Board Update for October 2021

Dear WSUU Friends, The board continues to be busy with several different projects and we are pleased to provide an update. We met this past Thursday and talked about many things, include revisiting COVID policies and discussing the future of RE programs in light of staff changes. As you probably read in last week’s Westside Week, we agreed to plan for in-person worship at WSUU beginning on December 5.  We are deeply grateful for the work of the COVID Task Force (Liz Berggren, Jill Jackson, Amanda Maier, and Chris Hollinger), who have spent many hours reviewing safety guidelines and public

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September Update from Board of Trustees

Dear Westside Community, We are writing to update you regarding one aspect of our board work.  The board is responsible for supervision of our minister, Reverend Christopher. As we self-organize to cover the different board roles and responsibilities, we have designated two board members to be the leads for this function: Laura Pierce and Marco Deppe. We recognize that it may not be obvious how concerns related to staff should be handled, and that without formal channels for feedback, concerns can fester or lead to gossip rather than resolution. The managerial structure of our congregation is that Rev. Christopher is

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WSUU Board Retreat Update

by Jim Schlough, Board Treasurer August 22, 2021 The recently elected Board of Trustees of our church got together last Sunday for a daylong retreat. We have an entirely new board of five people this year and, although many of us have served previously on other non-profit boards, we want to determine how we can best serve the specific needs and hopes of our beloved WSUU community. We also want to express gratitude for the guidance we have already received from last year’s board members.Let me remind you who we are: Kristina Darnell, president; Marco Deppe, vice-president; Laura White, secretary; Jim Schlough,

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WSUU COVID Guidelines

September 1, 2021 Love of community, safety, and accessibility are our primary goals for our beloved spiritual home. We celebrate all those involved in nurturing our community virtually and in person. General Guidelines on Church Property Inside and Outside Masks are required in all indoor WSUU church spaces unless you are a vaccinated staff member working alone or with other employees, a young child under 2 years of age and/or those who cannot wear a mask due to a health or accessibility need. Masks are optional outside the building for vaccinated persons. All unvaccinated persons should wear a mask unless

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A Letter from the Board in Response to the Events in Georgia

As we mourn the precious lives lost in last week’s violent attacks in Georgia, we offer care and love to our Asian American and Pacific Islander friends, congregants, and community members. We bear witness to the painful impacts of anti-Asian racism, which has escalated in the last year, but also has a long, repugnant history in this country. We also acknowledge the damage that Asian stereotypes have long played, including the way Asians have been viewed as a silent and model minority, experiencing no problems in American society. This simple formulation undercuts the diversity of the Asian American experience, and

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Board Member Article for January – Thomas Terence

When Jeanette and Elsa and I started attending Westside in 2009, we were mostly interested in helping Elsa answer some of her questions about what religion could be. It came out pretty quickly that Jeanette was a teacher and I was a teacher in my previous career. We were asked if we would be interested in teaching RE and we both said yes right away. I have been with RE since – still teaching via Zoom (for now)  and serving on the RE Council for a couple of years. Through this, I’ve met many wonderful people – fellow teachers and

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Connection Survey Results

In the December 20th and January 1st Westside Weeks we offered a survey of congregational connection during these challenging times. The results were overall encouraging, with almost 70% of respondents saying they were feeling connected or deeply connected and over 80% of respondents saying that they are okay with the level of connection they have, at least for now. That said, with only a little over 30 people responding, there are many community members we didn’t hear from. It’s also clear that those feeling the least connected are unlikely to be answering a survey about it. The answers still provided

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President’s Letter January 2021- Vanessa Shaughnessy

We made it to 2021! I hope you had opportunities for rest and joy in the last few weeks of that very long year. I am deeply grateful that those of us on the board have been able to take some time for celebration and rejuvenation ourselves, especially because it’s about to get very busy! It’s been helpful for me to reflect that, through the hurt and uncertainty of the last several months, there have been opportunities unique to this time. Virtual gatherings have fostered connection and conversation that may not have happened in person. For example, my youngest is

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A Pledge, an Offering, and an Auction Event Walk into a Bar…

At Westside, our three biggest sources of congregant-based income are: Your pledges Our yearly Auction Sunday Shared Offering contributions Why are there three separate ways to give financial support to our community, instead of just one?   A pledge is what you believe you can commit to giving Westside in a given year, which makes it possible for us to build a budget for the upcoming year. It lets us know whether or not we can provide more benefits to our staff, expand congregational programs, or pay for anticipated building expenses.   Historically, pledges alone have not provided enough to cover our

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Right Relations Survey Results!

From the Right Relations Phase One Team — Thank you to the 60 people who responded to our Right Relations survey — woohoo! The input we received is very helpful. The majority of voters chose congregational training as a foundation for working with our covenant. We also received seven alternative responses, and many thoughtful comments. We learned some important things from your input, especially regarding our covenant. Here are some of the informative comments, and look for more Westside Week articles with Right Relations updates! Congregational Training — Maybe the first priority should be more general education about what this

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