Board Update: Ministerial Transition, COVID-19, Anti-Racism, Solar Project

A message from Fred Hulting, Board President, boardpresident@uucmtka.org

It may be summer, but things are not slowing down at UUCM. As we are working through our ministerial transition, we must also deal with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, choose how we respond to the call for anti-racism work, and support the Social Justice Ministry’s actions for racial and environmental justice. The Board met recently and laid out a plan for tackling all of this over the next few months.

Our wonderful interim ministers – Rev. Meg Riley, Rev. Terri Burnor, and Arif Mamdani – delivered their final UUCM worship service on July 12, followed by drive-by goodbyes.  We are all extremely grateful for what they brought us these past two years. We will miss them and we wish them all the best.  On August 1st we will welcome Rev. Lisa Friedman as our new Minister.  Lisa is beginning to get engaged with the Board and Ministries, and we are planning additional onboarding activities so she will be ready go in the fall.

Anti- Racism Initiatives
Preliminary conversations with Lisa helped shape Board decisions on two critical topics. The first is how UUCM will move forward with anti-racism initiatives.  We want Lisa to be fully engaged in this process, so substantive work must wait until she arrives. In the meantime, we can prepare for that work by engaging all of you in conversations to understand the needs and desires of the congregation.  The Board will lead a series of online group conversations starting in the near future.  Also, there are already many grassroots efforts underway, including the small group discussions of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies, by Resmaa Menakem.  Watch the church communications for information on upcoming conversations and engagement opportunities.

COVID-19 Planning
The other big issue we face is how the church should manage our response to COVID-19.  We must prepare for the possibility that in-person Sunday worship might not happen until May 2021 or later, and that small group activities in the church may also be limited.  How do we ensure that the church can thrive in these scenarios?  To support Lisa in this planning, the Board has created a task Force on COVID-19 Response, led by Cathy Bujold.  If you have an interest in helping with this effort, please reach out to Cathy at boardvp@uucmtka.org. We can particularly use help from those who have written Covid-19 Preparedness Plans, those who have insights from best practices in their workplace and from planning for events, and those who have ideas about activities for when we are ready to begin safely meeting in small groups.  We can tailor your involvement in the Task Force efforts to the time you have available.

Finally, the Social Justice Ministry has been continuing to pursue its work on housing and homelessness, and a sub-team has been looking at moving the church to solar energy as a way to reduce our carbon footprint and lower costs.  The Council and the Board have approved the solar proposal, and you can read more about it by clicking here.

The Board welcomes your input on these decisions, as well as any other issues or opportunities.  Please feel free to reach out to Fred Hulting and Cathy Bujold with your feedback.

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