The monthly newsletter of the
Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson
4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711, 520-748-1551, www.uuctucson.org.
To view previous editions of the newsletter, click here.
Newsletter editor: Craig Rock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Navigating this 4-page newsletter: Link onto the desired page at the top or bottom of each page.
UUCT News Briefs
Volunteer Wanted: Facilitator for Church Yard Sale: Contact Beth Britton for details at email@example.com.
Special Notice on Local Film Screening
of the Infiltrators
at the Creative Photography Museum, U of A Campus
Thursday, May 4, 7 PM, Free
Join us for a screening of Infiltrators, a visceral “road movie” that chronicles the daily travails of Palestinians of all backgrounds as they seek routes through, under, round, and over a bewildering matrix of barriers. Khaled Jarrar’s debut documentary was the standout success at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, the International Critics Prize, and the Gold Hugo for the best Documentary at Chicago International Film Festival.
About the Artist: Born in the occupied West Bank in 1976, Khaled Jarrar currently lives and works in Tucson, Arizona, where he is researching the potential fallout of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. Jarrar is also working on a film and multimedia series that documents his month-long journey with a group of migrants who traveled to Europe last year in order to draw attention to the plight of Syrian refugees. To learn more about Jarrar, please visit http://www.ayyamgallery.com/artists/khaled-jarrar
Page 1: News on the annual UUCT membership meeting; the President's and BOT's Annual Report; Rev Lyn's Column; UUA's Love Resists program; Share the Plate suggestions; film screening at Creative Photography Museum; and the Annual Picnic.
Page 2: Exploring Mount Lemmon; UU camping on Memorial Day; Share the Plate for May (Cat Shelter); and CUUPS notices.
Page 3: Report on Climate March; ACLU needs volunteers; Tucson ID cards; Proposed environmental justice class; Social Justice Council meeting and its Annual Report.
Page 4: Photos and a poem.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller
Reverend Lyn's Column
What a beautiful time this is! Looking forward to honoring our former Music Director, Agnes Paulsen on her birthday, next Sunday, May 7. You don’t want to miss seeing Agnes and hearing all – almost all -- about this beloved woman who has given so much to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson. Feel free to bring a card!
As we begin to move forward with new leadership on July 1, we have much to do, one step at a time. As your elected Search Committee begins its work, they will need your advice and support. We have important interim goals and priorities to set, and serious work to do to prepare for a new minister. Here are the recommended interim goals for Unitarian Universalist congregations.
• claiming and honoring its past and engaging and honoring its griefs and conflicts
• recognizing its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges
• clarifying the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition
• making appropriate use of District, UUA, and other outside resources
• proudly coming into possession of a renewed vision and strong stewardship, prepared for new growth and new professional leadership, ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest.
The current Board of Trustees Team will assess the congregation’s progress, as will I, before the end of this fiscal year (June 30). We will seek input from the Transition Team and the congregation. We will set priorities from among these interim goals. We will send these assessment reports to the UUA Transitions office.
The newly elected Board of Trustees will begin a new phase, based on results of completed assessments. And your newly elected Board will add their recommendations for priorities. During the next year, while your Search Committee is completing its work to find the most promising minister to serve this wonderful congregation, the Board of Trustees, Transition Team and I will do our best to lead you through the process of accomplishing the remaining interim goals, according to the priorities that you and your leaders will have agreed on.
Although I will be away most of the summer on study leave and vacation, my study leave will be dedicated to planning for the next year, with the advice of the Transition Team and your Board of Trustees. It is an exciting time. Working together we have all made a lot of progress. I look forward with great enthusiasm and confidence in all of you, to the interim year that lies ahead.
In our great Unitarian Universalist faith, and in great faith and you,
In January, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) began an unprecedented level of collaboration to support a growing movement to resist hate speech and xenophobic policy actions at local, state, and national levels, fed by the Trump administration’s dangerous and immoral policy agenda. Since then, thousands of individuals, congregations, and organizations have joined us by adding their names to the “Declaration of Conscience,” kick-starting the first phase in our recently named joint initiative, Love Resists.
Over the past three months, that effort has continued to grow. Love Resists is now nearly 15,000 strong, and includes individuals and groups from all 50 states, as well as across the globe. You have joined us in this work to resist the increasing criminalization of our communities and to support inclusive policies and strategies that will create safer, more just, welcoming, and sustainable communities.
