Fast-Track COVID-19 Budget Review Task Force

In mid-April 2020 and about a month after we began experiencing the effects of the pandemic here in Colorado, we received a message from our Pacific Western Region  UUA representative: “Resist the temptation to do more. Do less. I am pleading with you to slow down and take very, very good care of yourself. That is the warrior thing to do. Conserve physical, mental and spiritual energy so that when you get this virus you can survive. That is your job right now. To survive… If it doesn’t have to do with community, caring, or communication, let it go.” 

In his introduction to UUCB via Zoom the following month, Rev. Jeremy acknowledged “We’re going to have a weird year… it will affect everything we do.” Prescient? Yes. An understatement? Absolutely.   

On his first official day at UUCB, Rev. Jeremy asked the Board to review the 2021-20 budget in light of the many changes we’d already experienced (the ongoing pandemic, Rev. Eric’s departure, Beth’s Elliot’s resignation to pursue her dream of becoming a minister, just to name a few) and to imagine what’s possible for the rest of the church year. What needs more funding? What will happen less? What won’t occur at all? The assignment: “To recast this church year as one that can’t be normal, making it an excellent opportunity to reassess and to reprioritize with the goal to be ready to really hit the ground running with a new settled minister next summer.” 

We quickly established a task force including both Ministers, the Executive Committee, Board Secretary, and members from the Finance Council, Stewardship Council and Personnel Committee. First the team reviewed UUCB’s 2020-2021 strategic priorities- especially considering the emotional and spiritual needs during these unprecedented, challenging times. Based on this assessment, they identified the many existing and planned activities and programs. That same weekend, Sunday’s service focused on the “Unknown Unknowns” where folks were invited to share via Chat what was most important to them in this church community. Several key themes emerged: great worship, social justice, connections/community, lifespan faith development, and being stewards to the future. 

With these themes in mind, the Task Force identified two personnel-related needs: restoring Rev. Dana to 100 percent time and increasing Debra Hammond’s current hours to support organizing worship tasks that ministers were handling. Both of these have been implemented. Additionally, because of our significantly increased reliance on technology to stay connected, we will be upgrading the UUCB network infrastructure and the phone system, adding closed-captioning services to Zoom events, upgrading Office Administrator Amy Szen’s “UUCB North” virtual home office to handle the workload, and purchasing a new laptop for Worship Ministry. These projects are currently underway and are important investments in our infrastructure. 

Next steps? Monitoring implementation progress and a final review to ensure we’ve captured and addressed the key priorities and tasks. Stay tuned for updates in the next few months. 

Many, many thanks to the Task Force members who joined us (Executive Committee  (David Hughes, Jim Rowe, Chris Zanoni): Revs. Jeremy and Dana, Ed Self, Burton Lee, Carol Teal, Catherine Marsh, Paige Henchen, and Cathy Edwards!