Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene
Order: Ministerial, Board Committees, all groups listed by Ministry alphabetically.
Table of Contents
About This Annual Report………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……3
Ministerial Intern Committee
Ministerial Intern Report
Financial Oversight and Review
Lay Pastoral Associates
Religious Education Lifelong Learning
Small Group Ministries
Health Care for All Oregon
Oregon UU Voices for Justice
Food for Lane County
Whole Church Initiatives…………………………………………………………………………………………………..28
Earth Equuity Panel
Earth Equuity Food Project
Earth Equuity Refugee Sanctuary Project
Buildings and Grounds Committee
Physical Stewardship & Administry Collaboration
Emergency Response Team
Financial Oversight and Review
2017/18 Annual Appeal
Interim Music Director’s Report
Music Director Search Team
APPENDIX (not included in this draft)
Annual Appeal Cottage Meeting Feedback.
Please note that the Reports are arranged according to the 5 Ministries: Administry, Connecting, Outreach, Stewardship and Worship preceded by Ministerial reports
Our UU movement holds in co-creative tension our first and seventh principles: the unique individual and our universal interrelationship. On the personal level, to be part of this progressive religious faith is to learn the skills of cooperation, self governance and insight. The end of my annual report of my fourth year here ended with two recommendations: that “each person here be willing to consider: What has been my relationship with UU ministers; how have I participated in the turnover of ministers at UUCE? And recommends that together, minister and congregation, we ask “How shall we know when a developmental ministry is near an end and how shall we know what another emerging ministry might be.”
I have been invited by the UUCE Board to serve a fifth year as your Developmental Minister. Because the Board and congregation have worked so hard and with such heart, I was able to accept the invitation. In my fifth year, our mutual focus will be to address UUCS culture toward (1) covenantal inclusivity, (2) weaving multiculturalism into church community and (3) transformation that is both centering and sustainable. Unpacking the meaning and potential of these goals – and operationalizing them – feels energizing and life-giving. And for another year, it feels as though we are building the bridge we walk upon one step at a time. Let me take this moment to thank your 2016/17 Board of Trustees from the bottom of my heart. Emoji here of deep appreciation.
It is once again my intention to address the restoration of integrity in the relationship between UUCE and the UU ministry.
Everything is built on what came before, and this past year continued our partnership through our original Letter of Agreement: to address the culture of generosity, welcoming and respect.
This is a generous church in time, talent and treasure. If we look at how many events people have attended this year it is well over 400 person-events. Dedicated organizing and participation by members, and a high average pledge all bespeak UUCE generosity. I am gobsmocked on a daily basis by your persistent goodwill and commitment, as you all enter these halls with rejoicing. Gardens too. And through bringing this faith into the larger garden — the world — in so many amazingly creative ways that our religious commitments can be expressed.
I coordinated the annual pledge drive this year, with the team of Lesley Rex, Isaac Priere and Barb Kellogg. The Annual Appeal Report is included in the Stewardship Ministry section. Thank you, 165 pledging households, Cottage Meeting hosts and attendees, and Followup Folks!
The capacity for welcoming has expanded this year with Faith Forward programming which I was delighted to bring to the church and see flourish. May thanks to Rob Barnes who has stepped in to coordinate; and to the hearty band of facilitators, presenters, hospitality and Board folks – and all faithful attendees — who have made this first year fly. Especial thanks to Katy Siepert and Andy Chirch for going the extra mile, and to the Dallas UU church for developing the program itself. It is anticipated that next year will continue and expand Faith Forward programming.
I have appreciated the continuity and persistence in working with Membership Chair Erin Troberg and Faith Forward coordinator Rob Barnes to develop a team which addresses systemic and coordinated support for Welcoming and Membership endeavors, including both Rob and the office handling data needs. The year ends with continued development of a Membership Coordination role.
Anecdotally, it seems that church members and attendees are increasingly diverse in background and circumstance, age and perspective. The challenges for longer term and newer members to meet and get to know each other continue; and I see people making heartfelt efforts in reaching out to one another. There is indeed a need to provide even more venues for engagement – while Small Group Ministries, after-service food and entertainment, Faith Forward, increasing special interest groups, music and religious education continue to be radically hospitable.
And too, the building itself offers a way to be welcoming. Three days after the US election, 400 people were accommodated for an ACLU event which filled the sanctuary and social hall. We extended to the President of the NAACP the free use of office space, and rejoiced as that group found a home downtown. Fundraising for Standing Rock and coordination with Families United bespeak our mission and aspirations. We have hosted Interfaith Clergy luncheons. This month of June will welcome Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Motzkin-Rubenstein for a Sunday service.
Welcoming our participation in the wider UU movement, the congregation was pleased to greet the Rev. Keith Kron, UUA Director of Ministerial Transitions, both to the pulpit and for an extended meeting with the Board. We note with sorrow and gratitude the death of UUA Moderator Jim Key who graced us with his humor, commitment and institutional wisdom last year when we hosted his workshop and welcomed the 2 other congregations who participated. This spirit of caring and inclusion with our wider movement was furthered by Rev. Rick Davis, minister to the UU Church in Salem, who along with the Salem Board President facilitated the UUCE Board retreat last September. Rev. Jill McAllister from Corvallis facilitated the Oregon UU Voices for Justice Board retreat which was held at UUCE in June.
And who can forget the amazing honor of hosting the daylong conference for Pacific Northwest District Assembly in February! It was important to see our congregational polity at work, and especially in the three candidates of UUA President. Our Regional Lead James Kubal Komoto, Regional Staff Tandi Rogers, Sarah Schurr, Jan Christianson and Debra Hold as well as UUA financial staff Katherine Morn; amazing music, the hardworking goodwilled and skilled UUCE organizers Emmet Band, Poppi Lockridge, Morgan Rosemarin and their magnificent helpers, along with Susan Hendricks and helpers from Corvallis, and District Administrator Diane Brinson, all made for an important and heartfelt event. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to serve on the District Board, and on the Regional Advisory Council in order to strengthen and deepen our congregations and their combined association. I see my work there as assisting in the discernment of a particularly Pacific Northwest contribution to our national and international religious presence.
Respect has two aspects: covenantal right relations and congregational organization. Structurally, respect has been promulgated by the Board’s initiative, under President Sarah France’s guidance, to develop charters for the various endeavors at UUCE, which clarify leadership and structure in service to the UUCE Mission. That the year has revealed places in which Board Policies, UUCE Bylaws and actual practice can all become further integrated is an indication of the goodwill and strong spirit which has characterized UUCE to me this year. As always, sensible structure enables respectful interactions.
In the spirit of gentle inquiry, openhearted curiosity and high adventure, I note that there are 4 patterns which UUCE seems to repeat. If as a longer-term member you have a sense of “Oh no, here we go again” or as a newer member or participant you experience a head-turning sense of disjointedness, please consider your experience an important contribution to a Loving Self Awareness Project. Looking at church history and particularly the last 30 years of minutes and Conflict Mediation Reports, as well as conversations with individuals and groups, I hope to de-fang any sting by giving names to patterns. I muse, somewhat imprecisely perhaps, on things I have both personally experienced and are seconded by these, the UUCE history book or other sources recounting Universalist, Unitarian, and Unitarian Universalist presences in Eugene.
This is not unlike having in-jokes at work which are so familiar that all one need do is call out “Joke # 36!” and everyone chuckles. It would be my hope to name 4 patterns which have caused difficulty, with a corresponding alternative to consider from the literature of Resilience and particularly Resilient Congregations. I thought of colors, or of names like hurricanes are given – Alice, Felix – but settled on the alphabet: please consider, for your reflection and feedback, A, B, C and D.
- The Run-around. This manifests as giving leadership or the minister authority, and then doing an end run which pulls the rug out from under them. It appears as an unconscious, default return to a Fellowship/small congregation mode. The resilient skill could be to ask, how can I respect the larger whole, and deepen my knowledge and analysis of the current structure? Personal reflection could include asking, Where is trust? To whom do I belong?
- This good thing can go astray when untempered by reason, perspective or respect. A resilient approach might be to consider that while each individual is cherished for their true selves, the commitment to holding the church steady as a religious organization is vital if it is to be a strong web, an embrace, a safe holding container for depth, reverence, variety and the spice of life. One aspect of passion is that decisions have been made according to who is the loudest or most upset; another that people are attacked at deeply personal and moral levels. The emotional sophistication and vibrancy here can also be used, it seems, to go for the jugular. A resilient approach might be to deepen the mission to transform ourselves through emotional and spiritual work. How can church process, practice and structure express the passion of our religious commitments?
- Healthy boundaries. What’s that? Resilient congregations are versant with these concepts: triangulation; confidentiality; territoriality; triggering, and others from the field of Systems Theory. The catchphrase in family systems is that the most healthy approach of each individual can be to “differentiate, and stay in contact.”
