Mid-year Report from the WSUU Board of Trustees

The following is a transcript of the Mid-Year Report delivered by Board President, Patti McCall on Sunday, January 28.

Good afternoon.  I don’t think I see any unfamiliar faces, but just in case, I am Patti McCall and I am the current President of the Board of Trustees at Westside.  We are just about halfway through our church year and, as the representative for the entire Board, I’d like to share what we’ve been working on since July 1st 2017 and what we will continue to work on through June 30th of this year.

Our plan for this meeting is this.  I will start with a description of what the board has identified as its goals and priorities.  Then Michael Matz, Finance Committee Chair, will be providing a brief snapshot of our congregation’s financial status.  Then, I’ll be back to give a brief overview of the early stages we’ve just entered into the Search Process for a new called minister.  This will be followed by a video from our Regional Transitions Coach, Rev. Nancy Bowen.  Finally, I’ll open up the floor to questions.  I would like this meeting to be over by 1:15.

 “What the Board Has Been Working on…”

In August, John Britt facilitated our Board Retreat where he helped us identify our goals and priorities for the coming year.  One contributing factor in setting our goals was knowing we were going to begin another search for a called minister.  We felt like we wanted to spiff the place up and demonstrate that we are an active, vibrant community of people who care for each other as well as world we’re a part of.


The issue of accessibility—mobility and hearing, for example—has been on many Board Agendas and has certainly been on the minds of our members for a long time.  We realized at the Board Retreat that we wanted to commit to making real progress on this issue during this church year.  Alex has supported and championed this issue also.  We have established a couple of Ad Hoc groups to look at all of our options building on work that was done a few years ago but also investigating new options.  I wish I could say there was a definite plan in place, but I can honestly say we should be able to share an actual progress report at our annual meeting.

“Cleaning Up”

The cartoon reads, “Love is…cleaning up your old mess before making a new mess.”

It’s not terribly exciting (except maybe to Alex), but our documents of governance need to be cleaned up.  We have two different small groups involved: one reviewing our Bylaws and one our Policy Handbook.  The Bylaws are in pretty good shape and any changes to those would need to be presented at a Congregational Meeting.  The Policy Handbook has grown by fits and starts just as our congregation has grown.  Some of the policies are vital for the safety and care of our community; other policies are dated and unnecessary.  We would like to have both the Bylaws and Policy Handbook clean and tidy by the time our new called minister arrives.

“Social Justice”

As some of you know, I help out in the office with the new yellow cards that visitors fill our and I am also on the membership committee.  Overwhelmingly, it has been apparent that people are walking through our doors looking for an opportunity for social justice and activism.  Thanks to a handful of dedicated activists within our community, a Social Justice Council was established making it easier for new people as well as members to find a way to engage in their passion.

Their mission statement is: The Westside UU Social Justice Council coordinates the social justice efforts of the congregation in recognition of the need to work together for the common good and against all forms of systemic oppression. We do this compassionately through communication, education and action on issues that threaten the attainment of justice, health, and well-being of people and the planet.

Just a few of their successes from the last six months include hosting the Westside Interfaith Network Welcome Table on December 23rd.  A large contingent from Westside participated in the Women’s March…again.  Regina Brennan invited Westside members to help her celebrate her birthday at the Northwest Detention Center.  Anne Miller continues her work with the Environmental Justice group.  And just yesterday, there was a Civics Skill-Share and Democracy Networking Café.


As our membership has changed and grown, it has been apparent our current Organizational Chart is sadly out of date.  A Board member is leading the Leadership Assembly to identify current committee heads as well as leadership gaps.

In September, the Board hosted a Leadership Training Workshop facilitated by Tandi Rogers from the Pacific Western Regional UUA.

The Board is also looking at the possibility of Chartering vital councils or committees within the congregation in order to better understand their work; establish guidelines and rules for their work; and facilitate continuity of leadership roles within those vital groups.

Finally, another board member is working on creating a Participation Team whose goal is to engage our membership in the life of the congregation whether they are new or long-time members.  The team would also create a line of communication so members are aware of opportunities available for their participation.

“We Like Being Together…”

The Board hosted the party kicking off our new church year, aka our Ingathering BBQ in September which was well attended and a whole lot of fun.

In six days, we will have another opportunity to get together—our annual Auction which this year has the theme to Reach for the Moon.  The hardworking auction committee has done everything possible to make sure this event is inclusive and successful.  As of Friday night, they had sold 150 tickets!!  That is a remarkable number and I can hardly wait.

“MST Process”

As soon as the holidays were over, the Board got serious about getting started on the early stages of our search for a Settled Minister.  With input from Alex and Mark Newton, the Board asked John Britt to facilitate the Discernment Team which is the committee who will take the nominations received from hopefully every member of our congregation and create a slate of seven members to be on the Ministerial Search Team.  We are so grateful John agreed to be the facilitator!

Then the Board, the Nominating Committee and John started to think about names for the Discernment Team.  After a lot of discernment, John contacted and received “yeses” from:

Marco Deppe

Simon Knaphus

Betsy Lowry

Tracy Burrows

Thomas Terence

Rose Sheppard

And Laura White.


“Nominations for the MST”

So, these seven individuals are looking for your nomination for the Ministerial Search Team by a week from today, February 4th.


“What’s Next”

The Discernment Team will work for the next two months to create a Ministerial Search Team.  Then there will be a special congregational meeting in April with only one item on the agenda:  to vote on the slate of the MST as decided by the Discernment Team.

Now, I’d like to play a video from Rev. Nancy Bowen, our Regional Transitions Coach.  In case you have your calendar handy, Nancy will be visiting our congregation May 4-6; the Ministerial Search Team will have their retreat on May 5th and Rev. Nancy will give a sermon on May 6th.  But I’ll let Rev. Nancy give you the details.

Click here to view video

Regarding  Sunday Service on January 21, 2018:

There has been a lot of heartfelt conversation happening within our congregation this last week.  The Board and Alex are aware you have questions and concerns but we’re also aware that it would be a mistake to react without a clear plan.  Rev. Alex was out of town last week at a UU Minister’s Conference and, although he kept in touch, we only had our first chance to sit down with him this morning.  And we’ll be doing so again this week.  I’m sure it must be frustrating to not know how issues that were raised last week are going to be addressed and resolved.  I promise you, we are listening to you and we will be responding to you when we have a plan in place.  We are honoring our responsibility as your Board of Trustees and our work on your behalf will be transparent.

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