Tuesday Talk 8/27/19

Animal Blessing
Hello First UUers,

Allie Bonsteel here. I’m back for my monthly Tuesday Talk as Board Chair.

In late July, several members of the Board gathered at Carolee’s house for dinner and conversation to wrap up last year and welcome new Board members. Over grilled hamburgers (or veggie burgers), salads, dips, pickle chips and lemonade, we shared stories about the past, talked about what’s going on in our lives now and, of course, the conversation turned to the Board’s plans for the coming year and beyond.

This past Saturday morning, we had the fall Board retreat. We met for a little over 3 hours in Room 8. We started with a quick check-in where I shared how well my oldest, Pierce, did during his first week of Kindergarten and others shared what they had done over the summer. We then moved into an activity lead by Lisa Brandt where we shared one value we were bringing with us to the retreat. I shared that I was bringing patience. I chose patience because I need to remind myself that not everyone is in the same place I am. Among other things, it takes patience to bring others along with you in a conversation. Others brought experience, clarity, integrity and wonder–just to name a few.

We then discussed a bit of scheduling and general Board business. We then reviewed the Board covenant with a bit of discussion. You can review it here on pages 6 & 7 of Governance Policy.

Now moving to the meat of things, we discussed a video that all attendees were asked to watch in preparation for the retreat. You can find it here. This helped us focus on the task at hand–setting appropriate goals for the coming year.

We spent quite a bit of time discussing this model and how the Board and staff can have a healthy partnership. In the end, the Board decided on 4 goals for the coming year:

1.     Host conversations.
**The first Board town hall will be 9/29 during the NEW! middle hour. This month’s topic will be: How can we, as a congregation, better create community through nurturing?**
2.     Make necessary updates to policy to create a solid framework to make decisions.
3.     Strengthen the relationship with the congregation.
4.     Support the Vision of Ministry.

The framework of the Vision of Ministry was decided on and the details are being worked out over the next month. In short, the Vision of Ministry will focus on 3 things:

1.     RE-imagine, RE-engage, RE-commit to our religious exploration programs.
2.     Engage the congregation in new and different ways.
3.     Change the conversation around generosity.

We spent the remaining time talking about things at are working well at our Church and things that aren’t working so well. Who are we? In what ways are we living out our Mission? What is our Church culture and what does it say about us? Can the congregation trust Church leadership to hold others and ourselves accountable? How can we be more transparent? This conversation will continue throughout the coming year. I hope you’ll join us.

A few other things you need to know about…

We ended the last fiscal year much better than expected. Not only did we end the fiscal year with a surplus of nearly $27k, we also wiped out our ongoing deficit that was continuing cause of heartburn for those that keep a close eye on our books. Thank you very much for getting your pledges in! Yes, there are challenges ahead, but this puts us in an excellent position for the coming year!!

As many of you know, Tony Rice passed away this summer. He was slated to serve as Moderator for the next two years. Heather Pierson was also elected this past June to serve on the Board of Trustees. Heather has tendered her resignation to me due to ongoing health concerns. Please keep her in your thoughts. The Board is working with nominating committee to fill these open positions. Both will be filled for the coming year via Board vote per our Constitution.

The Board’s first business official meeting of the year will be held on 9/25. Board meetings are open to all. Minutes of our meetings can be found here. As always, I want to remind you that most Board members are available at church on Sundays and at our e-mail address, board@firstuucolumbus.org.

There are many exciting things happening at First UU this fall. Remember that this is a community we make, not one that is made for us.


SHOUT OUTS! and Reminders

Animals – And their humans
Thanks to all who brought their dogs, (pictures of) cats, bearded iguana, and horse – yes! a horse!!! to our annual Animal Blessing. It was a lot of fun and everyone got along and there were even a few howls at all the right moments. If you want a feel good video about the health value of having a dog (it’s good for your heart), click here. If you would like a copy of Rev. Marian’s 7 Principles for Pets, or “How to Tame Your Human,” simply reply to this email or send a request.

This weekend! Labor Day campout (sign up NOW, details below)
1-1/2 weeks: Water Communion (9/8)
2-1/2 weeks: RE classes begin (9/15)
2-1/2 weeks: Middle Hour begins! (9/15)

What’s Middle Hour? It is an exciting mix of Forums, Socrates Cafés, Learning Labs, Incubator Groups, Creative Space, Table Top Conversations, and more! It all begins between services on Sunday, 9/15 from 10:10–10:45. More info coming!

It’s time to register for RE classes
Thank you to all who registered already, if you haven’t yet here’s the link. Classes begin September 15th; there are OWL and COA orientations before that so get your info in as soon as possible!
Any questions contact Christine.

Teachers and RE Volunteers needed!
Answer the call to teach: help our children and youth explore Unitarian Universalist values! You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be willing to learn alongside our young folks two Sundays a month! For more info, contact Amber.

Sing a Song…Join the Choir!
Do you like to sing?  Have you ever sat in a service and thought about being a part of the choir? Spirit of Life Choir, which sings at the 9:00 am worship service, and Chalice Choir, which sings at the 11:00 am service, consist of members of all backgrounds and experience levels–from professional musicians to those who simply love making music with friends. We have singers who read music very well and some who have very little experience reading music, and everything in-between! Both have a great time together learning a variety of musical styles. Spirit of Life Choir rehearses Tuesday evenings, 7:00-8:30, and Chalice Choir rehearses Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:30.

There are terrific opportunities for youth to sing as well! Rising Voices is the choir for older youth and Peace Pals for younger youth. Rising Voices meets Tuesday evenings, 6:30-7:00 and Peace Pals on Sunday mornings, 10:10–10:35 (during Middle Hour).

All choirs are open to anyone interested. For more information contact Brandon Moss (Director of Music and Chalice Choir), Michaela Jones (Director of Rising Voices and Spirit of Life Choir), or Barb Fisher (Co-Director of Peace Pals).

Care Giver Support Group – Organizing meeting 9/24
Because several of our community have found themselves in the unfamiliar role as caregiver, we are forming a new support group for caregivers (spouses, parents, grandparent, special needs children, friends, etc.). The first get together will be at the Rusty Bucketon North High on September 24th at 6pm. We will each pay for our own meal. We will have the private room which holds about 20 people (sign-up required). This gathering will be organizational to decide what type of group or groups will be most beneficial, a regular meeting date and time, and format.
For more information and to add your name to the list, please contact Sylvia via email, phone 978-317-0013, or during coffee hour on Sunday.