- Hating mistakes so much, in fact, that they are anathema. Sometimes OK in others, never in oneself. Great lengths are gone to, to avoid error. Or sin, as if our very identity was at stake. Here is what I observed in history and practice: loss of perspective; loss of memory; confusion that settles in like fog; anxiously reviewing the same ground over and over – or the other side of the coin: avoidance; a pervasive sense of Something Being Wrong. These and other aspects are sometimes correlated with traumatized individuals and traumatized systems. Resilience suggests telling the stories with truth and forgiveness, and beginning again in love. Humility, mercy and compassion are invited. Congregations committed to their mission are resilient in the face of the ills to which all humanity is heir; the larger perspective is a lifegiving spirit and lifts us all.
I am particularly heartened and delighted by the Board’s hard work this year to write a Covenant Curriculum, for all participants in UUCE to enjoy starting in the new church year.
The culture of respect, welcoming and generosity is strong at UUCE. It has been a gift beyond measure to be allowed to minister with you.
Transitions this year have touched all aspects of church life. The staff weathered cuts and restorations in compensation. Matt Kosanke retired after 11 years as Custodian. Bob Smith serves as Lead Custodian and looking to hire one more person. New this past year is Office and Rental Coordinator Jen DelRosario, who has been great. Our Interim Music Director Camille Lively is moving on, and her accomplishments not only musically but as an Interim are deeply appreciated. Ministerial Intern Andy Chirch ends his internship with UUCE in August, a success for this Teaching Church and for him. I will be going to 2/3 time in 2017/18 for health reasons, and bringing on a Congregational Life staff member. A new Director is being auditioned and will hopefully be determined by July 1st.
Magnificent work on the part of Treasurer Dave DeCou will be missed, as will be Board members Isaac Priere and Secretary Nadja Sanders. The leadership of President Sarah France has been strengthening, inspiring and full of heart, and although it will be missed, she is clearly leaving a vital legacy. It is of import, I think, that most if not all of these people have commitments for vibrant continued involvement in the church. Hurrah for lay leadership, the backbone of our religious movement!
Together we mourn the loss of irreplaceable and beloved members Rev. Bjorn Olsen, and Rodger Schomaker. We also provided memorials for longer-ago member Jack Turner, and for the grandson of Betty Taylor, William Han Manstrom-Greening.
Together we have withstood the national political situation with community building, lamenting together, finding solace and humor, and strengthening of our principled lives. Together we have found meaning in denominational changes and the work of caring, justice and community.
Worship is central to my delight in ministry. The thematic approach which integrates the different programs of the church was focused this year on the UUCE Covenant of right Relations. In my years here, we have examined line by line our UUA Principles, the UUA Sources, the UUCE Mission, the UUCE Aspirations, and even the concepts in the Children’s Recessional song. I am delighted by the way this approach has brought the church together.
This year cultivating an overall operational perspective with work in Worship, Stewardship, Connecting and Outreach Ministries in that order have been my focus. I conduct weekly Program Staff and Op Team meetings.
Personally, I continue to rejoice in the love of my growing family and dear friends. I have learned much from UUMA Pacific Northwest Chapter Professional Days, Prairie Group Theological Study (where I presented this year, an honor!), and a seminar on Interim Ministry, and from BLUU and other denominational work on white supremacy, as well as from skilled and inspiring staff and volunteer staff — here at UUCE, regionally, nationally and internationally. Thank you for this privilege of mutual ministry.
Respectfully Submitted, Rev. Dr. Sydney A. Morris
Ministerial Intern Commmittee
The purpose of the Intern Committee is to support UUCE’s ministerial intern and most importantly assure a successful internship. We evaluate the intern’ progress and development during their time at UUCE. We act as a sounding board for the intern, and discuss progress and concerns with the goal of completing the internship evaluation form that is a requirement of the UUA. The UUA evaluation is completed at the midpoint of the year and updated and finalized at the end of the training cycle and sent to the UUA.
The UUCE Intern Committee as it is presently configured consists of the following UUCE members: Emmet Band, Jon Miller, Robin Schantz-Mulford, Lesley Rex and Jo Victoria. Emmet and Lesley co-chair the committee. Our current intern, Andy Chirch, has been meeting with the committee on a monthly basis since August 22 of 2016.
Report from the Ministerial Intern
From the moment I learned I was to be the ministerial Intern at UUCE, I was excited. Looking back as my yearlong internship is nearly complete, this was even more rich and rewarding and experience than I imagined.
I am responsible to the UUA and to my seminary (Starr King School for the Ministry) for seven core competencies. They are:
- Worship and Rites of Passage
- Pastoral Care and Presence
- Spiritual Development for Self and Others
- Social Justice in the Public Square
- Serves the larger Unitarian Universalist Faith, and
- Leads the Faith into the Future
With the guidance and support of Rev. Dr. Sydney Morris, our Board of Trustees, office and worship staff, and the many dedicated volunteers who make UUCE happen, I am happy to report I have more than satisfied the requirements of this internship in each of those areas.
Some highlights were: opportunities for regular preaching, leading Adult RE classes and workshops, raising awareness of the power of our privilege and using that power to affect change in the world, and incorporating technology (live video broadcasting) of our worship services.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Lesley Rex, Emmet Band, and my entire internship committee for their continued support and guidance. This support has enabled me to learn to integrate my previous work and professional experience while discerning my unique emerging ministerial identity – exactly what one hopes for in a successful internship.
I am proud to say I have been a part of this teaching congregation, and am thankful for the many gifts I have both received from this community and have shared with it.
The primary role of the Membership Committee is to welcome and inform newcomers and to help members and friends find a home at UUCE. The chair of the committee (currently Erin Troberg) is appointed by the board and is responsible for reporting to the UUA each January the current number of voting members. This number is used to determine the assessment of dues for the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Pacific Northwest District. This church year the number reported to the UUA Directory on February 1st 2017 was 270 voting members. For the Annual Meeting of 2017 we report voting membership of 280.
Membership assisted in the Faith Forward program and presented information every eight weeks on The Meaning of Membership as part of the eight rotating topics covered in the series. Chair Erin Troberg, Rob Barnes for Faith Forward and Rev. Sydney met weekly throughout the church year for collaboration, cooperation and creative problem solving. Cacophony only occasionally.
In collaboration with the office, the membership rolls are reviewed every week; if necessary, research and corrections are made. Three New Member Welcomes were held throughout the year.
Next year we would like to focus on membership retention and engagement. New member Rebecca Miller has joined in and will be facilitating the Welcoming Team. The possibility of a Membership Coordinator is being explored.
A total of 39 new members were welcomed into the congregation (last year was 23).
The chart below records membership numbers reported to the UUA since 1980. As of June 2017, this year’s RE number is 165, and adult membership is 278.
Financial Oversight and Review (FORC)
Appointed by the Board of Trustees
The FORC meets on the third Monday of each month. Responsibilities include review of the most recent Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet, noting substantial variances between actual and budget, discuss reasons for any variances. FORC is also responsible for review of financial policies, and designated donations, and making recommendations to the BOT on financial matters.
We have worked closely with the treasurer to ensure proper coding and projections on income and expenses to ensure accurate information to the board. We lost one of our longest-term members, Lori Maddox, and have made some efforts to recruit new members.
Recruit and train at least two new members so that we have adequate coverage during any absences of members, and to develop / maintain historical knowledge of church finances.
Members: Dave DeCou, Treasurer, Olga Turner, Phyllis O’Neill and Katy Colburn.
Appointed by the Board of Trustees – responsible to the Congregation. The Endowment Trustees are looking forward to a new year with new Trustees. In addition to Marta Powers and Olga Turner, Phyllis O’Neill and Susan Verner are starting as Trustees this June. We are looking forward to working on better communication with the office and church members in order to expand knowledge of the Endowment and facilitate growth.
Endowment Beginning Balance 6/30/2016 $27,510
Endowment Balance 5/15/2017 $30,181
The Communications Task Force (CTF) was established in January 2013, and has met intermittently since then, chaired by church member Dick Loescher. The charter (charge, mission statement, or goal) of the CTF is to develop and implement policies and procedures related to communications (electronic, paper, and verbal) within UUCE, and from UUCE to the wider community, in order to support implementing the UUCE Mission Statement. The CTF members are church volunteers who participate according to their interests for as long as they are willing. Existing CTF members recruit others to help as the need arises. The minutes of the CTF on the UUCE website document the attendees and specific discussions and decisions made regarding multiple topics. The CTF does not have a budget.
Current members of the CTF include representatives of the Sunday handout/Weekly eBulletin editorial team (currently Dick Loescher as lead editor, with Janet Barnes and Frankie Hill as proofreaders), and the newsletter editor (Bonnie Koenig).
Members of the CTF also collaborate with church office staff and professional staff regarding the Sunday handout/Weekly eBulletin and the Weekly Meeting and Event Calendar (which lists all church and rental events). Currently the church web calendar is maintained by the Office Coordinator. Church volunteer editors submit a draft of the Sunday Handout and the Weekly eBulletin to the Minister (Rev. Dr. Sydney Morris), the Office Coordinator (Jennifer Del Rosario), and the Business Manager (Wayne Parker), who do the final editing and prepare and distribute the final versions. Since September 2016 the Weekly eBulletin has been sent each week on Friday using the MailChimp format that allows for inclusion of images, and also has links to the Sunday Handout, the monthly newsletter, and other links. That email distribution list currently has more than 1000 recipients.
