These are the minutes of the August 11, 2021, UUFE Board of Trustees meeting. They were approved at the September 8, 2021, board meeting.

UUFE Board of Trustees

Minutes of August 11, 2021, meeting

Meeting conducted by Zoom video conferencing

Present: Susie Meeks-Wade, president; Zanzer Anderson, Ken Clayborn, Mike Darnel, Dwight Fish, Terry Mark, Carl Rust, Pam Wycliff, Rev. Amy DeBeck.

Call to order

The meeting was called to order by Susie Meeks-Wade at 6:11 p.m.

Approval of agenda

Mike Darnel moved to approve the agenda as presented. Pam Wycliff seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Approval of minutes

Ken Clayborn moved to approve the minutes of the July 14, 2021, meeting as submitted, Dwight Fish seconded.  There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Acceptance of reports

An item from the financial report concerning the office computer was added to the agenda.

Terry Mark moved to accept the financial report, minister’s report and committee reports. Pam Wycliff seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Old business


Susie Meeks-Wade opened a discussion concerning a reopening date and hybrid services. Rev. Amy DeBeck said we will be able to do live services to broadcast over the Internet. Susie Meeks-Wade said there is anxiety and pressure from some congregants to get together and pushed to set a date. Several board members noted rising COVID-19 rates and Elkhart County’s advisory level of yellow. There was no consensus on whether UUFE was open or not open. Some were hesitant to set a date, while others pointed out that UUFE is open to the extent allowed by the approved COVID guidelines and policies. 

Rev. Amy DeBeck pointed out that people could come on Sunday and watch as the service is filmed and aired live. Terry Mark said that Sunday services could have a system in which people made reservations, so we could monitor and limit capacity depending on the COVID advisory level, but there was no interest in this approach. It was also suggested that the board should communicate openly what its position on COVID and the degree of openness. It was noted that the UUA is not meeting.

It was suggested that the board develop a message that could be communicated to the congregation. Rev. Amy DeBeck and Susie Meeks-Wade are to develop the message and talking points, then board members would be assigned to call members and gauge how members are feeling about the degree of UUFE’s openness to events such as worship services. The talking points for this message should include:

  • What is the UUA position? 
  • What is the board’s position? 
  • What is the minister’s responsibility? 
  • How does this affect our congregation and facility?
  • What is the pastoral message from Amy?

Proposed language for signs on campus

Ken Clayborn sent an email with proposed language for signs on the campus concerning our weapons ban. The text of the mail is as follows:

I suggest we have four signs made and post them in the two front doors and have them laminated so that we can post two of them on the no parking signs in the parking areas.

1.    Suggestion one:

No weapons allowed on the property or inside the facilities of this property.  If you have a gun or another weapon lock it in the trunk of your car and leave it there for the duration of your visit.

2.     Suggestion two:

No guns or other weapons on this property or inside the buildings. 

There was consensus on suggestion no. 2.

COM Description

Pam Wycliff and Susie Meeks-Wade are working on description of the Committee on Ministry’s role. They asked to postpone discussion to next month, as they would like to review additional material.

Mike Darnel moved to table this topic. Ken Clayborn seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

There was consensus that COM should continue to proceed as is until there is anything different implemented.

Parking lot

Mike Darnel reported that he and Ken Clayborn met with Ancon Construction and Rieth-Riley. Both companies were to submit proposals by today for restoration and expansion. Mike said the Rieth-Riley representative said he is an intern and Mike could not reach him for a follow-up. He said the Ancon representative sent a proposal  that they will prepare an expansion package for an upfront fee of $9,500. Mike also said that Steve Ruby of Troyer Group informed UUFE that he is  longer with Troyer and moving to Abonmarche. Steve Hruby said that UUFE can continue working with him through Abonmarche. There was general discussion on the availability and cost of construction in the area. Ken Clayborn proposed that he organize a group to review this developing situation and report back to the board. The group would be composed of Ken Clayborn, Mike Darnel, Chuck Bower and Ron Gill.

New Business

Use of UUFE equipment for private functions

Ken Clayborn brought up the issue of some UUFE equipment (tables and chairs) that were borrowed for a party. He noted that there was some rain at this indoor/outdoor event and he noted that there does not appear to be a policy to cover this. Dwight Fish said that none of the tables and chairs were damaged. Pam Wycliff proposed that perhaps these kinds of rentals be limited to members? 

Dwight Fish moved to place a moratorium on allowing the use of any UUFE equipment or tools to any outside entity until further notice. Ken Clayborn seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Use of monetary distributions

Ken Clayborn reported that UUFE received in the wake of the settlement of two estates the sums of $6,200 from Don and Marj Hersberger’s estate and $20,200 from Evan Lefever’s estate. In a discussion Ken had with the Endowment Committee, Jim Barnes proposed that UUFE keep $20,000 of that sum, since that is the amount that would be contributed from the endowment for the 2021-2022 budget. Ken said this would avoid an exchange of checks of similar amounts to and from UUFE’s general fund and Endowment funds.

Mike moved to adopt Ken Clayborn’s proposal. Pam Wycliff seconded.

Kenfurther clarified that the UUFE operating budget would hang onto $20,000 and would write a check to Endowment for $6,400. Dwight Fish moved to amend the motion to contain this clarification. The amended motion was approved unanimously.

There was a vote on the amended motion and it was unanimously approved.

New computer

Ken Clayborn reported that the office computer is on its last legs. He said a new computer is needed and proposed to employ the pro bono help of his nephew to select a new computer and equip it with the  best accounting program he can find at a cost of $40 per month.

Ken said he has talked to UUFE’s internet provider, who believes that our current plan is sufficient for livestreaming worship services.

There was general discussion on costs, plus what is provided for in the UUFE budget. Ken will price out equipment, and proposed payment, at a future meeting.

Liaisons for committees

Pam Wycliff to liaison with COVID Task Force. Mike Darnel, membership. Ken Clayborn, endowment, worship and arts, finance. Dwight Fish, building and grounds, care associates. Terry Mark, communications. Carl Rust, religious education. Susie Meeks-Wade, social justice. Zanzer Anderson, stewardship.

Volunteer of the Month

Bethany McGill and Geoffrey Warner were selected. They are new to UUFE, having found us through the YouTube worship services. They have donated items for the food pantry. Ken Clayborn will write it up.


The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mark, board secretary