Deepening Faith. Living Well. Enacting Justice.

President’s Column July 2013

WhitneyWe’ve had a very exciting year at UUCB. Our church has had some significant accomplishments in our social justice work. Immigration Ministry continued its work and led the all church social change events for a second year. We started the climate change small group ministry. We also expanded the Share our Plate program. I’d like to thank George Brandon for encouraging the Board to embrace this program, and to Hilton Fitt-Peaster for leading the charge. Now for 8 months a year, our church gives our entire collection plate—between $1800 and $2200 each month—to a local non-profit organization, making a real difference in our community. More importantly, many of our members have found meaningful volunteer opportunities with these organizations.

Our next church year begins on July 1 and should be another exciting year. With the addition of our ministerial resident, Amy Rowland we’ll have additional support in our social justice work, making connections in our community, and enhancing small group ministries. We hope that our small group ministries engage more of our members into our social justice work, continue to deepen our faith, and help transform ourselves so that we can transform the world.  I am thrilled that the young adults will be leading our all church social change next year focusing on GLBTQ issues for the whole church.

I’m also excited for a few special projects this year as we look at our vision for building use and accommodating our growth. We are so grateful for the Endowment grants allowing us to make sound improvements in the Sky Room and making other building and grounds investments. We also plan to look into our longer term needs for audio/visual and lighting in the Earth Room.

It’s an important time for our faith development program. Thank you to Justin Butterworth for stepping into the Interim Lifespan Faith Development Director role. He helped begin the rebuilding of our children’s RE program, which will continue when Janen Wright joins our staff in September as the Lifespan Faith Development Director. Janen brings great enthusiasm and energy to this position. One on our critical goals for this coming church year is to build a vibrant family and under-18 community so that our children beg to come to church!

We’ll continue to have meaningful Sunday worship that nurtures the spiritual development of our full church and works to deepen our understanding and appreciation of our UU faith. I am pleased to announce that Mary Clough has agreed to chair the committee to bring back the All Church Retreat planned for September 2014.

The community we’ve created at UUCB is much of the reason we come to church each Sunday and do the work of the church through our ministries, committees, and volunteering. This coming year, we’ll build our families group and start new groups for other life stages to ensure that all members feel connected and a part of this community. In addition, we will continue to focus on deepening connections among our members and friends. We want UUCB to be welcoming and provide care for all of those in our congregation, from first-time visitors to our dear wise elders who helped to build our church.

As our church continues to grow in membership and staff, we will feel some growing pains. One area of focus for this church year will be looking at our personnel policies so that we provide support and guidance to all of our staff, especially as we add new staff members this church year. As a congregation, we established five-year goals in the broad areas of church community, worship, lifespan faith development, social justice, and strategic planning. As your elected leaders, your Board of Trustees and I are striving to do what’s best for our church and help us achieve those important goals.

 

As a covenanted religious community in shared ministry with the congregation and our ministry team, we all contribute to achieving our mission and goals. All of us have a responsibility in this shared leadership to help make the change we want to see.

Together we are creating the church that we desire.

I’d like to add a special thank you to our outgoing Board Members—George Brandon and Karen Morgan—who have provided important perspectives in our decisions, discussions, and visioning. Thank you to Caitlin Moore, who has served as Secretary to the Board for 8 years. We look forward to her continued contributions as a Board Member this year.

Finally, I want to thank Jenny Fitt-Peaster as outgoing President. Her leadership this year around the minister decision, revised goals, and staff changes brought many more voices into the discussion, and we are a better church because of it. I feel better prepared to serve as President of our congregation because of the leadership that Jenny, Howell, and I shared this year.

I thank each and every one of you for the all the things you do for our church. We are a blessed community because of you.  I look forward to a fun year!

Yours in faith,

Whitney Wheeless

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