The church website is managed by Business Manager Wayne Parker, who collaborates with several church volunteers for input. Additional volunteer help would be welcomed.
UUCE also has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube postings. We are looking for people to help with these methods of communication.
UUCE CONNECTIONS Monthly Newsletter. The purpose of the newsletter is to be a source of information in words and photos to members and friends about church activities. The content includes a listing of upcoming sermon topics, and articles about educational, social, service, and other activities offered by church ministries. Messages from the Minister, the Intern Minister, the Board President, the Director of Religious Education, and the Music Director are regular features. Primary distribution is in electronic format. The newsletter is posted on the website, and also is distributed via a link in the Weekly eBulletin. A limited number of printed copies are mailed to those who have requested them through the office, and printed copies are also available at the visitor’s table at church. A plaintext electronic version, formatted to be interpreted by screen readers for the blind, is provided by Bonnie Phipps, and can be requested from her. The current newsletter team is Bonnie Koenig as editor, and Nisco Junkins, who does layout and graphics. Anyone, including from the youth group, is welcome to submit newsworthy information and photos of UUCE related activities.
Dick Loescher, Chair, Communications Task Force
1 – Awareness – increase the visibility and participation in church activities, in conjunction with the Communications Task Force, the Newsletter team, A/V/ Team and others
2 – Rentals – manage community use of the building and create increasing revenue
3 – Building – manage the use of the building, and continually enhance its appearance and effectiveness as a church home. This is done in conjunction with Building and Grounds, Landscaping, Community Art Gallery Committee and others.
4 – Finance – help manage the finances of the church, working with the Treasurer, Financial Oversight Committee and others.
5 – Data – an important function of the church is to track members, visitors and others regarding their support, interests and participation. Many people are involved in this, starting with the Minister and extending to many volunteers and staff who are managing the software programs and other elements.
6 – Other – part of Administry is supporting other Ministries in a variety of ways, whenever they come up.
All of this is possible of course only as a result of having a quality, inspiring Sunday service and RE program that inspire people to return to church.
Some elements of the Awareness program:
1 – Awareness – new programs have been instituted to help increase awareness of the church as detailed in the following. A primary goal is to increase attendance and participation in church activities.
A – Video – church services can be powerful experiences that are worthy of being preserved. In the past audio recordings were made and then available on the church website. In recent years video has become the leading media form, with YouTube now the number two search engine on the web. As a result, in the last year we have been video recording most church services, working out the technical kinks, buying the necessary equipment for the following purposes:
- Short video introductions to promote upcoming services
- Video excerpts used after the service on the web, social media, eBulletin, etc.
- Live chapel video – this is a way for fidgety kids (or adults)
Now video for the first time in the past year video recordings have been made of most services
B – Social Media – a Twitter account has been created and used to provide short updates and alerts to people about church activities.
C – Web Site – a new web site was created in the latter half of FY ‘16 and has continued to add new features.
D – eBulletin – a new rich-media Weekly eBulletin was begun in September 2016 to replace the listserv version that had been going out before. It provides the ability to include images and video, to track responses and other advantages.
The content for this is gathered, edited and proofed by the Communications Task Force that includes Dick Loescher, Janet Barnes, and Frankie Hill. The eBulletin is built on the long-standing work of Martha Osgood and others who distributed church information weekly via other means.
Here is an example eBulletin that currently is sent to 1,027 people each Friday.
And an example of the reports that are available.
This chart shows response and click-thru rates for each week’s eBulletin.
Next steps – continue to test variations of color, content and themes to steadily improve reading and response rates.
2 – Rentals
A number of new systems have been put into place that have reduced the staff time devoted to rentals while increasing revenue. The results of that are showing up in FY ‘17 with rental revenue for the first time exceeding $30,000.
Another major benefit of the rental program is having more community members in the building, to help introduce them to the church and perhaps a first look at Unitarian Universalism.
3 – Finance – The team in the office which works on our financial system is: bookkeeper Dorna Baumann, office coordinator Jen DelRosario, Treasurer Dave DeCou , volunteer Judy Shaw and Business Manager Wayne Parker. The overall professional handling of finances as well as the details of changes and corrections are managed each Tuesday with the full team working together and by each as the need arises.
4 – Data – the church uses an electronic database and part-time staff and volunteers to track all aspects of financial contributions to the church. On a weekly basis contributions are entered, along with any information changes and new contacts. Availing ourselves of Corvallis UU member Kathy Byrzinski, a membership report has produced on a weekly basis since February.
Goals for FY ‘18 include:
- Continue to refine the reporting and tracking process
- Provide more support for fundraising activities
- Systematic support for membership activities such as the ability to track the interests, engagement and inclusion of visitors, friends, members and young people.
6 – Other
Currently office hours are 10am to 2pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Faith Forward: From Visitor to Leader is a program for adult learning produced as a subscription service by the First Unitarian Church of Dallas. The Faith Forward Core Path consists of the following modules:
- Faith Forward Inquirers: An 8-session curriculum designed for visitors, new congregants, and UUs wishing to review elements of historical and local interest about Unitarian-Universalism and UUCE. This program was initiated in summer, 2016 and completed its 4th cycle on 4/30/2017. These sessions are offered on a continuing basis and include the following titles:
- Q+A with Minister
- UU History
- UUCE History and Campus Tour
- Faith Development
- Seasons of the Year & Liturgical Calendar
- Social Action & Community Service
- Pastoral Care & Small Groups
Attendance per session has ranged from 4 to 26, with a median of 11 attendees in the 34 sessions for which we have collected data.
Since the first completed cycle on Inquirers, the number of lay facilitators has grown from two to eleven.
- Faith Forward Beyond Inquirers: A 5-session curriculum designed to provide greater in-depth information to new and established congregants in small group discussions usually facilitated by ministerial staff. The sessions are comprised of:
- What Do UUs Believe?
- Is This a New Religion?
- How Do We “Do Church”?
- How Do We Live Our Values?
- Does it Matter if I Join?
- Faith Forward UU Elevator Speech: A 3-session course in which participants are encouraged to produce a synopsis of their personal description of their UU faith which could be provided to another person in the time of a short elevator ride.
- Faith Forward UU History 101: A 6-session course covering the lives and periods of importance to the development of the modern Unitarian-Universalist faith and the principles developed as tenets of that faith in the modern era. This program is currently finishing its first cycle and will be repeated in sequence with Beyond Inquirers/UU Elevator Speech.
It’s been another good year for the UUCE Community Art Gallery……One highlight was Greg Wilbur’s sculpture show…..He is an internationally known artist who has been interviewed by OPB’s Oregon Art Beat and has work in collections all over the world including Canada, Europe and Japan……Another prominent artist, Mike Beckie, featured Olympic art….He is currently working on a commissioned sculpture of Pre Fontaine…..Our 3rd annual March International Youth Art Month Show included over 75 students……We have expanded to a 2nd wall and added a bench and guest book making a sanctuary within a sanctuary…..The gallery has been selling more art work and it is with pride that we continue to contribute money to our church…..
Thank you all! Scott Hovis
We are the Morning Doves. We define ourselves as a breakfast group
with a birding problem. Every Tuesday morning at 8am., we gather at
a pre-arranged location in the Eugene/Springfield area. We are
composed of advanced and novice birders. All our regular members are
happy to share their knowledge with any newcomers. We follow up our
birding adventure with breakfast at a restaurant near our birding
site. Weather plays a big role in the length of time that we spend in
Anyone can join our group by going to: firstname.lastname@example.org. , or by
contacting Mike Berg, 541-357-3145. We have no leadership structure.
I, Mike Berg, am the person who is responsible for the weekly email,
and any other correspondence between members. We are a true democracy
and all decisions are made by group consensus.
At breakfast, we take up a non-obligatory collection of $2.00 per
person. In the past year we have raised about $500.00 for the UUCE
We strive to meet with the general mission statement and covenants of
the UUCE, but I would add this: We honor nature, we respect each
other’s abilities, and we refuse to take ourselves too seriously.
Thank You MIKE BERG
Church attendees have indicated an interest in staying after church to participate in a variety of activities. Those include entertainment (thank you, Ardea Eichner, Sue Craig, Bob and RuthAnne Fraley and the entire fabulous Earth Day gig), bagels & etc. – type food (Rev. Sydney) and food trucks (Wayne Parker), chatting and general schmoozing as well as organizational meetings and Faith Forward classes.
Hospitality team is assembled from volunteer congregants when there is a memorial service and, occasionally, a wedding. Charlotte Writer coordinates. There is a check list and a manual for this. We had six memorial services and one wedding that this team was convened for this year. Goals for 2017-2018: Actively seek a hospitality coordinator or a person who will act in that role should the current coordinator become unavailable. Additionally, we really need a kitchen coordinator and team! Ongoing organization, laundry, refrigerators and care of things like tablecloths need attending to.
- Our mission is: To bring practical comfort to those members and friends in our congregation who need help. We work in tandem with Lay pastoral Associates and provide concrete assistance to members and friends of the church in the way of durable medical equipment, driving, companioning, short term housekeeping, shopping. We will schedule meal assistance using the take them a meal program. We also help folks to research assistance available in the community such as Ride Source and senior services.
