President’s Perspective – Did you know?

By Rebecca Graves, 2020-21 President

Did you know that the board meetings are open? Held each month on the third Thursday, they start at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. You are welcome to attend should you wish. For the past year we have been meeting over Zoom. To attend, simply ask me or one of my fellow board members for the Zoom link or find it on the password-protected Board Information page on our website. Once we are back to meeting in person, you will be able to simply show up at the church for the monthly meetings. We’ll be sure to announce when that happy switch happens.

This month the board will welcome the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson to our meeting as he will be filling in for Rev. Molly while she is on sabbatical April 5-Aug. 2. We are very pleased and excited to have him join us. I, for one, am excited to work with him and learn from his experience.

The Executive Committee, composed of President-Elect Tim Dickerson, Secretary Jan Swaney, Treasurer Jeremy Duke, myself and Rev. Molly, meets the first Tuesday of each month. The focus of our meetings is to decide the agenda for the regular board meeting. We also discuss issues or items of importance to our mission, our yearly calendar, and our congregation.

As I mentioned in my last column, the board, the Building Task Force, and Rev. Molly met March 15 with Rachel Maxwell to discuss next steps on our capital campaign. Rachel is a stewardship consultant who works with Unitarian Universalist congregations and met with our congregation in December 2019. (Remember those days of meeting in person?) We – the congregation and the board – were working through her report and its implications when the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything. (See for the work on this.)

It is daunting to consider changes to our physical space when we have not been in it for a year (longer by the time you read this.) We have not seen each other except onscreen. We have not hugged, touched, laughed together in the same room. Yet we will. We agreed at the meeting that our building will need changing – that the need for this has not gone away.

The need has not gone away, but it has changed. Rachel challenged us, asking: What have we lost? What were we on the verge of that is no longer relevant? What was undervalued before that is more valued now? What has changed? What do we need now? We had an honest conversation about where we are, our concerns, our ideals for the future. Our mission of radical welcome, love, and justice is even more important now. We can’t go back to our previous plan. There is no back. There is forward – and, there is living into our mission. Be assured, we will be enfolding you all into this conversation in the months ahead.

Speaking of money, it is looking as if our budget is coming in under our goal and also lower than last year. The Stewardship Team did an excellent job, and there were circumstances beyond their control such as the pandemic and the realities of an increasingly unequal economy. In light of this, the board will be looking at our budget and financial plan and also congregational growth, guided by our mission and vision. It is early in the year and budget process, so we will be reporting more on this as well.

Finally, save the date, Sunday, May 2, for our Annual Congregational Meeting.