Hey all!  I hope your new year is off to a great start.  I know it is at the Church!!!

  1. We had our Annual Congregational Meeting on Jan 15. We had 14 members in attendance.  Board officers for 2017 were elected and are Marla, Chair; Annie, Secretary; Marsha, Treasurer; and Sam S, Member-At-Large.  Michelle also serves on the Board as Minister.  We thank John most heartily for all his work on the Board in recent years!!  :o)
  1. A sign-up sheet will be circulating in the near future for committee involvement. The standing committees of the Church are: Religious Education & Worship, Buildings& Grounds, Finance, Nominating, Outreach and Information Technology.  An Ad Hoc Committee will be completing the application to UUA for recognition as a welcoming Congregation.  To flourish, the Church is open to all the help it can get.  We are “in the black”.  This enables us to operate less in survival mode, as has been the case in recent years, and more in “let’s stay out of the hole” mode and “let’s flourish!” mode!  We want to help the Church flourish for years to come.  This includes people’s money, time, energy, good ideas, participation, availability, reliability, on and on in terms of how to serve.  All of this is, of course, within you own comfort level and ability, but please know that your efforts, good intentions and contributions of any sort are welcomed and truly appreciated.
  1. I sent a copy of the directory out to all the members. I have received a few changes and will give to Jan 31 for any additional changes.  At that time I will send it out again as corrected. 
  1. During the Annual Meeting we approved the motion to apply for recognition by the UUA as a Welcoming Congregation. We will be preparing that application in the near future.  If you would like to be on the ad hoc committee, please let Ree, Marsha or Marla know.  Much of the discussion at the meeting involved conveying that we welcome all.  In my heart I feel that this process is putting in writing how we make a place for the human spirit to find ease.
  1. At the Annual Meeting we also approved the motion to allow dogs in the church service with the following guidelines:
  • Dogs will be on leashes or in carriers while in the sanctuary;
  • Dogs should have all current vaccination on file with the Secretary of the Board;
  • Ask owners before touching a dog;
  • Owner should respect anyone’s fear of dogs and relocate as needed;
  • The pet-friendly area for leashed dogs is the back 2 pews of the sanctuary.  Dogs should not sit or lie directly on pews or carpet;
  • Owner should remove dog if it causes disruption during service or shows sign of aggression; and
  • It is the sole responsibility of the owner to disinfect areas if necessary. Cleaning agents are located in the bathroom outside the sanctuary.  

It is acknowledged that the guidelines may need to be modified as appropriate & applicable as time goes on. 

  1. Please remember that our Church is participating in Interfaith Harmony Month. We have invited (by way of the Interfaith Partners of SC events calendar& notice in the Newberry newspaper) the community to visit us during our 5th Sunday service on Jan 29 at 11:00am.  During that service we will be explaining the various parts of a UU service.  A congregation member will read a summary which will be given to you by Marla about a component of the Service (such as Joys and Concerns), and then we will all experience it together.  Marla is making a list of who will be sharing which part.  Please get with her to sign up if you haven’t already. 
  1. Also in the name of making a place for the human spirit to find ease, the Board has been intentionally attending to & increasing awareness of the need for self-care. We are a relatively small group of people who choose to covenant together to find a spiritual home.  How to best do that?  A key part is to stay mindful of people’s needs & at the same time get all the work done.  This church has all the needs of any facility & at the same time is a place for spiritual nourishment.  What better way for people to be able to give to others than to care for themselves?  Michelle gave a wonderful message on “Compassion Fatigue”on Jan 8.  Please be reminded that we do have an In-reach effort in the church to reach out to each other and as a way to let our needs be known.  Marsha is the In-reach contact person on the Outreach Committee.  We have lots to do as a community, but if we share the load we cannot help but flourish!  You are encouraged to reach out to Michelle or any Board member as needed.  You are also encouraged to serve on the Outreach Committee if you are so moved.
  1. We made another contribution to Heifer International with the cash in the jar on the organ! The Church donated $40 for a share of a sheep, a share of a goat and a Flock of Chicks!!!!  Thanks so much for these gifts so that we were able to make this donation.
  1. We received a very nice thank you note from the Newberry Co Department of Social Services for the Christmas gifts we gave them. They are so very appreciative of what we did.  It is likely that the Director of Newberry Co. DSS will come give a presentation to the Church in the near future about the Foster Care program.
  1. Just a reminder that if you would like to present an idea, concern, issue or suggestion to be considered for action by the Board, the procedure is to submit it in writing to the entire board. Putting it in writing is the most important part.  If you send it to one Board member, it is important for you to know that it will be shared with all other members of the Board.  We do this so that we will all have the same information from you at the same time about the idea or issue.  This procedure is an effort to streamline clearer communication and enhance clarity and feedback.  We function better if we do not have to interpret what you mean (as we could do it inaccurately).  Thank you for your input.  The submission will be considered at the next scheduled Board meeting with a response to follow. 

 Send your email to the following email addresses:  Marla: marlakatcast65@gmail.com;  Annie: harpbridge@gmail.com; Michelle: michelle_wildes@yahoo.com; Marsha & Sam: mderosy@gmail.com.

 Assistance with our thinking on this comes from the UUA website about congregational functioning.  “Carver’s Policy Governance® Model in Nonprofit Organizations”, by John Carver and Miriam Carver, is shared in the Congregational Management – Governance section of the UUA website.  From it the CMUU Board has incorporated the following approach in its operations:

“The board speaks authoritatively when it passes an official motion at a properly constituted meeting. Statements by board members have no authority. In other words, the board speaks with one voice or not at all.  The ‘one voice’ principle makes it possible to know what the board has said, and what it has not said.  This is important when the board gives instructions to one or more subordinates.  ‘One voice’ does not require unanimous votes.  But it does require all board members, even those who lost the vote,to respect the decision that was made.  Board decisions can be changed by the board, but never by board members.”