Last Spring Kindness Team was expanded and two new folks were oriented to the program: Pat Franck and Laramie Palmer; Charlotte Writer and Bonnie Koenig were already active team members
During the late fall, a situation developed with one of our elderly members who lives in a rural setting owns property and has significant dementia. Pattie Holtz happened to be present when this situation presented itself. Due to her expertise in property management and the fact that she had a good relationship with this person, Pattie became the newest member of our team. She has spent many hours in advocacy for this person and because of her targeted intervention this person is in a safer situation today than she was last year. I have acted as backup for this situation when Patti is not available and when she requires a second voice to keep this person safe and on track. Patti will have formal training with us at our fall meeting and become a formal team member.
Pat Franck has worked with two persons who needed post-operative assistance with daily activities or emotional support while making medical decisions.
Bonnie stands at the ready to do scheduling, phone work, set up meal assistance and will do shopping for those that need that.
Charlotte has provided companioning for medical procedures and rides for persons unable to use public transportation.
Kindness team helped 6 people this year. Durable medical equipment was loaned out 8 times.
Two goals for next year are: orient two additional persons for kindness team and have information review in September/October 2017.
Lay Pastoral Associates
Lay Pastoral Associates is a ministerial program to provide a confidential, caring presence to congregants undergoing stressful life challenges. The leadership team consists of the Rev. Sydney, Sally DeCou, Sally O’Donnell, and Janice Rutherford. This team along with the rest of the LPAs meet once a month for seminars. The leadership team has met monthly to plan seminars for ongoing training of LPAs. Some of the topics we have covered are:
- 2 books by Kate Braestrup – Beginner’s Grace and Here If You Need Me
- 2 White Bird trainings to help with people in crisis
Other Lay Pastoral Associates are Phyllis O’Neill. Daniel Blades, Peter Powers. Over the course of this year they have made. Over this year they have been in contact with 21 congregants making a total of 46 visits and 26 phone calls. We also held one training for two new LPAs.
Empowered by love, we transform ourselves . . . through creating and sharing our poems. We offer topics to inspire. We offer critique in a caring, positive environment, meant to help us each grow in the depth of our thinking as well as the skillfulness of our writing. We work to empower individuals, and to make the group a safe place for each person to open their heart.
Spiritual exploration and growth through the creative act of writing poems; sharing, discussing and critiquing each other’s poetry in a safe community environment.
We currently have 3 active poetry groups (25 people total) which meet monthly to share, discuss and critique each other’s poetry. We are in the process of offering a 4th group.
We publish a poetry journal named Changes to which any member or friend of UUCE is invited to submit their original unpublished poems. (It is not necessary to be in one of the poetry groups to submit.) The next issue is planned for fall; we will have it available for sale at church in time for Christmas. All proceeds after cost goes to UUCE general fund.
We had one combined meeting of all three of the poetry groups for a presentation on publishing by a local poet and publisher.
Because the groups need to be a small size to function so that each person has time to share and receive critiques of their work, the three current groups have been open and closed at various times. This year we added 4 new members as spaces in current groups became available. As contact person for the groups, Bonnie Phipps maintains a waiting list of those who requested to join. We are currently (through Unshared and the church Newsletter) offering a new group that will meet on Saturday. Bob Coleman has volunteered to facilitate that group.
Katy Siepert writes:
The 2016-2017 church year brought with it many new challenges and changes to the RE program at UUCE. This was the year we rolled out SpiritJam, and after a full year of programming, I am confident that this model is a sustainable one. Having a steady team of reliable, paid, trained teachers means that we have been able to bond as a faculty, work together with one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and create jam sessions that correlate closely with the theme of each Sunday’s sermon.
For next year, I would like to develop “taking it home” thoughts and ideas for parents to use as a communication tool with their young person, to better integrate the message of SpiritJam into weekday family life.
Also for next year, more integration with the middle school youth group. This year, we started middle school youth group back up in March, with the help of the incredible Shane Nelson and additional support from his wife Emily, Rich Margerum, and Laura Lawver. Shane is committed to helping with middle school again next year, and a hybrid model of paid staff and volunteer staff is the model we are considering as we move forward. This year, middle school had a consistent showing of 6-8 participants, every other week, although the mix of who was participating changed from week to week, which is to be expected with this age group. On “off” weeks, participants more consistently participated in SpiritJam as a result of establishing the Middle School Youth Group.
Children and Youth Religious Education continued to draw between 50 and 70 participants each week, with equal percentage of distribution between youth group (34 registered, about 1/3 of this number in class each week), SpiritJam (78 registered, about 1/3 of this number in class each week), and Preschool/Infant Toddler class (41 registered, about 1/2 of this number in class each week). Our total registered children and youth is 165 as of this report.
Teacher Priscilla, who was brought on to the SpiritJam Faculty in December, moved to Washington at the end of May and she will be missed. We will look for a new SpiritJam Faculty member in August. Teacher Sean and Teacher Ezra continue to create the base of our teaching team, along with myself, each Sunday.
Youth Group continues to be supported by a dedicated team of volunteer staff: Amber Alexander, Mike Hoekstra, and Eric Swanson, with support from Laura Lawver and Erik Troberg (see his Con report for more details about his work with us).
Adult RE has been wildly successful this year, with classes offered ranging from Soul Collage and Singing as Spiritual Practice to the White Supremacy Teach-In and UU History! The range of topics has been very well received. At the mid-year point, we had 110 participants in RE, as compared to yearly total of 93 from the previous year. Now, the number has grown to 215 total people served by the Adult RE program in the 2016-17 church year. I hope to see that number grow in the next year, with solidification of the Faith Forward format and a new rotation of workshops and classes for people to choose from. It is also my hope is to bring Adult OWL back to the congregation next year, a well-attended and impactful class led by Nadja Sanders and Jon Miller in 2015-16.
Other accomplishments in the 2016-17 church year:
- Your DRE, Katy Siepert, lead a youth advisor training for the PNW Region, along with youth Isaac Prier, having been hired by and contracted with the UUA for this purpose.
- Middle School OWL, organized by Katy Siepert and facilitated by Amary Taylor, Eric Swanson, Patti Hansen, and Wes Flynn, brought in 24 youth – some UUs and some youth from outside the church. Non-members were charged a $100 program fee. In this way, the program earned the church $1,700.
- High School OWL, facilitated and organized by your DRE Katy Siepert in conjunction with leadership and facilitation from partner churches: 1st Congregational, 1st Christian, and the Methodist church.
- The holiday pageant, an ecologically minded pageant that explored the relationship between holly and ivy in the natural world and their uses for magic and medicine by the ancient ones, had 12 youth and 2 adults participating in the pageant itself, with many more helpers who created the set, props, and costumes for the event.
- Parent’s Night Out: Pajama Jam at the Drive In was a huge success in terms of numbers: 22 children participated in creating their own cardboard cars, and then “driving” them to the chapel drive in for a pizza, popcorn, and movie night. We will charge more for this event in the future (4 hours of childcare for $5 was under-funded). We are thinking $15 per child for the next event, but we know that there will be a next event, and that is exciting!
- Cob house building is now well underway again as the weather has improved. We are working with consultants from Firespeaking – Max and Eva have over 15 years in the business of earthen building techniques. They recently assessed our site and were very impressed with what we have accomplished thus far. They will be working with us on an intermittent basis as we work on building community over the summer months.
- Childcare staff has held steady and monthly staff meetings have helped to cement our bonds to one another as a staff. Childcare staff has been asked to step up and fill in gaps in other areas of the church (custodial, office, etc.) and they have responded with willingness and eagerness to support the work of the church in this way.
- Monthly co-creator labs with church volunteers to create jam sessions have included people from the age of 7 to the age of 77, and everyone in between. We have had guest leaders an average of two weeks each month, and adult participation every week in SpiritJam – Jeanne Marie Moore participated in Relay Jam and said that for the first time in her life, she was allowed to play relay games. She won 2 points for her team in the javelin throw competition!
Eric Troberg writes: The 2017 UUCE High School Youth group was heavily involved with PNW District Youth Conference activities, with a heavy presence in both attendee and leadership roles. While each youth Conference event has a different focused theme, the principles of Radical Inclusivity, Spiritual Depth, Religious Infectiousness, and Youth Leadership are carried throughout.
- The year started off with the Pacific Western Region Youth Revival, whose focus was “Engaging Spiritual Practice”. Eugene sent two youth to Portland for this event, which explored active methods for building and invigorating a Youth program.
- The first “big” Conference of the year was the annual Fall Con, held in Randle, WA in late October. The theme was “PaUUse”, which explored the themes of stillness, silence, and solitude as spiritual practices. This theme was especially successful, as one stated goal was to extend the Con tradition of Radical Inclusivity to people who consider themselves Introverts and Ambiverts. As usual, Eugene had the largest contingent of attendees. Eugene also had multiple Youth in leadership roles, including Dean (Sage), Chaplain (Amanda) and Worship Coordinator (Sierra).
