helping to steer us through the many challenges with skill and grace. Gratitude was also expressed for the leadership of everyone on the anti-sexism, anti-racism, and anti-oppression commission.

Jeremiah regularly meets with our pastoral associates and the caring team to reinforce the importance of self-care. This is how we all foster resiliency in these stressful times. Together, the pastoral associates and caring team are preparing a pastoral mailing to check in with everyone before the holidays.

In a wider community ministry, Jeremiah described his year-long membership on the UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee. This group deals with the hospital’s ethical decisions, often regarding unrepresented patients who tend to be unhoused or transitory. Typically, there is no one available to make decisions on their behalf.

Building Renovation – Abby Arnold

There was a detailed summary on the progress of the building renovations. Plans have been submitted to the city and we are waiting for their response and approval. Their approval will require a small realignment of the path into the Arizona door to aid those accessing the church by wheelchair. The City Planning Department is providing guidance. We will have to modify the foundation, flooring, doors and windows on the Arizona entrance to comply with the building codes. There are also plans for adding a small lift to facilitate accessibility.

Camp de Benneville Pines Update

Karl Lisovsky was unable to attend and present a report at the board meeting, but numerous board members filled in. The camp is undergoing repairs to prepare for the coming colder weather. Because indoor activities will be increasing and to mitigate the COVID risk, they have decided to postpone winter camps until March.

It costs $50,000 a month just to run the camp and they are not getting any income during this time. Their fire insurance soared from $10,000 to $60,000. The camp board is hoping that all the affiliated churches will do their share to raise some funds in support through the matching funds campaign.

Since UUSM is in the midst of our own fundraising campaign, camp lovers are encouraged to make contributions between now and the end of December to maximize the available matching grant funds. Larry summarized how this can be done through the uusm.org website. [Top right: Click on “Make A Donation” / Next, click on the blue “Make A Donation Now” button / Then, scroll down to the “De Benneville Pines Camp” line / indicate your donation amount and in the field to the right, type “Matching Grant Donation.”]

The meeting then went into Executive Session.


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