Your Board was very busy over the summer! The July 8 meeting began with opening words read by Becky from “Simple Morning Light.” Among announcements, Kathy noted that UUJME sought and received an award of $1000 from our Social Justice Endowment Fund toward support of an interfaith conference, “We Refuse to be Enemies: The Struggle for Peace and Justice in Palestine & Israel,” to be held at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Oct. 16-17.
In his financial report, Treasurer Ward Kelsey noted that we are about $3,500 ahead of pledge collections compared to this time last year; also the $12,000 collected from the Fantasy Auction (kudos to the planners!) would go to the General Fund, putting us over budget by $3,000.
The board discussed reviving the capital project of installing geothermal heating and cooling for our main building. The new heating and cooling system is a green project that would replace our aging heating apparatus, and also air condition our sanctuary. Other capital projects being considered include: installing dropped ceilings and new lighting in the High School and Spirit Play rooms, and painting the Undercroft Gallery.
David presented his Outcome Reports for 2015 and asked board members to look them over. He also reported on his time at GA. Seven people from our congregation attended GA, which is great since it was out in Portland, OR; news that week of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same sex marriage prompted a celebration at GA.
The process for determining the new service time emphasized that we were not merely eliminating the 9:30 service, but moving to one service at a time that does not privilege the established 9:30 or 11:00 time. The vote, which was held during the period from July 26 through Aug. 16, showed majority support the 10:30 time, which was determined at the Aug. 19 meeting.
In further news from the August 19 meeting, Bari read thoughtful opening words from "The Giant Oak Tree.” An important guest, Randy Weinberg, presented the innovative plans of the new Stewardship Team for the 2015/16 pledge campaign. We will hear more about this soon!
In items introduced by the Senior Minister, the Board considered that it would be best not to remove the exterior banner on “Civil Marriage” until we have a new banner to replace it. Stephanie Pawlowski, a member of our congregation, is applying to become a Commissioned Lay Leader. We encourage her effort. A student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Scott Eckes, will begin assisting at the Allegheny UU Church, an arrangement facilitated with David’s help. The next PIIN Action meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18 at Rodef Shalom. The Board agreed to reschedule our regular meeting in order to attend the PIIN meeting.
Another important guest, Steven Mead (our new Director of RE), informed the board of new changes in Pennsylvania State Law for screening of all staff and volunteers working with children, a result of fallout from the Jerry Sandusky case.
Finally, as the Board continues to examine issues related to possible changes in our policy governance structure, in response to our 2015 budget shortfall and losses in participation, we are embarking on a process of consultation to reach out to the UUA for guidance. Both the Board and our Senior Minister will be consulting with the Rev. David Pyle, District Executive for the Joseph Priestley District, an opportunity made possible by the new “regionalization” of UU districts.