- In November, Eugene sent three youth (and helped transport two WA youth) to Vancouver, Canada, for “SoUUl Food”, the Canadian Regional Conference exploring the role of food in our economic, social, and spiritual lives. The Youth loved it: the smaller scale of the Canadian Con culture helped the youth develop closer relationships with their Canadian Unitarian cohort, as well as explore the theme more deeply. Also, they got to go to Canada!
- In March, two Eugene youth headed to University Unitarian Church in Seattle for the SPAG Retreat (Social Political Action Group), whose theme was “What UU Can Do”. Our Youth continued to build on the relationships they have forged with the larger Con community to plan for active implementation of UU values.
- In April, the annual Spring Conference was held in Springdale, Oregon, where our eight bridging seniors began their journey into young adulthood. As is tradition, Eugene sent the largest contingent of youth, including the Dean (Sierra) and the Worship Coordinator (Amanda). The theme of “RUUts” was especially relevant considering the issues around biased hiring on a national level within the UUA, and the deep exploration of race and identity continued the UU Youth Tradition of thought leadership on the issue of race.
- To cap off the Year, our own Amanda was Dean of Cluster Con in Corvallis, where we sent six youth in May. Cluster Cons are focused on building and maintaining Youth connections between local congregations via smaller, more frequent Youth events.
Overall, this was a very successful year, with our youth blossoming into leaders for the future, building on past successes, and having a blast in the present.
Small Group Ministry
The charter (charge, mission statement, or goal) of the Small Group Ministry (SGM) program is to build community by facilitating connections and understanding among people, to promote personal and spiritual growth, and to provide service to the church or the larger community.
For church year 2016-2017 there were three distinct SGM series. In the fall of 2016 there were two different 6-session SGM series that followed the SGM format, but did not do a service project. One group focused on the topic “Death and Dying,” and was co-facilitated by Intern Minister Andy Chirch and by SGM steering committee chair Dick Loescher. Eleven people participated. The other group focused on the topic “Transitions,” and was co-facilitated by UUCE members Lauren Bailey and Susan Bertrand, with assistance from Intern Minister Andy Chirch. Ten people participated. That group decided to continue meeting for a number of additional sessions on their own outside of the SGM program. The evaluation forms filled out by both of those SGM groups indicated a high degree of satisfaction with and appreciation for the program.
The regular SGM program series consisted of ten 2-hour sessions from January through May 2017. Fifty-three people registered, although some dropped out before or at various times after the program started. We started with 6 groups, with one group subsequently disbanding due to small size and scheduling conflicts. Slightly less than half the participants were first timers, and many were new friends or new members of UUCE. The overall theme was the UUCE Covenant of Right Relations. The titles of the sessions were: 1 Getting Acquainted, Review of the SGM Program and Covenant; 2 Religious Community; 3 Gratitude; 4 Compassionate Communication; 5 Honoring Differences; 6 Hurt; 7 Forgiveness; 8 Making Amends; 9 What Do We Celebrate?; 10 Leave-taking.
The facilitators this year were: Laura Adams, Janet Barnes, Nikki Frank, Al Landy, Dick Loescher, and Connie Newman. The SGM steering committee members were: Bonnie Koenig, Dick Loescher (chair), and Connie Newman. Each group did a service project, which this year included: volunteering at Food for Lane County; helping with the UUCE library project; helping prepare and deliver sandwiches for the Earth EqUUity/Community Court sack lunch program; helping with landscaping at church; and writing cards to people in a memory care facility.
We anticipate that the regular SGM program will continue in a similar manner in the future, with registration in October and November 2017, and with groups meeting January through May 2018. There also may be one or more, shorter SGM series focused on a particular topic. Details will be made available as the plans are developed.
Dick Loescher, Small Group Ministry steering committee chair
College Hill Handwork & Chat Group meets second and fourth Mondays. Bring something to sew, knit, darn, or just yourself, for tea and talk. Contact Sigrid Jones for the location!
Quilting for a Cause. Meeting every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month in Rm 6 from 2-4pm, starting June 22nd. This group is open and is looking for women that may or may not have quilting talent, are enthusiastic and want to lend a hand. We are focusing on making quilts for the St Vincent Homeless Teens Project at this time. We are looking at creating packets for you to take home and bring back when completed. If you have questions, please contact Barbara Flitcroft 503.704.4105 (texting is best).
The Spirited Sisters group is an open group and one of several women’s groups in the church. We welcome new members at each meeting. The group provides a place to meet other UU women and talk about topics of interest. Often we have a topic or a set of questions to guide the discussions.
We meet on the third Thursday of each month. Currently the meeting is from 1:45 to 3:15 in the afternoon. Meetings are held at the church. At present I am the “informal leader” but we rotate responsibilities as needed. Decisions are made by majority vote although we strive for consensus. We do not have a specific covenant but we do rely on the church covenant of “right relations”. We do ask that confidentiality be maintained.
From Bob Coleman: the men’s groups in the church (there are 2) are open to all men, both in the church and to those who are not. open discussion is encouraged, giving each man a chance to express their ideas, freely. all thats required to join the group is to show up at one of the meetings, every wednesday, 7 pm, in room 7. people are not required to sign up, so if one wishes to leave, they just dont continue to come….it is good to let the facilitator know if you have been coming, that you wont be there…each group, there are two, even wednesdays, odd wednesdays, has its own facilitator, bob coleman on even wednesdays, jim kayser on odd wed. any significant decision is made by the group. in jims group, the discussion topic is chosen from a list by jim, in bobs, the topic is chosen by the member who is helping with the facilitation on that wed.
our main requirement is to be civil in the discussions and to maintain privacy “what is said here, stays here”
The 2016-17 church year saw great response to the monthly community offerings. From September through April, we raised $11,410 for a diverse group of recipients. Our congregational contributions supported refugee justice, low- or no-cost veterinarian services, addiction recovery, and access to healthy food, environmental issues and girls making music. See the complete list and amounts at https://uueugene.org/outreach/community-offering/, including links to information about past years of the project.
The gratitude of the recipient organizations is humbling. An example is the reaction of the coordinator of the “That’s My Farmer” low-income fund when she learned the amount we raised: “WOW!! That’s amazing…very, very generous. This will make so many families very happy!!”
This year, the Community Offering Committee added new members who have grown its capacity to carry out its function. Tasha Ashworth, Ron Milton, Phyllis O’Neill and Cynthius Scanlon have joined Valerie Elliott, Gretchen Miller and Marilyn Milne. Our committee does not have expenses that impact the budget.
The members of the Community Offering Committee are honored to give the congregation the opportunity to practice generosity while helping local, regional, national and international groups as they carry out our faith’s principles.
Marilyn Milne, Chair
The Fair Trade Coffee Cart offers for purchase a selection of organic coffees, teas and chocolate products. We are open most Sunday mornings, after the Sunday service. Products are ordered through Equal Exchange, a worker-owned, fair trade organization that works directly with farmer cooperatives to ensure that the farmers earn a fair price for their crops.
Sale and purchase of fair trade organic products exemplifies the 1st UU Principle (the inherent worth and dignity of every person) and the 7th UU Principle (respect for the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part).
All profits from the Fair Trade Coffee Cart go to UUCE’s General Fund.
Currently there are four to five regular volunteers. Every Sunday two of them are scheduled to staff the Coffee Cart. Decisions are made by the group. Scheduling and ordering are coordinated by Laramie Palmer. We welcome volunteers at any time. To volunteer, contact Laramie at TWPalmer@uoregon.edu .
Justice Network Annual Report
UUCE has a longtime commitment to Justice: social, environmental, health care, food security, homelessness, and poverty. It reflects our church mission statement and the second UU principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
Over the years, this commitment has manifested itself in individual actions and organized church groups. In 2016 we took the name Justice Network to reflect the many areas that we encompass. Anyone who is interested in working for justice is welcome to join with us.
Mission Statement: Inspired by our UU principles and our Church Mission statement, UUCE Justice Network provides support for UUCE, Interfaith and some community groups that advance social and environmental justice through advocacy, education and collaboration.
Several of these groups have annual reports (see below). Some groups work just within UUCE, but most have connections to the larger community and even to state and national organizations
For each of the areas, there are at least three and often five to seven members and friends from UUCE who participate. 2016=2017: In addition to monthly meetings, JN has provided our sanctuary for two films shown by Health Care for All Oregon. We continue to shelter 3 unhoused residents in three conestoga huts and now have a washer and dryer for their use. We participate in That’s My Farmer, an interfaith group that allies with local CSA farmers. We donated our April third Sunday offering to their low income fund. Ruth Duemler regularly collects items for Occupy Medical in a box in the foyer.
We also initiated a proposal to open our doors for one week to the First Place Family Shelter program. Along with other churches, we will house up to 10 families overnight and serve dinner and breakfast for one week.
Includes over 14 faith communities.
If faith communities are to assert their prophetic role with regard to climate justice, then we are tasked not only to dismantle the systems of domination, but also to lift up a vision of the possible.
