Committee Reports for FY 2014
Table of Contents
UUFLG June 2014
As the final annual report from me, I would like to thank the leadership team, including the staff and all the other volunteers, for the joint progress we as a congregation have made during the last three years. In a relatively short amount of time during the life of the Fellowship we have been able to build a solid base and accomplish many things which have invigorated the congregation. In gratitude I want to hold up:
OUR PROGRESS TO-DATE
— Re-instituted the Board to be more manageable and directed toward policy
— Increased the functioning and spending autonomy of the committees
— New, flexible website which can easily be updated
— Centralized recruitment, coordination and appreciation of volunteers
— Opened a Facebook Page
__ Revamped the Midweek Announcements with more visual appeal
— Consistent participation of Rev. Fa Jun to supplement ministerial presence
— Spiritual Cafes are a big hit
— Newer people verbalizing appreciation of spiritual content
— Graced by 3 years of a choir adding to the level of worship
— Audio-visual improvements assisting more robust singing by looking upwards to screen
— Sharing our worship with the Center for Spiritual Living and the Youth Group from the San Jose UU Church
-- Increased weekday activities offered by and for members and friends (art classes, soul collage, end of life financial affairs, job fair, spiritual cinema)
— An All Fellowship Retreat at the Brownings home in the mountains
— Revitalized LL program with a Director, followed by a curriculum specialist working closely with our head teacher
— Increased attendance and engagement of our children
— Creation of a Middle School class for better age appropriate learning and connections
— Lifespan Learning conversations on how to grow our children to remain Unitarian Universalists
— Various expressions of the importance of the Fellowship by the children as they feel safe and supported by the staff
— Organization of the storage of resources
— Regular followup on visitors with notes
— Ministerial longer conversations with returning visitors
— Updated new database for tracking members and friends
— Integration of new members into leadership of Fellowship activities
— Instituted a year end donation letter
— Shortened the timing of the pledge drive and made it a more uplifting, creative event
— Increased the pledging by an incredible 13% for last years pledge drive
— In spite of decreased number of pledges, increased overall average of pledges for this year
— Anticipating paying off our mortgage this coming year
— Maintained a balance budget with a building and grounds reserve and one month operating reserve
— Besides the usual support to local community service groups, participated in a UU prison book program with other congregations
— Contributed to both the Creek Cleanup initiative and the Interfaith Habitat for Humanity program
— Early planning for a “Inequality Summit” which UUFLG will host for the South Bay in the fall 2014
— Reorganized Caring Committee to coordinate member needs for additional support and assistance
— New brochure developed
-- Extended ourselves outside our walls to share information, resources and social events with the Sunnyvale UU Fellowship
-- Funded a Special Needs Conference for the District at the Palo Alto Church
-- UUFLG members volunteered last year at the UUA's District Regional Assembly
—Organized and hosted the 5 South Bay congregations at the historic first “Shout Out!” and Picnic
Yes, there are always parts of UUFLG we need to improve and to grow. That is the nature of church life. We have proved that working together we can do whatever we put our minds to. The bigger challenge now is that we need to take the next steps to develop a vision of how we want to make a difference in our lives and in our world.
IMPEDIMENTS TO DEVELOPMENT
Figuring out what this future vision will be is severely hampered by the lack of a healthy, open communication system. This is not new to UUFLG and your historical, unhealthy patterns have recently resurfaced. Whether due to the anxiety of the loss of members or a few people wanting to impose a new direction for the Fellowship and its ministry, blame, rumor mongering and secrecy were imposed on our internal relationships. My ability to remain effective and working as a team was undermined by these accusations. Unfortunately the conflict has reached further to members and committees. We have a serious transgression of our own values of openness and caring. In addition, either undermining committee decisions and not including committee or Board members in an open, collaborative process is a violation of the spirit of Unitarian Universalist congregational polity and governance. We now have several active members who are leaving because they feel unsafe in this kind of environment.
RECOMMENDED NEXT STEPS
There is so much potential to serve yourselves and the greater community if you can get a handle on your communication challenges. My recommendations are as follows:
• Discover what is essential to the existence of the congregation and make decisions that support that vision.
• Make a commitment and hold yourselves accountable to a new open communication process focused on a future that you create together.
• Bring in a process observer and outside resources to help you create expectations and guidelines for improved communications.
