The following letter, which the Board has given us permission to reprint in the CLM, was sent to the UU WORLD in response to the article in the fall 2014 issue about our church being selected as a Breakthrough Congregation. I signed it, but the content was written with the input and support of several UUCB members. We believe that it is important for our congregation’s historical record and that the factual errors in the article were a disservice to our congregation, past and present.
I recently met with our President Jennifer Skiendzielewski to talk about the many issues that surrounded both the WORLD’s article and our response. We both wish, with 20/20 hindsight, that we had had this conversation before I sent the letter. If we had talked early on, Jennifer told me, an official letter correcting the factual errors and honoring the work and growth of our congregation, especially under the leadership of Rev. Becky Gunn, might have been sent to THE WORLD by the Board. Being open to each other’s perceptions and concerns has reinforced for me the importance of our Covenant of Right Relations and the direct communication it demands.
RE: “Ready for Change: UUA Breakthrough Congregation” in Fall, 2014 issue
While pleased to see our congregation honored, many long-time UUCB members were disappointed with the factual errors about us before Rev. Howell Lind arrived in fall 2008. We rejoice in the growth and positive changes his Developmental Ministry has brought. However, church records do not support some of what the article reported.
*UUCB’s certified membership was 147 when Rev. Lind arrived — not the 110 the article states. Nowhere in UUA’s or our records is there evidence that our membership ever “dwindled to eighty.”
*In 2007 UUCB gave notice to an elementary school in order to return to our long-time practice of renting fewer rooms to a preschool and reclaim space for our growing programs.
*During the mid 2000’s UUCB actively supported a strong social justice program and a thriving Young Adult group (14 members, not 3); spent $17,700 on building and grounds improvements; raised $23,000 to fund employee retirement accounts; and in 2007-2008, paid our fair-share dues and increased mortgage payments in order to pay down the principal.
Yes, we’d been through some difficult times in the early-90’s and 2000’s, but by 2008 we had created a solid foundation upon which Rev. Lind has helped us build so successfully.
Tessa Davis, Archivist, and the following 24 UUCB members
Reed Bailey, Bill Belew, Ginny Black (as member of Archives Committee), Helene Bond, Jon Bond, Alan Davis, Debbie Davies, Jeff Davies, Dianne Ewing, Mary Jean Ewing, Bob Ford, Julie Ford, Sam Fenzel-Alexander, Adrienne Hester, Jim Hester, Nancy Holt, Peter Holt, Judith King (as UUCB member, not as staff), Karen Morgan, Marge Maagoe, Kathleen Newton, Carol Saunders, Laurel Seppala-Etra, and Kay Stevens RE: “Ready for Change: UUA Breakthrough Congregation” in Fall, 2014 issue