According to the calendar, nine months have passed since the 2019-2020 UUCP program year began. Time flies when you’re having fun, and the past nine months could have been nine years. In reflection, time has had a new metric because of the successes and challenges we have faced individually, as a family, in community, and with our nation. Here, the UUCP Board of Trustees shares a brief reflection on the past year, while setting the stage for our 57th year of liberal religious traditions, rooted in service and social justice.

The 2019-2020 Board goals were to secure a firm foundation in process, deepen and grow membership, complete construction, and assure financial security. Today, our congregation is strong, grounded, and well-equipped to lead into the future. The Board has immense gratitude for the leadership within our teams, groups, and councils, all of which continue to deliver an array of programs and connections across our congregation. Further, the staff show strength, innovation, and commitment to our mission and vision. And then, there is Reverend Christine.

Our new minister. Last year, the ministerial search committee showed the UUCP culture and opportunity to ministerial candidates in search. The connection was made with Rev. Christine and we are so blessed. Christine’s life experiences, talents, and values are gifts in their alignment with UUCP’s mission, vision, and aspirations. The Board worked to on-board her for a long and meaningful ministry with UUCP. UUCP is a large, growing congregation, with passionate members with great energy, vision, and drive. We endorsed strong boundaries for Rev. Christine to assure that her duties did not compromise her personal time, mental health, or physical health. At times, this meant supporting her in saying no. Further, most of these ideas and opportunities have been bookmarked (literally in a notebook) for a not-too-distant date, when resources and time allow. Please note that Rev. Christine’s installation as UUCP’s Minister will take place in that not-too-distant future, given its postponement for the current pandemic.

Fiduciary responsibility. We entered the current program year with a financial hangover. Larry Reed, our treasurer, built a financial restabilization plan with the finance committee to ensure long-term sustainability. Rev. Christine committed to operating on a lean budget, with transparency. We succeeded. Our new chart of accounts is used to record income and expenses in clearly marked categories, which facilitated a more comprehensible budget for next year. The 2017-2020 capital campaign closed with a new air handling system, patio, roof, and parking lot. And not to be understated, our restabilization has made UUCP attractive to multiple lending institutions for a favorable mortgage (as was planned prior to the capital campaign). And we have immense gratitude for our members, new and old, for giving to UUCP in support of our staff, programs, property, and values.

And then the pandemics. The Board is united in our science-based responses to the coronavirus pandemic and the social justice-based responses to white privilege. Our duties revolve around the sustainability of our congregation, both physical resources and people. Consensus was achieved rapidly to move services to a digital platform, expand online connections, and promote a multi-pronged approach for community and pastoral care. We are concerned for your health and well-being, and until in-person gatherings can be adequately safe, online activities will sustain us. Further, the Board immediately resolved to support revised job functions for our beloved staff and maintain their hours and pay.

What’s next. The Board, with Rev. Christine, is watching the health pandemic closely and will develop a clear protocol to re-open campus, when it is appropriate. Campus will not open as quickly as it was closed. The return is likely to be a phased process, which will include a blend of online and in-person activities. As always, the Board and staff are committed to transparent communication. Our 2020-2021 budget has been approved by the congregation to include fair wages for our staff, a website redesign, contributions to reserve accounts, and rational decisions about the uncertainty of the future. The 2020-2021 expenses will be managed lean, and thereby be nimble to respond to changing economic conditions and establish the foundation for future stability and growth. Your new Board will meet over the summer to monitor the current climate and hold a retreat to assess our strategic growth.

Joy. Remember that there is joy. Please find ways to grow and share joy, as these small acts brighten our days.This message supports our goal of regular, transparent communication to share the priorities, actions, and positions of the Board. The messages work in tandem with weekly announcements, monthly Board chats, Board meetings, congregational meetings, and one-on-one conversations about UUCP operations and activities. We offer these updates with humility and in the spirit of transparency. We welcome continued input as to how we can do better.

The UUCP Board is grateful for the congregation’s support and trust. The honor is ours.