• And in trying to work toward a common good with respect and caring, ask individuals and committees first: “How can I help you?”, instead of imposing a personal agenda not well vetted in the congregation.
Finally, I want to thank you for the three years that I have been honored to serve you. I leave with many fond memories and a heart full of the lives, ideas and success we have shared.
In loving faith,
During this past year, several new ideas were tried, such as engaging a Curriculum Development Specialist to provide curricula specifically for us. Another new idea was a paid Volunteer Coordinator to help recruit the many people needed to keep our Fellowship running.
Our office support was reorganized from an Admin to an Office Manager, who updates our new database, among other duties including rentals. For example, the Serendipity Choir was given a favorable rate on the renewal of its rental contract with agreement of two performances for us in the fall and two in the spring. Also, to enable faster updates of existing items and the entry of new ones on the website calendar, access to website calendar was reopened.
Not visible but important, plumbing maintenance was performed to correct impact of our sagging building pressing on a pipe, and the ingrowth of roots. Subsequently, initiated a new Facility Working Group to consider other big ticket maintenance issues.
In a new approach to gather information, small group meetings (eight or so people) were held on three different dates to discuss items about our Fellowship that people wanted to see changed.
Looking forward, the Boy Scouts approached us to see if we were interested in providing a place to hold meetings and establish a Charter organization relationship. The new Board will need to make the decision.
Jim Beebe Board President
UUFLG Annual meeting June 22, 2014
The most visible aspect of what Sunday Programs does is seen and heard in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. We have been blessed to have Rev. Lisa Wiggins as part of the team. She not only provides two services a month from September through June she also provides welcome guidance on monthly theme selection and assists in identifying guest speakers and programs for the 32 Sundays a month she is not leading the service. She encourages new people to join the Sunday service team. She has also taken advantage of our flat screen technology in projecting the Order of Service, hymns and visuals. I offer a shout out to Alan Martin, not an official member of Sunday programs but someone who has provided the visual and audio upgrades to the sanctuary that have enhanced the services.
Dave Coldren is an integral part of the team. He provides excellent musical interpretations and acts as a stage manager making every program move forward as flawlessly as possible. Irving Yabroff heads the sound team that is literally heard but not seen every service. Bonnie George was in charge of chancel decorations for four years. She has recently handed over the reins to Isobel Carson who is keeping up the strong tradition.
The most popular and innovative program introduced with Lisa’s guidance is the Spiritual Café. We are constantly looking for ways to improve this great program. One of the plans for next year is to only hold the Spiritual Café when the weather permits having it on the deck.
Guest speakers are important to the continued success of our Sunday Programs. Rev. Chris Schriner was a regular guest speaker starting in 2010. During this past year we took full advantage of the availability of Rev. Fa Jun who has been an asset. Dave Coldren has provided special Music Sundays. JJ Martin, Katie Rall and I have each created and presented a full Sunday Program. Stacy Rademaker and Robb Stolberg round out the Sunday service team. We are most often seen as Worship Associates on Sunday mornings yet there is a great deal of behind the scenes activities necessary to create a good service.
My thanks to Lisa, Dave, JJ, Katie, Stacy and Robb for providing us a successful year.
Bert Olson, Chair Sunday Programs
Blessings we’ve noticed in the youth program over the last year:
Š Staff teachers Laura Leong and Laura Woods are solid, skilled and reliable
Š There has been a steady stream of youth and adult volunteers in the nursery
Š There is a renewed energy that has been the foundation of a program, rather than just a class, which has brought in more families with children
Š Older youth have more opportunities to talk and share ideas respectfully
Š A few more children and youth are attending more regularly, with more enjoyment of the lessons and the programming
Š Using the west room and the office for class space has allowed us to divide the youth into two development-appropriate groups
Š There has been more focus on Unitarian Universalism and what it means to be a UU
Š “Long Ago” and “World Explorers” programs have been engaging and responsive to the needs of the youth and the teachers
Lessons we’ve learned over the last year include:
Š Laura Woods was great in the nursery, but she’s much better used with the older youth
Š Youth enjoy classes more and attend more regularly when they can be in a development-appropriate groups, instead of the “one room school house”
Š With the above in mind, many youth enjoy the opportunity to work with the littlest children occasionally
Š Having a small group of adults dedicated to one class/group is the only way we can consistently divide the youth into two development-appropriate groups
Some of our major shared hopes for the coming year are:
Š A Director of Religious Education who can be on site most weeks to support the teachers and the adults who volunteer regularly
Š Regular staff in the nursery, perhaps older teens who would be easier to hire rather than trained teachers
Š Programming for a large group of children who are currently in kindergarten
Š Coming of Age and/or Junior High OWL programming, which can only happen by partnering with other congregations or the district structure
Š More project-oriented lessons
Respectfully submitted by Rev Denis Paul, Lifespan Learning Specialist with input from the Lifespan Learning Committee, Katie Stubstad, chair.
