Our congregation votes on by-laws, budgets and important actions at our annual meeting, traditionally held in the sanctuary on a Sunday in early June. Your board typically hosts Congregational Forums prior to the annual meeting, to share information, recommendations and facilitate dialogue and member input which benefits informed voting at the Congregational Meeting. These meetings are the foundation of governance for our faith community.
Clearly, the current situation does not afford us opportunity to meet in our traditional way so – welcome to yet another way we are virtualizing MDUUC. Get ready for Virtual Forums and a Virtual Congregational Meeting in June. Here is what you need to know.
We will host two Virtual Forums. The first of these will be informational with, recorded next week and posted online by month’s end. Members will be sent a link via e-mail to access it for basic background information on financial issues facing the church. The second Virtual Forum is scheduled for Sunday, June 7th at 1:00 pm via Zoom technology. The link to join this Forum will be provided ahead of time and members attending will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input on the content shared. Church Treasurer – Chris Carter – will share information on both our current financial situation and the outlook for the year ahead, including an update on our pledge campaign and monies committed to date. This is in preparation for member vote and approval of the budget for fiscal year 2020 – 2021 which starts July 1st.
Our Annual Congregational Meeting will be held virtually as well – using Zoom to enable member participation and vote. We will open the Congregational Meeting at 11:30 am after a brief worship service on Sunday, June 21st. Instructions and the link to join will be provided ahead of time. This is a voting meeting so we will need a quorum of members to attend in accordance with our Bylaws. The proposed agenda for the meeting will include the following:
- Approval of the Minutes from the January 19th Congregational Meeting
- Lead Minister’s Report
- Treasurer’s Report
- VOTE: Approval of the Church Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021
- VOTE: Approval of the slates for open and returning Board of Trustees, Legacy Committee and Nominating Committee positions
Please mark your calendars for these important dates:
Virtual Forum: Sunday, June 7th at 1:00 pm
Virtual Congregational Meeting: Sunday, June 21st at 11:30 am
We look forward to your virtual participation in governance!
We Are Better Together—
Navigating our Path Forward Through Shared Ministry
In February 2020, MDUUC’s lead minister, the Rev. Leslie Takahashi, alerted MDUUC’s board of trustees to the coming safety threat posed by the coronavirus and began preparations for transition to more virtual worship and community connection. Members and friends saw a gradual transition from March worship services broadcast with ‘normal’ flow and procession from the sanctuary to May’s livestreams from individual homes, incorporating live ministerial meditations and homilies, with recorded music and messages from lay leaders.
Because the congregational worship has been live streaming for years (a component of its ‘Make it So: 2020’ vision to offer central programming with ‘spokes’ of outreach), MDUUC was well positioned for the (still challenging!) shift to livestream for its central worship service, despite the significant stresses of a pandemic threatening membership. Similarly, years of foundational strengthening of shared ministry have well served the growing congregation’s pastoral needs, financial and programmatic needs from justice work to campus repairs to communications, even in these stressful times.
Today Unitarian Universalist Association president Susan Frederick-Gray made a call for UU congregations to stay physically closed until June of 2021. You can read it here: https://www.uua.org/pressroom/press-releases/message-uua-president-updated-guidance-gathering. We know many of you received this communication which was designed for congregations throughout the nation, including many places where restrictions were lifted quickly. Know that your board of trustees in conjunction with our Lead Minister are working on defining MDUUC’s continued path through this stressful time and will bring to you, our members, a considered recommendation our approach on a more staggered basis, in keeping, as we have for months, with the recommendations and guidance of health, safety and state government authorities in our area.
What is clear is that worship and especially live speaking and interacting in larger groups poses a continued risk and will continue to do so until a majority of people can be vaccinated against this virus. We thank you for continuing to support our virtual services and activities which provide the way we can continue to be together right now. We are so fortunate to have the resources we have to enable this virtual approach as many other congregations do not. If and when local restrictions ease, our ministers and staff are developing a great collection of ideas including virtual music programming, on-campus self-paced spiritual renewal activities, musicality seminars with our talented musicians, a renewed network of small groups and more.
The can-do ethic which has guided us through March and April and now into May will guide us through these months ahead, especially if we remember our shared commitment, our mission and our values.