April 24, 2020
Dear Beloved UUFRC Community,
I hope this letter finds you safe and well. Along with my fellow board members, We are very grateful for our community during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board has been discussing the many ramifications of our shelter-in-place restrictions. As the situation is changing daily, we are trying to respond in a timely yet flexible way. In this letter I will outline some of the issues we are facing and decisions we are in the process of making.
The Board is also working closely with the Finance and Personnel Committees to make the best plan possible in these unsettled times.
Based on current information, we are extending the building closure to July 1. This date could change as we get additional information from the governor. It is important to be able to realistically plan activities for ourselves and our renters going forward. We will continue our virtual services, meetings and activities through the month of June. The Program Council, the various committees, and the Administration staff, are dealing with what the above decision will mean for the actual functioning of the church.
The annual meeting will move from May 17 to June 14, which will also be virtual. The Communications Committee is working out the details of voting. This new date will allow time to consider different budget plans and hopefully have more information about shelter in place timing.
We still request Committee Reports by May 4, however, to allow for continued planning.
We hope to be able to call a new minister by early June and project an expected date for virtual voting on a new minister for June 7. Information will be shared as available. Thanks again to our excellent and hard-working Search Committee.
Virtual Town Hall Meeting
May 17 is the date for a virtual Town Hall for all to hear about and discuss the proposed by-law changes and to review the proposed 2020-21 budget. By-law changes are needed to formally establish the Program Council. At last year’s annual meeting we voted to create it on an experimental basis for one year. We also have other minor changes to formally establish the Committee on UU Engagement, which replaces the Denominational Affairs Committee.
We have been studying the diligent work of the Finance Committee as it wrestles with the impacts of our building closure. The Finance Committee has done a remarkable job in preparing the best budget possible.
We also want to thank our Pledge Drive coordinators Bob Holden and Alex Stagner for leading an extraordinary campaign during challenging circumstances this spring. We are grateful to all of you, our generous and devoted members and friends, who are supporting our community through your financial gifts as well as your time and talents.
Although we will not quite meet our pledge goal of $300,000, we expect to come close at around $281,000, which is also an increase from last year. Nevertheless, our costs will be greater next year due to the new minister and projected loss of rental revenue. Given this situation, we have established a budget that balances, but with several limitations and use of funds from our reserves. Our reserves exist due to effective planning and budgeting of our predecessors. We have also prepared a contingency budget for a “worst case” scenario in which we actually receive only 80% of what is pledged.
This is a lot of information to process and no doubt many of you will have questions. We will keep you apprised as the situation evolves. Please reach out to me, or any Board member with your questions and concerns.
the UUFRC Board, Steve Hill, President;
Suzanne Griffin, Beth Harrison, David Stoutamire, Chris Stovall, David Vallerga, Stephen Webster; and the Rev. Dr. Gretchen Woods, AIM
April 24, 2020