March 24, 2023
By Michael Bloom

The Board of Trustees met on March 16, 2023.  We discussed some comments I received from members after last month’s message about quality and growth.  The congregation appears to be engaged in the debate, which makes me happy.  A great point to share is that quality and growth may not be mutually exclusive.  Also, if a member perceives a decline in church quality, the member often chooses to back away from church activities.  This might be some kind of clue!

We reviewed reports submitted to the board by our key staff and committees.  Our new bookkeeper – Cheryl Rivers – who serves as First UU Church’s bookkeeper – is working well with Alejandra Gonzalez, our amazing Congregational Administrator, to get fully up to speed.

We were able to confirm that Scott Steib – a relatively new member with deep financial and treasury experience at other churches – will serve as our new Treasurer and will work monthly with the Finance Committee and Cheryl to review financial transactions and overall conditions. Special thanks to Dori for serving as Treasurer for a (long) while! Special thanks to Hillary Ritz for contacting Scott in real time during our meeting!  Special thanks to Scott for stepping up to serve as Treasurer!

The Board acknowledged Mike Hilgart’s resignation from the Board in preparation for his move to Wisconsin. We celebrated his tenure and poked fun at the cheese state. I forgot to take a screen shot of our resident Wisconsiner – Katy Carpman – wearing her cheese hat.  The Board realized that the vacancy arising from Mike’s departure did not need to be filled as we work our way down to seven board members as defined by our updated Constitution and By-Laws.

Of course, mentioning Katy, brings me to the news that Katy will be moving to southeastern Pennsylvania! What’s that saying? The only constant is change.

If you have children and are deeply involved with youth programs I can only imagine what you must be feeling.  I acknowledge the feelings of loss and the sense of uncertainty that parents and youth must be feeling right now.  Katy will certainly be missed. That said, I promise that I will invest my time and energy to help coordinate the board, our interim minister, and Katy (until June) in the development of a transition plan.  If you have any ideas about the transition or about the future Emerson youth programs, please shoot me a note or give me call.  I hope you will join me in wishing Katy and her family happiness and success in the next stage of her life.

On March 20, 2023 I presided over the first meeting of the Long Term Planning Task Force, which includes Troy Rockett, Elspeth Davis, Trish Hinojosa, Linda Lord, Nancy Lipp, and Ann May.  During the meeting we reviewed the task force charter, the task force elected its officers – Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary; and the task force scheduled recurring task force meetings.  After the election I handed over the “gavel” to Troy Rocket who was elected Chair.  Ann May was elected Vice Chair, and Trish Hinojosa was elected Secretary.  During the meeting Elspeth Davis decided to step back from the effort for personal reasons.  The Board will recommend a replacement for her during our April meeting.

Michael Bloom