JUNE, 2013 THROUGH MAY 31, 2014
• Investigated and promoted Prison Text Book Drive for which $274 was collected during Share-the-Plate. Joined Redwood City UU and Sunnyvale UU in this very successful project. Eventually $1,700 was raised and 18 used educational text books were purchased for Avenal Prison.
• Participated in Rummage Sale to benefit Stand Up For Kids.
• Promoted interfaith project of creek cleanup at site near Sacred Heart.
• Initiated search for Sustainable Agreement .
• Encouraged a congregant's idea of inviting day workers to our Fellowship to better understand their needs.
• In partnership with Building and Grounds, Sustainable Grounds book was brought to our monthly meeting. Discussion ensued about replacing damaged garden markers.
• Our annual Fall Food drive involved the children; they passed out flyers and decorated boxes for the food collection which went to Second Harvest.
• A Job Club was initiated by Carmella Condino.
• Drip irrigation taken care of for newly planted areas due to S.A./B&G team up.
• U.U. Legislative Ministry, CA. information passed to S.A. Team, showing recent actions and planned events.
• Annual Pack-A-Back took place, collecting items, back packs and checks which were delivered to Sacred Heart for needy grade school children.
• A Day Workers' Open House was attended by S.A. members where they were encouraged to hire day workers and to visit the center during lunch to help the workers learn more English.
• Advertisements and a sign-up sheet were made available, encouraging volunteers to attend a Coastal Cleanup.
• The need to re-educate our congregation and new members about our Sustainability Agreement was discussed during a S.A. meeting.
• The Sustainable Grounds Project was discussed and the book showing location in our garden and names of plants was viewed. Some Native plants have been added to the
• Thanksgiving boxes for Sacred Heart were filled and delivered in a successful food drive.
• The food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank went well and some of our children participated.
• Our congregation donated items to go in survival sacks and hygiene kits which were distributed by Sacred Heart. We were able to have help from the children on this project.
• The S.A. participants discussed the possibility of the children having their own S.A. Team. It was suggested that they be shown a homeless shelter.
• An upcoming Creek Cleanup is to be advertised and a sign-up sheet made available.
• Water conservation information from SCV Water District has been received and perused.
• There has been a discussion on the Economic Summit attended by Rev. Lisa and handouts were passed out on Justice Ministry.
• A composting demonstration is being planned.
• A recent Habitat work sign-up sheet had an excellent response.
• Robin Connelly attended the S.A. meeting to discuss NAMI and the walk taking place on its behalf at the end of this month.
The Caring Committee has had a very good year. We have developed and mailed a brochure to each member and friend in our church directory explaining what the Caring Committee does and the name of the coordinator in charge of each area: Transportation, Meals, Visits, Memorial Services, Birthday and Get-Well cards and Phone calls. We have inserted in the Order of Service a Caring Network sheet which explains, again, what we do and it asks the congregation if they know of someone who needs care, if they would like to be of help and the areas where they have an interest. We will be inserting these in the OOS from time to time. All of the efforts made to help our congregation have been given by committee members and they have done a wonderful job. We had a small response to our Caring Network sheet and that will increase with time.
The committee meets every two months and we generally have 8 or 9 members in attendance. Each coordinator discusses how they have helped our church community in the past two months and we learn where we can improve these areas. On our agenda for the future will be a class for our congregation on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and, hopefully, an automated external defibrillator, if we can find a way to purchase one.
