Board Message to the Congregation Sept., 2020

September 30, 2020
Our 2020-2021 program year is officially underway. Our staff and volunteers redefined the concept of ‘ingathering’ by welcoming us back into community through an online water communion. The response was overwhelming for each of us to know that we love and are loved, especially with the opportunity to see one another through video compilations and virtual choirs. The Board continues to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our staff to deliver meaningful and diverse programming. Our community thrives because of the connections we all hold, and we amplify Reverend Christine’s message to reach out and connect with one another.


The UUCP Board of Trustees continued to meet throughout the summer to stay ahead of decisions and surprises. With immense gratitude, we had no new surprises. In this message, the Board shares the priorities set in our annual board retreat and provides perspective on the near-term future.


During the Board retreat, we recognized that the current Board has little experience in times without tumult. On a review of our present position, we hold many blessings for our financial system stability, our nationally recognized staff, updated facilities, neighborhood groups, and strong program offerings. Details and process improvements remain to be addressed with deliberate systematic approaches. To this end, Rev. Christine drew on her decades of facilitator experience to guide the board from grand wishes to tangible goals for 2020-2021.


The primary Board goal is a deeper community engagement for all members, friends, and future members. To achieve this goal, we lift up the membership team in developing new resources for members new and old to learn about Unitarian Universalism and UUCP. To raise awareness about ongoing programs for members and prospective members, a communications plan and website redevelopment are required, and underway. And, given our online programming for this year, technology and electronic access is critical to eliminate barriers to participation. As the Board focuses on the members of our community remaining connected and in communication, the teams, committees, and programs will benefit from improved communication and outreach. Each member of the Board brings their time and talents to achieve these measurable goals that elevate our community this year and assure continued hybrid (online and in person) programming in the COVID-free future.


Fiduciary responsibility. We start the 2020-2021 program year with online financial systems transitioned from the prior structures that sustained UUCP. At the present time, UUCP holds a new long-term mortgage, with favorable terms and rates, from Notre Dame Federal Credit Union. The previous mortgage and temporary loan from the UU Foundation of Phoenix have been paid off. The chart of accounts clearly identifies income and expenses across categories, which permits accurate and comprehensible budget planning. When the Board and Rev. Christine prepared the 2020-2021 budget, the pandemic added many unknowns. Our congregation approved the budget as provisional, preliminary, and under constant review in order to address our fiduciary responsibility and assure stability. Similarly, our personal situations were more uncertain months ago and hopefully have stabilized. If you have not yet declared your annual pledge to support UUCP, we’ll reach out shortly as our balanced budget depends on accurate pledge commitments. In the coming months, the Board will review the budget to allocate resources to online programming and technical support, because budgeted line items for in-person programs are no longer necessary. We welcome you to attend the Board meetings and announcements will be used to keep you updated.


Return in person. The Board remains united to protect the health and welfare of our congregation. The outlook remains to continue online programming throughout the 2020-2021 program year. After that time, hybrid programming may be available to deliver content to members in their preferred or available format: online or in-person. Throughout the year, the Board and staff will monitor best practices and advice to develop plans to re-open in person, while continuing with online access.


While campus has been closed, dedicated UUCP members and staff share their time and talents generously, and primarily behind the scenes and screens. Our dedicated Member Community has grown in number to continue to build and strengthen the Congregation – which shows now and will continue after COVID is behind us. We are a congregation of individuals (your whole self), who serve on diverse teams (from the Safety Team, Tech Team, and Building and Grounds Team to the Racial Justice Collaborative, Choir, Outdoor Group, and Children’s Ministries), to embolden a progressive congregation for our time.


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, 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.


In closing, the UUCP Board is working on priorities that maintain our leadership. Leadership means that we serve and we pledge to live in the world that we envision, not to meet others’ metrics. We are grateful for the congregation’s support and trust. The honor is ours.