Many of you have already taken further actions beyond signing the Declaration—participating in Conscience Calls, joining us in webinars to learn more about sanctuary policies and strategies, and sharing resources and information about ongoing work in your communities. We are taking another step forward in this major effort, unveiling a new website which offers a range of information and materials to help you engage in this work. The site is designed to facilitate your learning about strategies and tactics that are having positive impacts as well as share news updates and enable you to more easily report the great work you are doing as you inspire and network with others. We invite you to visit loveresists.org to continue this journey and join the online conversation using #LoveResists on social media!
In faith and solidarity, Carey McDonald and Pamela Sparr, on behalf of Love Resists
President and Board of Trustees Report
May 2016 - April 2017
The past year has been a time of transition. Our ministry is in the process of moving through an interim minister towards calling a new settled minister. Morale has gone from low to high. Finances have gone from increasing to decreasing debt and from deficit to balanced budgets. Some friends have left, some new friends have joined, and many have returned who had previously stepped away from UUCT. We still struggle to function with a minimal staff and relatively low pledge totals.
Rev. Diane Dowgiert resigned at the end of her contract year, July 31, 2016, after 10 years as our settled minister. UUCT bid her farewell with an event that brought many people from the past and present and from regional churches together in celebration of her tenure at UUCT.
In the spring of 2016, The Board of Trustees (BOT) asked F. Valdes to form an Interim Search Committee. This committee (F. Valdes, M. Maliniak, M. Garcia, W. Hoffman, S. Kraynak, G. Luce, G. Moore, and J. Moore) received applications from seven candidates and recommended Rev. Dr. Madeline (Lyn) Oglesby. The BOT accepted this recommendation and contracted with Rev. Oglesby. For reasons of her schedule and our budgetary limits, the contract started Oct. 15, 2016 and runs through July 2018. She arrived as planned and took up her duties, which include achieving transition goals for the congregation.
The Worship Associates oversaw an engaging worship program while we were without a minister in residence. We praise and honor the worship services they provided.
During the interim period the Committee on Ministry was suspended and a Transition Team (S. Kraynak, S. Call, G. Luce, J. Moore, and C. Saunders) was formed and approved by the BOT. The Transition Team advises the Interim minister and the congregation and, in case of disputes, works with the minister as a substitute for the COM.
This year also saw the departure of Ministries Assistant Heather Reed, Office Manager Ashley Davis, and LFD Director Kathleen Hogue. H. Reed's departure was a consequence of budget cuts; the others resigned to pursue other opportunities. This year saw the addition of Samantha Meyer and Courtney Boyden as part-time LFD staff. C. Boyden subsequently resigned to move from Tucson. S. Meyer is stepping down at the end of this fiscal year and we are in search of a new part-time Director of Religious Education.
We have worked with our District and National UUA Offices, especially with Rev. A. Hines and Rev. S. Milspaugh, as we transition and begin organizing for a settled minister search. This year we held several Leadership and Congregational workshops to review where we have been, what we need to address during the interim ministry, and where we go next.
Lifespan Faith Development offerings continued through the year despite the challenges of staff turnover and reductions. Small Group Ministries were offered at a reduced size, and several long-time groups continued. The R.E. Program included classes for elementary, middle-school, and YRUU. Our Whole Lives sexuality education was offered for K-1 children and high school youth, both for UUCT’s children and youth and for the community.
Our music program continued to be top-notch under the leadership of B. Moon, with the additional talents of L. Beriyeva and the Desert Chorale.
Following the Annual Meeting, the previous BOT saw the resignation of its second president (R. Walker), who had taken over from an acting team of Board members (E. Nelson and C. Valdes). F. Valdes, the incoming president elect, was asked by the Board to take office early. Early in this Board year three members (M. Maliniak, E. Nelson, R. Walker) resigned and were replaced by three others (A. Bloom, B. Weeks, and J. Garcia). Since then the BOT has been stable and working well together.
The priorities of the current president and BOT were to: a) restore trust in the governance of UUCT, b) address the financial situation and the lack of a Finance Committee, c) increase transparency, and d) increase volunteerism. In addition to these priorities, the BOT voted to hire an interim minister and worked through the transition process.