MEMBERSHIP AND HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE
2013-2014 REPORT TO BOARD
Membership Committee requests funds for membership database fees, member directory publication, books/brochures from UUA, and miscellaneous membership events. The committee creates, updates and follows procedures to maintain membership list; provides follow-up to visitors; and support New to UU classes. It oversees new member induction ceremonies and database, as well as member recognition (anniversaries, birthdays); creates, updates and adheres to greeting process, and procedures for events like Sunday social hour, Newcomer Desserts, potlucks, ad hoc events; and memorial services (liaison to Caring Committee).
The following actions by the UUFLG Membership Committee in the 2013-2014 Year are presented by category, and within each category, with the most recent action listed first. Copies of documents cited in the report are available, for the convenience of the Board.
- BIRTHDAYS: Fellowship Members and Friends birthdays will be recognized on the first Sunday of every month, in the Order of Service, and all celebrants will be celebrated in song on the same day.
- NEW MEMBER AFFILIATION DOCUMENT: New Member Affiliation document created by Bonnie George and approved by the Membership Committee was approved by the Board on April 16, 2014.
- VISITOR CARDS: Information on green visitor cards will be used to make follow-up telephone calls to visitors; information will be used to place visitors on “Newsletter” list, NOT the “Announcements” list, with an “easy out” (unsubscribe) opportunity.
- PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Report document created.
- VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR: Worked with Rev. Lisa to create a list of duties for a new Volunteer Coordinator position; submitted to Leadership to facilitate posting and hiring for the new position.
- NEW MEMBER BIOGRAPHY QUESTIONS: Created and approved.
- MEMBERSHIPSHIP COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITY SHEET: Updated and approved.
- SPIRITUAL CAFÉ: Instruction document finalized and approved.
- GREETER PROCEDURES: Updated, finalized and approved.
- ANNIVERSARY RECOGNITIONS: Presentations/recognitions acknowledged, on the first Sunday of the month, for every 5 years with UUFLG – i.e. 1, 5, 10, etc. Celebrants will receive flowers.
- MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE HANDBOOK: Created, and includes but not limited to 1) coffee, 2) greeters, 3) database, 4) visitors, 5) follow-up, 6) budget, 7) expenditures, 8) other.
HOSPITALITY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
- SOCIAL HOUR SNACKS: Vote to bring snacks back during social hour, commencing June 15; recommended the snacks be minimal and healthy, (this follows a trial of “no snacks from mid-April to mid-June).
- DINNERS FOR EIGHT (or SIX): The option of brunch or dinner - for either eight or six - at a local restaurant or members’ home - was initiated.
- FAREWELL PARTIES: Planned farewell parties for Rev. Chris Schriner, Rev. Fa Jun (Christian Real), and Rev. Lisa Wiggins.
- ANNUAL EVENTS: A list of annual events, related to membership, was formalized and approved.
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION AND CORRESPONDENCE
- PLEDGE DRIVE: Members who are leaving were identified in the recent pledge drive.
- APPROVAL OF LIFETIME MEMBER STATUS: Recommendation that Doris Boyd and Lee Dugan be approved as Lifetime Members of UUFLG; Committee concurred and requested Board to approve.
- MEMBERSHIP LETTER TEMPLATE: Finalized, approved and sent.
- NAME BADGE PROTOTYPE: A new name badge template created and approved; submitted to Office Administrator; will include Chalice, member first name in large letters, last name, and membership year in right-hand corner; “friends” will have no year noted. Both lanyard and clip-style badges are available.
- BADGES OF FORMER AND/OR MISSING MEMEBERS: Will be kept in a box on top of the table in the foyer.
- MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE BUDGET: Following a review of expenditures, both past and anticipated on an annual basis, a formal request for $300 dollars in additional funds for the 2013-2014 years for out-of-pocket expenses including, but are not limited to, lapel pins, plants, flowers for anniversaries, postage, note cards, and food for Newcomer Desserts.
- FACEBOOK: Totally updated with a 596% increase in readership.
- FLASH DRIVE: Received from Irving Yabroff; all Membership Committee transactions committed to Flash.
- MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE PAGE UPDATED ON THE UUFLG WEBSITE: July 2013
- UU MINUTE – Pending: Proposal Fellowship’s Committees and/or groups present a “UU Minute” once a month, to keep the Fellowship informed about activities, increase visibility of the opportunities that abound. Jim will notify Sunday Programs of recommendation.