For the Powerless & Our Endangered Sacred Planet
Ban fossil fuel export
Support Our Children’s Trust
Promote Solar Power
Label genetically modified food
Create a carbon tax
Pass Community Bill of Rights
Urge healthcare for all
Support campaign finance reform
Possibility in the face of antipathy
- Build green centers of worship
- Support local agriculture, CSA’s & buying groups
- Use local political power with 350 Eugene
- Demonstrate carbon free lifestyle
- Encourage Investment/Divestment
- Train for civil nonviolent disobedience
Too many of us have forgotten that the health of human communities is dependent upon the health of every interlocking piece of creation: the forests, plains, oceans and all the creatures that inhabit them.
2016-2017 fiscal year: To this end the Interfaith EarthKeepers have participated in and/or sponsored several movies, speakers, tours, trainings, action groups, travel to various cities in support of the above concepts, and bulletin board exchanges.
Submitted by Phil Bertrand
Health Care for All Oregon
HCAO has seen a considerable increase in interest in single payer health care within the past six months. We expect public attention to the issue of health care to continue given the legislation under way in Washington DC.
HCAO Eugene Chapter has been active in education of health care issues to the local population by way of tabling at public events, showing of films produced supporting publicly supported health care, speaking on the issue at various organizations, etc.
We have a library of films and videos for loan to any organization or group who wishes to use them. A showing of the latest, Now is the Time, at UUCE on Feb. 19 brought an audience of 90. Plans for the spring/summer include appearances at the Eugene Country Fair as well as a table weekly at the Eugene Farmers Market.
We now have an active participation in Facebook and are expanding our local efforts to attract new activists. Attendance at our monthly meetings has grown each month since the 2016 elections.
Current legislative action in Salem summarized as:
- SB 1046 – Our single payer health care bill in the Oregon senate is dead. Our intent is to get a legislative work group going after the session to help craft a bill that can be considered.
- HB2387 – The affordable prescription pricing bill.is under consideration. We are lobbying for its passage. Sen. Lee Beyer of Eugene will be instrumental in its support and we of his constituents are contacting him to urge his support.
- Resolution by Eugene City Counsel to Salem Legislature in support of single payer health care for all Oregonians was passed April 19. This was the result of a public petition campaign over the past year by HCAO, Eugene.
Submitted by Pat Bitner
Oregon UU Voices for Justice
Our four campaigns at OUUVfJ were well received by our 21 member congregations of OUUVfJ. We received two grants this year to help with our Executive Director’s salary, and so we are working to develop ways to fund her position as we move forward. The grants will not be available in the future.
We have attended 5 rallies in Salem working toward Health Care for All Oregon, equity for housing, and homelessness, keeping fossil fuel infrastructure out of Oregon, working toward community rights for clean air, water.
We have presented two statewide (via Zoom/phone) conferences for environmental action items.
These are some of our efforts, as well as working toward a more organized Board/organization.
We have a very effective monthly Newsletter, and a better organized website.
Submitted by Sue Craig, Chair OUUVfJ
Food for Lane County
Coordinators are Diane Wooldridge and Berry Broadbent. They coordinate two ongoing activities.
Food Rescue Night Is a monthly volunteer opportunity to repackage food that is donated for those in our community who are experiencing food insecurity. We averaged 6 volunteers per month.
We also have a FFLC barrel at church. From April 2016-April 2017, 573 pounds of food were generously donated.
Submitted by Berry Broadbent
Earth Equuity Panel
The Earth Equuity Panel did not meet often over the year 2016/17, having reviewed and approved and rejoiced in the two Projects of Food and Sanctuary. It did meet 3 times in the spring, to discuss the current projects, review their proposals for next year (included in this report) for 2017/18 and to discuss transitioning into a next mandate. Members this year have been Gretchen Miller, Jon Miller (no relation), Rev. Sydney and Barb Kellogg.
A new Project emerged, initiated through the Justice Network and affirmed by the UUCE Board. The Panel also reviewed it, and all groups concurred that Families First is a good fit for the church and approved it’s planning work in the current year.
At the direction of the UUCE Board, the new mandate for the group formerly known as Earth Equuity Panel will be a resource to the operational work of the church. It will review all the groups operating in the church. The Panel is to assist each church group to write it’s Charter (available online) and to assist as needed in fledging actions and new ideas, especially helping with project development. The Panel will send it’s recommendations to the Board through the minister for approval.
Nourish Others and Ourselves/ Sustain the Earth
End of Year report for Year 2
This project is part of Earth EqUUity.
Our first and seventh principles call us to address both “me” and “we” in our work towards social justice. Our aspirations call us to hold all hands as we work towards justice and sustainability. We specifically want to address the misconception that working for environmental justice is only for those who can afford it. For these reasons, we offer a range of activities to involve people of all economic circumstances, as well as people of various interests and experiences, abilities, and ages. We design projects motivated by our faith and the desire to be as inclusive as we know how. The ultimate goal is to show that small actions joined by many will have a positive impact towards justice, healing and sustainability.
The planning committee consists of Berry Broadbent, Joni Zander, Judy Shaw, and Nadja Sanders.
The purpose of the group is to provide multiple opportunities to explore the relationship between food, the environment, and social justice.
Community Court Lunches. This new program holds weekly Community Court aimed at reducing nuisance complaints and addressing quality of life offenses in the downtown area. Anyone who is either cited into Community Court or who obtains a needs assessment is eligible to receive a free sack lunch. UUCE has joined with the City of Eugene and other faith-based organizations to provide these lunches, each congregation providing 40 lunches on a once a month basis. Our collaboration with Religious Education Spirit Jam has engaged our kids in a powerful way. We recruit volunteers to make sandwiches and deliver lunches the second Friday of the month. We have received specific food donations from the UUCE congregation, including peanut butter, jelly, bottled water, chips, string cheese, fruit, and home-made, individually wrapped cookies. All told we provided 240 lunches from September 2016 through May 2017.
We continue to strive to connect social justice and environmental justice as it relates to food. We also acknowledge that certain situations call for exceptions to the ideal: for instance, with the community court lunches, all food items must be individually wrapped and we have been asked to provide bottled water.
Touchstone Tuesday Potlucks. Earth EqUUity Food agreed to supply at least two healthy, hearty main dishes for each monthly potluck. We partnered with potluck organizers to develop a long-term plan to expand potluck participation. As a result, a potluck covenant was written to address issues of safety and hospitality (We covenant to affirm and promote beloved community by creating a safe environment where we uphold each other in practicing generosity and radical hospitality. In this spirit, we covenant to further the mission of the congregation as we come to together for Touchstone Tuesday potlucks.). We experimented with conversation cards, chore sign-up, a games night, and food themes, with related live music. Attendance has averaged about 40 people, including new families with kids.
Earth Day Planting. In connection with the Earth Day Folk Service, we organized an event to provide the plants, seeds, starts, soil, pots, and expertise to help church members grow their own flowers and food. A number of experienced gardener congregants were on hand to provide assistance and advice. Fruit bushes planted in year one were staked.
Submitted in collaboration with Earth Equity Food Group by Lizzy Utterback, Touchstone Tuesday Potluck Representative
How does this group serve UUCE’s Mission and live into our Aspirations?
Those who participate in the potlucks contribute to the warmth of community by providing mutual support and through actions which embody the spirit of generosity. Personal transformation is encouraged through connections between individuals and witnessed by increased comfort with diversity. We live into our aspirations by creating sanctuary where all hands are held; we work really hard to include everyone who walks through the door, regardless of whether the potluck was their intended destination or not and regardless of their affiliation with UUCE.
This group is open to all. In order to join, all one has to do is arrive on the first Tuesday of the month between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. Leadership roles are filled on a volunteer basis. Collective ownership of the event is encouraged. At the moment, there is no formal process for volunteering. A church representative is required to attend each Tuesday. The representative is responsible to see that the social hall and kitchen are left in good condition, that attendees have vacated the building that the oven is off, and for locking the door.
The purpose of the Touchstone Tuesday potluck is to provide a community in which connections can be made in a “family” setting. Tables are arranged with six chairs each; in a large church, this weekly event offers a chance to make connections and build community in a smaller group setting.
The committee’s report:
This year the group decided to reduce meetings from weekly to monthly. 12 Touchstone Tuesday Potlucks were offered. On average, thirty individuals attend each month with attendance topping out at 40.
A successful partnership with the Earth EqUUity Food group has resulted in significantly increasing the number of healthy entrees and salads, ingredient labels for dishes, themed potlucks, live music, and good company. A side effect of this collaboration is a stronger presence in UUCE outlets (newsletter, Sunday handouts, Facebook events, etc.). Together the two groups have drafted the following covenant:
We covenant to affirm and promote beloved community by creating a safe environment where we uphold each other in practicing generosity and radical hospitality. In this spirit we covenant to further the mission of the congregation as we come together for Touchstone Tuesday potlucks.
In the past church year, we’ve experienced a few unanticipated challenges. We faced the loss of Rodger Shomaker, a dedicated potluck attendee and volunteer. We miss him dearly and strive to carry on his energy. A second challenge we’re facing is the need for safety guidelines and kitchen supervision. Explicit standards and kitchen expectations need to be implemented to ensure kitchen safety.
Refugee Sanctuary Project
The Refugee Sanctuary Project functioned throughout the 2016-2017 church year to meet its goals of opposing hate speech and Islamophobia, educating the UUCE community about the international refugee crisis, and providing direct assistance to refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers fleeing the devastations of civil war, religious persecution, destruction of infrastructure, and climate change.