The governance concerns were addressed in several ways. We increased congregational participation in the Executive Team (C. White and C. Boyden), involved the Congregation in discussions of governance options through a forum, and started transitioning to a new governance structure. The Executive Team was active through part of the year and then disbanded as trust was restored to the BOT.
A Finance Committee was formed (M. Garcia, B. Britton, W. Hoffman, R. Meyer, J. Periale) with a vision, mission, and charter, and started taking a strong role in developing financial policies and budgets. It is functioning well and building congregational trust in our financial leadership. The BOT appreciates their contributions as well as those of our Treasurer, B. Skinner, and bookkeeper, M. Mannenbach.
The year started with UUCT in poor financial shape. We were in debt to our own reserve accounts and to the bank. The Congregation failed to approve a budget at the 2016 Annual Meeting. The Board, with the assistance of M. Garcia, developed a budget plan consisting of a Fall Budget with a Spring Budget to be proposed and adopted at a December Congregational Budget meeting. The Fall Budget included a reduction in force of one staff, a delay in the start of the interim minister from when the departing minister was no longer on the payroll, a reduction in staff hours, and a $10,000 gap to be filled by a matching campaign initiated by a generous member. The Congregation stepped forward to fill the gap and the period saw a significant payback on debts as well as some surplus.
The Spring Budget, prepared by the Finance Committee and approved by the Board and Congregation, continued reductions in debt but required another gap campaign of $11,000. The Congregation again responded, and, in the estimation of the Board, the Congregational finances are in a good state and with a good trajectory. Our pension payments for our hard-working entitled staff are caught up after having been in arrears for several years and small raises were awarded.
Transparency was increased through emphasis on more communication. One method was monthly Call to the Congregation meetings and congregational forums for members to hear updates from the president and other leaders and to engage in questions and discussion of any issues of concern. Another major improvement was a greatly enhanced newsletter under the editorship of C. Rock. Our Facebook postings and weekly emails have been increased in content and a weekly email blast has made getting information out through multiple avenues simpler.
Volunteerism was addressed through the formation of a PIT Crew (People Involvement Team (C. Saunders, C. Boyden, D. Burks.) The reduction of staff has also been a factor in recruiting more help.
The Capital Campaign of the 2016 fiscal year funded important improvements this year; specifically a new, more visible sign and upgrades and replacements for our telephone and internet systems. Work is also underway on providing Holland with a modern "looping" system for those needing hearing assistance.
Another area that was revitalized during this year was Social Justice. The Social Justice Council was formed and led by C. Rock, with a significant number of participants. In addition, UUCT officially became a supporting member of the UU Justice Arizona Network (UUJAZ.) The Social Justice Minute became a recurring part of our worship, and the Congregation adopted a resolution in support of the "Move to Amend" movement. And let's not forget that UUCT, as part of the Baja 4, hosted the PSWD Justice District Assembly. Many of our members contributed greatly, including C. Saunders, our Baja 4 representatives S. Rock and W. Smith, and our staff M. Wiese and J. Carrillo.
Other revitalized or renovated committees have been the Membership Committee, Landscaping Team, Caring Team, Tech Team, and Publicity Team. The BOT commends the on-going work of the Kitchen Ministry that is a vital part of our Sunday fellowship. Thank you, M. Newhouse, B. Keyes, J. Dare, M. Epperson and the rest of crew that steps in to help.
The church successfully held several of our traditional fund-raising events: Rummage Sale, Service Auction, and Cabaret. These are labor-intensive and the many volunteers who worked on them, led by organizers B. Ricca, S. Ongley, B. Britton, and M. Magruder, are greatly appreciated.
We have broadened our worship opportunities and outreach to segments of the population that are not as well served by our Sunday worship services by sponsoring a chapter of the Covenant of UU Pagans (CUUPS). This group, led by C. Cooper and J. Olsen, has been holding "Wheel of the Year" events and is in the process of becoming chartered.
Thank you all in the congregation and staff, whether explicitly highlighted or not, for your support and participation in the many activities of our church this past year.
Frank Valdes, Ken Asch, Aston Bloom, JD Garcia, Bill Keyes, Liz Ravenwood, Brad Weeks