Bonnie George, Chair
Annual Report to the Board of Trustees
For Fiscal Year 2013-2014
Plumbing diagnostics and repairs dominated the Building and Grounds agenda and budget this year, and necessitated the use of reserve funds. Due to recurring toilet clogs, and flooding from the restroom floor drains when sinks were used elsewhere in the building, a plumber with specialized photo and radio equipment was hired to locate the building drain line and make repair recommendations. First, the toilet flush mechanisms were replaced. In April, the water supply to the building was shut off at the street so that the building water shut-off gate valve and water pressure regulator could be replaced, since low water pressure was causing poor toilet operation. Most recently, the urinal flusher mechanism in the men’s restroom was replaced. The “low point” found in the main drain line during diagnostics remains a concern, but no backups or flooding have been reported since the water pressure regulator was replaced.
Less technical building and grounds repairs and improvements were carried out by volunteers on the monthly “Last Saturday” work parties. Larger projects completed between July 2013 and June 2014 included completion of a railing along the walkway from the West Room to the deck, staining the play-area fence, repainting the kitchen, building a block retaining wall, and repairs to the steps leading to Blossom Hill Road. Shorter, but equally important work party projects included kitchen reorganization and labeling, creation of RE classroom space in the lounge area, adding shelves to the RE closet in the West Room, and adding doorstops to the most heavily used doors around the building. Thirteen new native plants were added to the grounds in the fall; however, due to drought conditions no new plants were added in spring, as new native plants need much more water than established ones. Pruning of shrubs and trees not covered by the fellowship’s gardening service was done throughout the year; at a recent work party, one group of volunteers focused on pruning while another group worked on reorganizing the attic area.
In summary, 2013-2014 was a productive year for the Building and Grounds Committee, as well (unfortunately) as a profitable one for several professional plumbers.
The UUFLG began the 2014 Fiscal Year on 1 July, 2014 with a Membership approved baseline budget expenditure of $123,997 and anticipated income of $119,736, which would have resulted in a deficit of $4,258 for the year. The year's deficit was planned to be covered from the Operating Reserve, which stood at $18,199 at the beginning of the year.
The current projection for the end of fiscal year 2014 shows an increase in the year-end deficit from the budgeted estimate of $4,258 to $14,155. The projected amounts for the Operating Reserve and the Building and Grounds Reserve at the end of the fiscal year are $4,924 and $6,000 respectively. The amount of the Operating Reserves does not satisfy the reserve objective of the Finance Committee for the Operating Reserves to be equal to one month's average expenditure. The objective for the Building and Ground's reserve of $6,000 is maintained.
As is usual, there have been exceptions to the approved budget as the year progressed:
Š Changes were made in staffing, re-allocating funds from the Director of Lifespan Learning to a Lifespan Curriculum Consultant, engaging a Volunteer coordinator and restructuring the Office Manager’s responsibilities.
Š Rental income increased by $6,000.
Š Janitorial expenditures increased to accommodate our weekly rental.
Š UUA and PCD dues were approximately doubled from $3,066 to $6,278 to pay full fair share.
Š Other smaller increases and decreases occurred to both income and expenditures as the year progressed.
UUFGL received two unrestricted bequests during the fiscal year. A bequest of $5100 was received from the estate of Beulah Pease. The other was from the estate of Virginia Stahl in the amount of $10,000. These are held in a holding fund and will be used to retire the remaining outstanding loan, which has a current balance of $11, 465. The remainder of the bequests will continue in a holding fund to be allocated in fiscal year 2015.
The 2014 pledge drive for fiscal year 2015 did not meet its target of $98,900. The resulting pledge total is $80,996. With the loss of our part time Consulting Minister, Lisa Wiggins, alternate proposed budgets for fiscal year 2015 have been prepared for UUFLG Board concurrence and Member approval. One of the alternatives budgets for a part time Consulting Minister, the other alternative is for the case where outside ministers and speakers are engaged for Sunday services. They will be submitted for approval vote at the June 2014 UUFLG Business Meeting.
In October 2013, the UUFLG Board of Trustees appointed Ann Campbell to fill out the remainder Jim Stahl’s term as Treasurer following his relocation.
Finance Committee Members: Ann Campbell (UUFLG Treasurer and Committee Chair), Merritt Benson, Yvonne Liu, Eric Pierson and Irving Yabroff.