August 6: Phased Reopening Update

Fred Hulting and Rev. Lisa Friedman

In May, we shared an update on the phased reopening of the church during summer and fall. At that time we were full of optimism given increasing vaccinations, lower infection rates, and a loosening of restrictions in Minnesota.  In July, we moved into Phase 2 and began allowing small groups to use the church with fewer restrictions. It has been fun to see people gather in the church and to reconnect after such a long time.  Now, as September approaches, we continue to work towards Phase 3, which would allow us to return to regular building use, including Sunday worship.

At the end of our May update, we wrote “Current trends with the pandemic are encouraging, but forecasting the path forward is difficult and we will adapt as needed.”  And so here we are, trying to navigate a difficult path forward as the Delta variant creates new challenges for our community.

For now, our Phase 2 protocols remain in effect, and small groups and priority events (e.g. memorial services) may continue in the building. However, the Board has given Rev. Lisa authority to enact additional restrictions – such as requiring masks for all persons in the building – whenever she feels it is necessary for the safety of the congregation and our staff.  For example, at memorial services we are asking all those attending to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. So, if you are coming to the building, thank you in advance for adhering to the posted policies and guidelines. To request event space, please fill out this form.

The Board will meet with Rev. Lisa in mid-August to discuss the situation in Hennepin County and review the necessary steps that will allow up to move to Phase 3 and begin to hold in-person services in September.  But even as we welcome you into the building, we will continue to offer virtual options for Sunday services and for many church events. The successful fundraising for our new audio and video system in the Sanctuary is making that possible.

Please watch the church communications  for continued updates on the progress of the reopening, and please reach out to us with questions at boardpresident@uucmtka.org or revlisa@uucmtka.org.

From the Board: June 2021

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for June is Play. This month’s post is offered by Becky Halat.

Summer—it’s when we have fun in the sun. Our theme for June is Play, and it can’t be mere coincidence that beach balls and baseballs rotate like our playground Earth moves. We love the sun, its energy, and its radiation. It’s the source of life, and we appreciate summer like the green plants that convert the sun into life.

Especially in Minnesota, warm weather gives us the urge to get out and play, since we know that our time in the sun is limited at this high a latitude. Summer 2021 is a double-whammy, with vaccinations up and Covid-19 infections down. We play, with the solemn knowledge that not everyone made it here. Continue reading →

Highlights from the Annual Congregational Meeting on May 23, 2021

Fred Hulting, Board President

Last Sunday we held our annual congregational business meeting.  You can access the agenda and all of the meeting documents here.  Attendees heard from the President, Minister, Treasurer, and Council about the activities of the past year, and took the following actions:

  • The congregation approved an operating budget for the 2021-2022 church year, with total expenditures of $428,000.  The new budget is a 7% increase over this year, driven by increases in health and retirement benefits for the staff, and some added costs to reopen the building.
  • A capital budget of $32,000 was also approved, which will fund upgrades to the audio and video systems in the sanctuary to enable multi-platform worship (in-person and online).  About $25,000 of that amount will need to be raised to fund the video portion of the system.  More details on the system, and how you can make a donation to support the project,  will be published next week.  Questions about the project may be directed to Rev. Lisa Friedman, or to our Music Director, Paul Winchester.
  • The congregation elected new Board Members:  Fred Hulting as President and Becky Halat as Vice-President for one-year terms; and Jeff Adrian, Janna Sundby, and Brian Zais as new Trustees for three-year terms.  Also elected were new Nominating Committee members Lori Arnold, Sharon Charles, and Kathy Stuebner (1 year terms).

The 2020-21 church year was remarkable, and I encourage you to read all the details in the annual report. We not only responded in amazing ways to the tragic events in our world, but we managed to thrive in many areas, bringing innovative ideas and new energy to many areas of our ministry. I expect that next year will be remarkable in its own way, as we return to the building but not to the “way things were.” We will create a new multi-platform ministry with Sunday services and other programs available both in-person and online. We will carry forward our momentum for social justice.  And we will draw new energy from being together in person.

Plans for a Phased Reopening of the Church

Fred Hulting and Rev. Lisa Friedman

With the increase in vaccination rates, and the relaxation of state COVID restrictions, many of you are asking the question: “when will we reopen the church?”  We are all looking forward to a time when we get back together safely and resume many of our familiar rituals and programs.

At its May 13th meeting, the Board approved a plan from Rev. Lisa Friedman for the phased reopening of the church.  This approach will accommodate the needs of our community, while ensuring the safety of our staff, members, and friends.  And it will give our staff the necessary time to work through the many details required to reopen the building. This is not just a return to the way things were.  We get to learn from the past year and work towards a new multi-platform ministry, with Sunday services and other programs available both in-person and online. Continue reading →

UUCM Annual Congregational Meeting

11:15 AM on Sunday, May 23, 2021

Fred Hulting, Board President

The UUCM Annual Congregational Meeting will be held Sunday, May 23, 2021, at 11:15, via Zoom, in accordance with the UUCM By-Laws. All members are encouraged to participate, as a quorum is needed to conduct business.  Friends of UUCM are also welcome to attend.

Below you will find information about the decisions to be made at the meeting. This page will updated regularly over the next week with new details.

The full agenda is available; here are the main business items: Continue reading →