Message from the President – Karen Fisk – March 2019

Hello friends,

The Board has embraced the idea of Task Forces—small teams convened for a short time to address specific issues or challenges. Unlike a committee, these task forces have finite goals, although a committee or ongoing initiative might grow from their work together. Currently, in addition to our awesome Ministerial Search Task Force, the Board has convened three task forces

  • The Pledge Drive Task Force—comprised of Jeanne Ballantine, Susan Rice, Peter Lacey, Dave Huber, Susanne Personette, and Rachel Peterson, with help from Lynne Latham;
  • The Safer Congregation Task Force—comprised of Lisa Cyr, Casey Flueckiger, Rob Fuderich, and Rebecca Fricke;
  • and The Outreach, Integration, and Retention Task Force—comprised of Catharine Porter, Jeanne Ballantine, Pat Rector, and Rebecca Fricke. (Please forgive me if I left any names out)

The Pledge Drive Task Force will bring forward the message and materials for our annual canvass, which will launch with a special worship service March 3. Our hopes and goals are no less than sustaining this beloved community which serves not only those who gather on Sundays, but also an ever widening circle of people who are discovering the transformational message of Unitarian Universalism—a faith that supports the idea that we need not think alike to love alike: a message of common humanity in this much divided nation.

The Safer Congregation Task Force, which has been convened before in order to create and update our Safer Congregation Handbook, is specifically looking at how to update our procedures to include active shooter precautions and to secure our building by changing our keys and creating a system for regularly changing our entry code. This is hard work. Contemplating Safer Congregation policies means imagining terrible scenarios in order to help prevent them. We are so grateful to this capable team for helping to keep us all safe—and the Board is grateful to the entire Congregation for staying aware of our policies and helping, always, to protect each other.

The Outreach, Integration, and Retention Task Force grew out of two separate letters sent to the Board containing observations about how to make new members feel more welcome—which of course meant we were not doing the best job at that task, a very important fact to know so that we can work to fix it! The Task Force has grown to embrace not only welcoming new members but also integrating those wonderful new people into the workings of the Congregation and helping all members and friends stay here with us. The “outreach” part of their title refers to efforts to employ adult programming as a tool that not only serves our own members but recruits the attention and involvement of those in the larger community.

This task force defined “retention” as the need for the UUSA to pay deep attention to the lives of our members in ways that are so meaningful that people will want to remain as part of this vibrant, evolving community. Of course that is what we are doing every day through our various ministries from the extensive pastoral care we share with our congregation and larger community, to the mitigation of climate change through our green sanctuary initiative, to expanding our understanding of the pervasiveness of white supremacy through education and discussion. And yet, we can always do more.

Each of these task forces allows us to delve deeper into specific goals, and each is working in concert with committees such as the Finance Committee, the Pastoral Care Committee, and the Membership Committee. Each of these committees along with others help sustain the consistent good work of our congregation. Without them, we could not thrive as we do.

The Board is grateful to the good work of our Congregation through committee work, task force challenges, showing up on Sunday to worship together, and simply (or complexly) embodying and enacting our Unitarian Universalist faith every day with every being we encounter.

Yours in faith,

Karen Fisk

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