These are the minutes of the July 14, 2021, UUFE Board of Trustees meeting. They were approved at the August 11, 2021, board meeting

UUFE Board of Trustees

Minutes of July 14, 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.

Also present: Rev. Lisa Presley, Rev. Linda Slabon

Call to order

The meeting was called to order by Susie Meeks-Wade at 6:06 p.m.

Approval of agenda

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

June 2021 meeting minutes

Mike Darnel moved to approve the June 2021 meeting minutes as submitted. Dwight Fish seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Acceptance of reports

Terry Mark moves to approve reports as submitted. Carl Rust seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Old Business

The June meeting

The Rev. Lisa Presley introduced herself as the MidAmerica Region representative and she will be helping the board review events of the June board meeting. 

The Rev. Linda Slabon is serving as good officer for Rev. Amy DeBeck. The role is to support Amy as a colleague and to reflect her ministry and relationships.

The Rev. Lisa Presley said the June meeting seemed to have uncovered fault lines that need to be dealt with. She invited board members to pause and reflect on two questions and, in turn, take up to two minutes to answer. The first questions are: What is the one thing you love about the congregation? What keeps you coming back? The second questions are: What do you need in order to move forward into a better working relationship within the board? The Rev. Lisa Presley said she took notes on the responses and would supply them to the board for continued action.

Reopening date

Carl said the COVID Task Force met on July 8 and is making the following recommendations: (1) To reopen with the understanding that there are still issues to work out with technology for worship services so that they can be inclusive and made available online; (2) all people will be required wear masks, (3) set up the space to allow for social distancing; (4) register all attendees for contact tracing purposes; (5) encourage hand washing or sanitizing; (6) continue to prohibit sharing of food i.e. potlucks.

There was discussion about technical capabilities as well as increasing COVID-19 rates arising from congregate settings and the Delta variant.

Rev. Amy DeBeck said worship services will be different Aug. 1 as it relates to how they’re produced. However, there will continue to be a service every Sunday. 

There was general consensus to accept recommendations.

Pam Wycliff moved to accept the COVID Task Force’s revised recommendations. Terry Mark seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

The update will be communicated via the website.

Parking lot

Mike Darnel said he sought out more estimates for the parking lot improvements. There are new proposals from Ancon and Rieth-Riley, one of which was only received shortly before the board meeting. Both of those proposals are only for restoration of the existing parking lot. There is also an earlier Troyer Group estimate that includes expansion of the parking lot. There was discussion concerning how to evaluate the proposals and whether we could still rely on Troyer Group’s proposal on matters such as how the city of Elkhart would regard capacity limits.

Ken Clayborn suggested assembling a group to evaluate proposals and report back to the board. There was consensus that this is a good idea.

Carl Rust moved to form a task force to evaluate the parking lot proposals and seek clarification on issues related in the proposals. Ken Clayborn seconded. There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Online Directory

Terry Mark said the process of implementing the online directory still needed additional testing to confirm that the necessary settings were in place. He said it would like be ready to go soon, and then the online directory would just need to be communicated to the congregation.

Gun Policy

The addition to the Disruptive Behavior Policy that Ken Clayborn drafted was discussed. The language states:

Our Policy on Weapons 

This Fellowship is a place of peace.  We do not allow guns or any other weapons on the property at The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart.  This includes both concealed weapons and open carry weapons.  It also includes knives, guns, blackjacks or any other weapon.  The list here is not meant to be all inclusive.   Anyone who brings a weapon onto the property will be asked to remove it from the campus and lock it in a safe place before returning to the premises.  If the individual refuse to comply they will be asked to leave and will not be allowed to return until they are compliant.  If they still refuse to leave or comply the police will be contacted.   Signs/postings are at each doorway. 

Mike Darnel moved to approve the policy. Pam Wycliff seconded

Terry Mark asked if the policy needed to explicitly state that it supersedes what is allowed by state permits. Mike Darnel said that legally police won’t intervene in such instances, but if a person on UUFE premises violates the policy and we ask that person to leave and if they don’t, then we can have a valid police complaint against that person for trespassing.

There was a vote and the motion was unanimously approved.

Appointment to Committee on Ministry

Rev. Amy DeBeck explained the role of the Committee on Ministry, which is a group which is interested in the shared ministry of the church. She said their function is misunderstood by church; it is not a ministry support group. The Committee of Ministry monitors all aspects of shared ministry — between the minister and congregation, and between congregants and each other. The membership is usually three to four people and the board typically appoints members with the advice of the minister.

Rev. Amy DeBeck asked for one or two appointments who would join Annette Long and Laura Snow and replace Oxana Werbiansky.

Terry Mark proposed that the board give further thought on appointments to COM and that we re-visit the topic next month.

The matter was then tabled..

Board Retreat

Susie Meeks-Wade said she would like to schedule a board retreat as soon as possible. She asked Rev. Lisa Presley for advice on a potential survey of the congregation.

Rev. Lisa Presley said the questions need to be direct, but that can also lead to pitfalls. She said questions such as who people want UUFE to be and where do they want UUFE to go are the kind of questions abest worked out by hearing those in person.

There was discussion on various retreat ideas and approaches. Rev. Lisa Presley said having an outside facilitator allows everyone to participate and recommend that the facilitator not be a member, but perhaps someone in the community.

Discussion arrived at a consensus of August 21 as the preferred date, with Sept. 11 as the backup date.

Volunteer/Action Of The Month

Terry Mark suggested recognizing those who have been stocking and re-stocking the food pantry.

Rev. Amy DeBeck suggested DwightFish for his intervention involving a delicate situation at a neighboring property and preventing grifters from camping in our driveway.

Terry Mark will write up both.

Susie Meeks-Wade said the next board meeting will precede the retreat in August. If the retreat is not until September, then the next meeting will be August 11.

The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mark, secretary