UUCP Board Message to the Congregation January, 2020

The members and friends of UUCP welcome all in building religious community, called to share journeys, grow in spirit, advance justice. The Board of Trustees continues to work with Reverend Dance to achieve the goals set in August. The 2019-2020 goals are to secure a firm foundation in process, deepen and grow membership, complete construction, and assure fiduciary responsibility. Today, we are strong and grounded, with deep resolve to show up and advocate for humanity, kindness, love, and equity.
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, monthly Board chats, open questions (year-long discussion topics), congregational meetings, and one-on-one conversations about UUCP operations and activities. We offer the following updates with humility and in the spirit of transparency. We welcome continued input as to how we can do better.
The Board works with Reverend Dance on shared priorities. The priorities include (1) building trust with staff, (2) completing construction, (3) establishing financial structure and process, and (4) re-structuring the membership process. We engage these priorities with transparency, open communication, and celebrate with joy. With limited resources, we have bookmarked many great ideas, suggestions, and ways to live into our vision for the near future.
Operating within budget. Last year, our minister, finance committee, and congregational administrator led us through an intentional budgeting process. Many difficult decisions were made in order to hold true to our fiduciary responsibility. The Board and staff are committed to operate within budget in order to understand true staff, programmatic, and operational costs. To date, we are at or below budget, with an outlook to finish the year strong. The finance committee anticipates a small year-end balance, which continues to stabilize our congregation.
UUCP 501(c)3 Designation. In our 60+ year history, UUCP has never applied for an independent designation as a non-profit organization. In Arizona, all religious organizations are automatically non-profit for tax purposes. An independent 501(c)3 designation creates eligibility for grant awards and employer matched donations. Our application was submitted in January 2020. If your contributions are matched by an employer, please ask how to maximize your contributions through matches.
A financial plan is in place. Our finance committee and UUCP office have implemented new processes for financial accountability, which include separate capital and operating accounts, online banking, and Quickbooks Online with itemized entries. The Board maintains oversight of UUCP finances through financial reports. Our current financial processes and clean records position UUCP with strength to secure a new mortgage to payoff the current mortgage, finance the remainder of the construction/ repairs, and provide reserve finances as part of operational expenses. In the meantime, the UUFP has extended a short-term loan ($200,000) to cover the outstanding construction bills, while we wait for remaining capital pledges and the updated mortgage.
The roof must be replaced. As a consequence of original design and wear and tear, the roof over the west hallway (Johnson room to room 15) must be replaced. The roof is perforated with pipes, pooling water, and is beyond its original lifespan. A temporary fix (tarps) has been applied as a result of the generosity of a member. Demolition of the foam roof covering and covering to slope the roof is estimated at $57,000. Additional plumbing and electrical work is required to complete the job. The Board has planned to cover the roof costs with a $50,000 donation from a member family and the remainder with the new mortgage.
Accessible front entrance plans. The accessible front entrance as the final phase of the construction project is paused. We cannot begin the planned ramps until a new mortgage is secured. The Board is committed to the implementation of the full construction project.
Deeper and wider membership. Our vision and mission will continue to serve our members, friends, and future members. Each UUCP program is instilled with a focus to deepen relationships for existing members and welcome new individuals. The Board helped create a new membership team that continues to evolve programs to welcome new members.
Open Questions. Our governance documents challenge us to explore deep and meaningful discussions in partnership with the entire congregation through a process called “open questions.” These open questions are meant to guide our thoughts and actions on being a community for our time. For the remainder of the year, the Board will find ways to engage in discussions about communication. How does a congregation for our time communicate transparently, effectively, and regularly? Look for coffee hour discussion tables, cottage meetings, neighborhood groups, and more that will lead to a robust communication plan next year.
The Board continues to work for the sustainability of the congregation so that all of us can be justice centered, radically inclusive, and theologically diverse. Thank you for being part of our congregation, showing up for justice, and continuing the living tradition of UUCP.