This year the Refugee Sanctuary Project presented documentaries and speakers at UUCE. In the fall we showed “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” at UUCE. Abby Gershenzon spoke about the refugee crisis and the work of the Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County. There were about 60 attendees and their evaluations of the event were generally positive.
In April the group sponsored a presentation by Tod Schneider, recently returned from an information-gathering trip to refugee camps in Greece. He described one family’s terrifying experiences crossing the devastated Syrian landscape as they tried to reach safety in Turkey. After the speaker, we showed “Children of Syria,” an award-winning documentary about a Syrian family immigrating to Germany after their home is destroyed by war. About 80 people attended the event and their evaluations were very positive.
In outreach to the whole UUCE congregation, the group set up an information table at least twice a month after services, maintained a section of the Earth Equuity information bulletin board, and encouraged signing of the UUA/UUSC Declaration of Conscience. In response to local threats against the Eugene Islamic Center, the group wrote a message of support, collected 45 signatures on it, and presented it to the Islamic Center.
The Refugee Sanctuary project continued its commitment to the Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane County, with representatives on RRCLC’s steering committee, donations committee, and refugee family advocate committee. UUCE officially became a “Community Partner” of the RRCLC.
The group is also working in partnership with the Refugee Resettlement Coalition to put on Eugene’s first World Refugee Day celebration on June 20 in our church. The event will offer family and children’s activities, food, music, and a speaker and panel of local refugees.
This year the Refugee Sanctuary project worked intensively with asylee Hussain Rachou to clear away the red tape and legal obstacles that had marooned his wife Avin and their two children as refugees in Dubai and kept them from joining Hussain in Eugene. This effort was made during the months that included the election and inauguration of Donald Trump and his immediate “Muslim travel ban.” After all the emotional and legal ups and downs, Avin and the children were allowed to board a plane and come to the United States on April 15. Their first stop was UUCE, where the group had a joyous welcome party awaiting them, attended by members of the Islamic Center, the Resettlement Coalition, and local immigrant communities, as well as UUs and Rev. Sydney. The event was covered by local news stations. A follow-up article in the Register-Guard was facilitated by the Refugee Sanctuary Project and UU Jeff Wright.
The Refugee Sanctuary group continued its work with the Rachou family, investigating and choosing a local school for the children, transporting the kids to school and Avin to ESL class, and supporting Hussain in obtaining his green card. Several members are tutoring the family in English and are volunteering in ESL classes.
Refugees continue to come into the United States despite the opposition of the Trump administration, and we are optimistic that we will again be able to help in local resettlement work. The group also anticipates working more with threatened Hispanic refugees and immigrants in the coming year.
We plan to deepen our friendship and alliance with the Eugene Islamic Center. We are planning an informal meeting at UUCE with some of their members in early July to get to know them better and to reciprocate their hospitality to our group earlier this year.
Respectfully Submitted, Connie Newman
The people involved with Stewardship work to take care of our world by maintaining that which we have, enhancing things, or helping all of us raise the necessary funds to support our staff and pay for our building.
Building and Grounds Committee
Our mission is guiding and performing continuing maintenance, upgrades and improvements to the UUCE building and grounds. We accomplish this only by the efforts of many volunteers.
Our efforts are broadly divided into four areas:
1) Grounds: maintaining and upgrading.
2) Completing the remodeling of the building.
3) Upgrading & maintaining the building
4) Maintaining safety inspections and meeting ongoing city requirements.
We meet regularly at 9:00AM every Tuesday. We discuss the day’s projects and welcome any new volunteers. Generally the discussions are led by Eric Swegles, committee chair, and all are welcome to express their opinion as to what to do that day or how.
Grounds: Saro and Gretchen along with many volunteers keep the weeds in check and facilitate the vegetable garden.
Building completion: We installed bike racks near the North door; Installed a door on the room 3 closet; completed the South entry including new lights.
Upgrades: Refinished the bench by the North door; refinished the benches by the swales in front; Replaced a leaky outdoor faucet and repaired the leaked upon wall in room 3; Patched and painted various walls and the steel door jams for all of the classrooms; assembled the new play structure in the playground and sealed it with urethane.
Maintain Safety: There are a variety of tests and inspections to comply with city codes; Fire Alarm, Fire Sprinkler, Stove fire suppression inspection, Back-flow Test, Motor-Generator maintenance and test, all of which we contracted with outside experts and coordinated.
Our volunteers include: John White, David Fountain, Emmet Band, Bob Kaeser, Nita White, Ruth Anne Fraley, Eric Swegles, Gretchen Miller, and Sarah Hendrickson. More volunteers are always welcome.
As for staff participation, the Business Manager has collaborated to usher a number of upgrades:
Main Entrance – the north door is the way most people enter the building, so in the last year several steps have been taken to make it a more attractive and inviting entrance. We have also begun referring to that door as the ‘main entrance’ to help encourage people to view and maintain it in that way.
- Chalice – a new metal chalice was custom-built and installed above the north entrance.
- Hanging baskets – these were installed and Dave DeCou added a drip irrigation system
Parking lot – the parking lot was re-striped to improve parking and the appearance of the building. Enhancing the appearance of the area has been important as the number of rental customers has grown.
Bike racks – the Buildings and Grounds Committee installed new bike racks to better accomodate growing visits by bicycle.
Security – attractive new security signs were added on all sides of the church to communicate to others the rules for church use and also do so in a way that beautifies the building.
Building Access – a new electronic keypad was installed at the north door and has had the following benefits:
- Fewer keys – Eliminated the need for authorized users to carry a main key to the building
- Temporary access for renters – provided a way for temporary users to access the building without being given a key
- Key retrieval – reduced the need to retrieve keys from people once their access period had expired
- Increased security – key codes can be disabled for any one, at any time
Small things make a difference – Volunteers and staff have been working on many small things, inexpensive or free ways to enhance the appearance and cleanliness of the building. One such item is the purchase of inexpensive, matching brown coat hangers to replace the many bent and broken metal and other hangers that had been used.
Emergency Response Team:
This group currently has one established member and one other recently joined (Bill Wiley), but held no meetings in 2016-17 yet. That will change summer 2017 when Susanne Giordano retires from her day job and can give more time to this formative committee.
Fundraising Oversight Task Force
Responsible to the Operations Team
Purpose: To stabilize and sustain the financial stewardship of the church to maintain the quality of its programs and staff.
Over the winter the task force developed a draft framework for financial stewardship for the community. Work is on hold presently while the draft is considered by the Operations Team.
Primary work was done by Lesley Rex, Judy Shaw, and David DeCou. Insights were provided by Kathy Thomas, Rev. Sydney Morris, Katy Colburn, Barbara Kellogg, and others.
Fundraising activities for the year.
Coffee Store – Practically every Sunday we have a “store operating near the South Entrance after services. Our store sells Fair Trade coffee and chocolates. We net a few hundred dollars each year and supply ourselves with high quality coffee and chocolate. Many thanks to Janelle Heidenreich, Laramie Palmer and others for this great service. The Fair Trade Coffee Cart offers for purchase a selection of organic coffees, teas and chocolate products. We are open most Sunday mornings, after the Sunday service. Products are ordered through Equal Exchange, a worker-owned, fair trade organization that works directly with farmer cooperatives to ensure that the farmers earn a fair price for their crops.
Sale and purchase of fair trade organic products exemplifies the 1st UU Principle (the inherent worth and dignity of every person) and the 7th UU Principle (respect for the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part).
All profits from the Fair Trade Coffee Cart go to UUCE’s General Fund.
Currently there are four to five regular volunteers. Every Sunday two of them are scheduled to staff the Coffee Cart. Decisions are made by the group. Scheduling and ordering are coordinated by Laramie Palmer. We welcome volunteers at any time. To volunteer, contact Laramie at TWPalmer@uoregon.edu .
- Rummage Sale – This July event was well organized and well-staffed. Over $4500 was netted from this event. The leaders, Phyllis O’Neill and Nita White, did an excellent job of organizing and were helped by many volunteers. Many of the congregation donated items and took some home as well. This could become an annual or semi-annual event.
- Book Sale – This annual fall event netted almost $2000, the most in recent history. Once again Bonnie Phipps lead this sale and poured a tremendous amount of energy into it, she was helped by a ready group of volunteers from the community. Unfortunately, after many years Bonnie is no longer able take this activity on for next year. There are many willing to help, so what is needed is leadership.
- Services Auction – This past December was the first services auction handles with on line auction software. There were some minor glitches as we learned what needed to be done when but the software really supported the auction. It was organized by Joni Zander, Nadja Sanders and Judy Shaw. The laughter told me that all had a great time and we raised over $11,000. As usual with our many events there many other volunteers and although some might consider that work most just enjoyed the efforts.
- Electronic Scrip – We receive a modest amount of money through the electronic Scrip program. No one is managing it and no one is promoting it but one can donate to UUCE without costing yourself anything if you sign up your credit card for the electronic scrip program on line and designate that the scrip goes to UUCE. Then when you purchase anything with your credit card from the appropriate stores a small portion of that sale will come to UUCE. If you shop at Market of Choice this would help UUCE a great deal.
- Volunteers – All fundraising efforts at UUCE are operated by and with volunteers from our congregation. Most of us have a great time and find sharing our time an uplifting experience.
- Goals for next year – We improved our fundraising over this past year by raising over $20,000 in FY 2016-17. And our goal was to raise $30,000. In FY 2017-18 our goal will once again be $30,000. If we had created a spring fundraising event we would likely have come very close to our goal for the current year. So next year we just one additional event with all of us behind it and we can meet and possibly exceed our goal. Look out we might even have fun!
Rev. Sydney was the convener for the Annual Appeal this year, and the team was Isaac Priere, Barb Kellogg, Lesley Rex, Judy Shaw and Rev. Sydney. This year we repeated the small group model (combinations of every-member visits and gala event pledge collections have also being used). We held Cottage Meetings and followed up with phone calls. Four stewardship moments were given at Sunday services, by Janet and Rob Barnes, Judy Shaw, Isaac Priere and Eric Troberg. Thank you cards were sent, and pledgers honored by name on the sanctuary walls during the Annual Meeting. Lesley Rex coordinated the Cottage Meetings and Judy Shaw was Pledge Secretary. The Appeal benefitted from the congregational mailing party after Sunday service coordinated by Barb Kellogg, and special thanks go to the 15 Follow-up Folks. Thank you all!
The goal for 2017/17 is 304,000 and as of this writing we have received pledges of 280,000. Thoughtful and inspiring feedback from the Cottage Meetings is included at the end of this report; it conveys the positive and forward-looking spirit of the Cottage Meetings this year.
Four important points that stand out: (1) The Christmas special appeal was met with gifts totaling $28,000 — including a generous $10,000 matching challenge – for the current year’s budget. This amount was applied to restoring the 10% cut in staff salaries (excepting the minister). The 2017/18 Annual Appeal extended offertory at a May Sunday service was answered with $25,000. This suggests that the church may want to consider a more year-around approach to fundraising. (2) Of 14 brand new pledges as of May end, the average was $1,000 each. More than $20,000 in unanticipated donations were given this year. This suggests that the UUCE culture of generosity is safe in the hands of the future. (3) Shifting demographics extend the invitation for creative and varied approaches to fundraising. And, (4) the challenges of the new building remain, as the mortgage continues to add ballast to a rising UUCE.
This 2016/17 year, the congregation adopted a budget which drew from Reserves, enabling bold staffing and programming. This coming year proposes a balanced budget without use of Reserves, and asks of staff and programming to do more with less. The church will be navigating this narrow passage for several years to come.
Regarding the 2017/18 Appeal, steps were taken to transition into newer leadership with substantial support from the office.
The Capital Campaign is in its second year, coordinated by Kay Crider and Judy Shaw. It sent out an appeal in the spring. Thanks to all promise keepers, and all who have joined in! One more year remains in this campaign, whose overall goal is $650,00 – an amount set toward cutting our mortgage in half.
Worship Associates assist with service every Sunday by giving readings, words of welcome, offerings, and personal reflections on the monthly theme. This year the theme has been concepts and practices from our UUCE Covenant of Right Relations.
The mission of the Worship Associates is “To assist the minister to serve the congregation in the sharing of joy, the performance of ritual, and revealing the bridge to the Sacred”.
Current worship associates are Robin Schantz-Mulford (current chair), August Sabini, Duana Welch, Sam Rutledge, Kris Olsen, Dan Carrere, Shane Nelson, & Emily Knott.
2016 – 2017 was a time of vibrant growth in music making for all three UUCE choirs. A number of goals were set early on: establish a relationship of trust within the choirs, develop solid vocal and choral technique, guide the choirs in becoming more independent musicians and music-learners, foster a dedication to church service and ministry through music, and reflect the year’s annual theme of ‘Covenant’ and each months’ individual themes not only in the music selections, but in the rehearsals themselves.
The Christmas concert proved a particular challenge in that we performed Bach Cantata BWV 64 with professional string quartet and soloists with a selection of seasonal literature not usually performed by this ensemble. Choir members reported working harder than they’d ever worked and concern that they would be unprepared, but in the end, the performance was beautiful. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and it set us up for a very successful spring.
In January, we hosted a choir retreat and workshop open to all choirs and church attendees. With a focus on preparing for the spring’s many obligations, we had Kristina Jones lead a group voice lesson, percussionist and choral director, Lennie Cottrell, lead a percussion and movement workshop, and composer, John Paul Rudoi, lead a rehearsal of his piece, Gamaya, which had been selected for Easter Sunday’s combined choir anthem. It was a wonderful day of learning and music making; most choir members and about ten non-choir members attended.
In February, the choirs performed for PNW District Assembly. We had two visiting directors, DeReau Farrar from First Unitarian Portland, and Bert Gulhagen from Westside Unitarian in Seattle. We hosted a workshop entitled, “Enlivening Worship,” about the development and inclusion of music in the worship service, which was well attended by music staff and ministers from the district. We hosted a rehearsal during a second workshop slot to prepare music for both the closing meeting and following morning’s Sunday service. We were joined by five non-choir members from outside congregations, most of whom also joined us on Sunday morning.
This year, in addition to the annual all-comers choir for the Thanksgiving service, we held a second all-comers choir for Easter Sunday. The composer, John Paul Rudoi, who led a rehearsal at the January workshop, joined us for a second rehearsal to continue workshopping and refining the piece.
Music Sunday was a real challenge – and a real treat! – this year! We learned Carol Barnett’s The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, and performed with local bluegrass musicians, including two from the church, Ardea Eichner and Sue Craig. This piece is challenging both rhythmically and musically, and the choir was dedicated to the project!
The most astonishing progress in the choirs this year was their increased confidence in music learning and performing. We went from asking Susanne to play every line in every rehearsal, to trusting that the music can be learned in multiple ways. So many singers told me, “I don’t read music,” when I first arrived, only to realize later that they do read music and, in fact, can sight-read and learn quickly. We have also developed a wonderful sense of trust and flexibility. The choirs know that things will change from time to time and they are open to those changes. I believe very strongly that making music of excellent quality is integral to worship and that to make excellent music is a lot of work, but that the hard work leads to more fun in the music-making process. I think this year has been an embodiment of that sentiment and I am so grateful to have worked with such dedicated, talented musicians. Camille Lively.
We supported the Music Program by helping the Music Director coordinate and produce special music events, offering constructive feedback when asked, suggesting ways in which to build on the health and reach of the music program, and in conjunction with the Music Director made recommendations to the Board regarding the music program budget. Susanne Giordano, Chair; Martha Snyder; Jean Weick; Jean Cottell; Joyce Smith.
The Music Program for the entire summer of 2016 was planned, coordinated and even performed by Jean Cottel, who has been planning the summer of 2017 as well. Many thanks and Kudos!
Music Director Search
The Search Team for a permanent Music Director has been meeting weekly since January – Kris Olsen, Sam Rutledge, Judy Shaw and Bob Fraley, convened by Rev. Sydney. The position was advertised in Oregon and in national Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network venues. It is 1/2 time, and compensated according to UUA standards. The Team’s mandate has been to make a recommendation of one or two candidates to Rev. Sydney, who makes the final decision and hires.
Eight applications were received. Two were thanked for their interest and not interviewed. One person found a position closer to home. Four were interviewed either in person or via Skype.
The Interim Music Director withdrew her application in order to pursue other opportunities. (The choirs held a party for Camille after their last rehearsal.)Three candidates remained. Using an extensive grid to compare candidates, the Search Team developed both numerical and subjective responses, and discussed them thoroughly.
The Team recommended one candidate who did not accept the UUCE offer (and then another one who did, in July). Auditions were comprised of the combined choirs, including anyone who wanted to join in. The entire congregation was encouraged to attend, to watch the candidate conduct two pieces (one known and one new) and lead a congregational hymn. Feedback forms were available for everyone to fill out, and collated by the indomitable Kris Olsen.
Deep appreciation was expressed to our Interim Music Director Camille Lively, along with sorrow at her leaving. The news of her new position at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. was received with hearty congratulations and best wishes. The transition from the 23-year directorship of Tom Sears through Camille’s Interim-focused work sent the music program sailing into the future.
Some groups had transitions throughout the 2016/17 year. CUUPS – Covenant of UU Pagans – met, had a booth at the Hallowe’en party and organized the beautiful Advent Garden. It decided to disband at the end of the church year. Interweave held gatherings this year, and it too decided to disband. Archives Committee has been inactive this year, and seeks leadership and members. Feedback and ideas for accessibility were encouraged through the church website, and forwarded to Buildings and Grounds and the Operations Team. Chalice Lighters sought leadership in order to encourage more participation in the Pacific NorthWest District mutual aid among UUs through answering three calls a year with a donation. This church received a Chalice Lighters grant in 2015.
All existing and aspiring groups are asked to fill out a Charter (on the web or available from the Board Secretary) and send it to the Board Secretary, copying the Minister. A process for church recognition of new groups is being worked on, with the expectation of clarity in the new church year.