Leadership Board Presidents’ Report

Submitted by Jennifer Barton and Janet Jensen, Co-Presidents

 

2015-16 Leadership Board Members:  Jennifer Barton and Janet Jensen, Co-Presidents; Paul Gasser and Chuck Winter, Co-Presidents-Elect; Bob Prestby, Treasurer; Ruth Duenk, Rosa Gomez, Jenny Elsner-Miller, Stephanie Loehr, Mark Ludwig, Karen Ringlien, Brian Monroe, Jackee Domoe, and Katie Egan-Bruhy,
Trustees.

2015-16 Board Secretary:  Jenny Goetz

2015-16 Financial Secretary: Ed Ahrenhoerster

 

This has been a year of defining ourselves, our mission, and our hoped-for future.  We have been a congregation and a team of leaders in transition.  Our goals for this year were to lead without a settled minister, to support and grow our Religious Education program, to welcome and encourage guests and new members, to find ways to promote UU principles to our communities, to better understand congregational spiritual needs, and to manage volunteer and committee expectations in a nurturing and sustainable manner.  We have tried to honor all of our members and meet the expectations of our roles while balancing home and work lives.

 

The UCN Worship Committee put together a simply fantastic progression of speakers.  Rev. Drew Kennedy’s sermon series entitled “What Do You Believe” not only brought in large audiences; his informal survey also helped define the congregation.  But literally every Sunday sermon or speech has been challenging, informative, stimulating and meaningful.

 

We put a strong priority on RE, and the hire of Deborah Fugenschuh was the result of a professional and careful search.  In hindsight, hers was a difficult transition from a much-loved predecessor and from practices and expectations that were not codified – but she handled successes and challenges with grace and professionalism and dedication.  Her decision to leave was driven by a professional opportunity she could neither have foreseen nor refuse.

 

We have also put a strong priority on promotion and communication.  Hosting the film “This Changes Everything” was a joint effort of, and representative of, Building, Facilities, Communication, Green, Landscape, RE, and Social Justice committees.  Not only did we welcome a large audience, this effort spoke to world-wide threats from pollution and climate change.

 

Leadership meetings have been respectful, welcoming, reasonably efficient, and above all pretty enjoyable.  In addition to RE, we have worked on fee structures for rentals, ministerial functions, technology, and support staff.  We have functioned as a support network for committees, albeit without the formal committee representation of some UU boards.  We have welcomed input and expertise from congregants not on the board, both through “Open Forum” (formerly “Voice of the People”) segments and within agendae as appropriate.

 

We are concerned about over-extending our small leadership and congregation.  To that end, we are co-presidents, and there are co-presidents elect.  Committee leadership is often shared, and we are examining ways to consolidate and streamline committee functions.  We have tried to make the ‘ask’ and the sign up process easier through apps such as ‘Donorsnap’ and ‘Sign Up Genius’.

 

Acknowledging our differences, we have yet to codify a Black Lives Matter response.  There is ongoing, and productive, ‘dynamic tension’ with regard to the building and its mortgage, and what goes on within.

Having ‘survived,’ so to speak, our next goal is to work on mission and the future in a manner that involves the entire congregation.  We plan more circles, a survey, and more listening.  Financially, we may be looking at another year without a settled minister, or perhaps a part-time structure.  We have begun another DRE search.

 

We look forward to moving ahead as a team.  With gratitude for all that is UCN,

Janet Jensen and Jennifer Barton

 

Treasurer’s Report

The Annual Financial Report will be published at the end of the fiscal year.

 

COMMITTEES

 

Adult Spiritual Enrichment

Submitted by Judy Milbrath, Chair

 

Active Members and Chair

Peggy Creer, Judi Kistler, Jackie Domoe, Art Campbell, Jon Olsen, Judy O’Connell, Brenda Wingard, Ted Turner, Ruth Duenk, Joy Schroeder, Brian Bunzel, Liz Warner, Jan Watson, Judy Milbrath (chair)

 

Purpose of Committee

The goal of Adult Spiritual Enrichment is to nurture and stimulate the personal, spiritual, and religious growth of the adult church community and community at large by offering varied and cohesive programs within the context of the larger Unitarian Universalist traditions and principles and other faith traditions and sources.

 

Goals Consistent with UCN’s Vision and Mission

The goals of Adult Spiritual Enrichment are to create a setting in which participants may experience a variety of points of view of experts, professionals, and each other on aspects of religion, spirituality, values, ethics, and morals.

“While our congregation upholds shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about theological issues. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, Unitarian Universalists are free to search for truth on many paths. We welcome people who identify with and draw inspiration from Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions.”

 

Seven principles essential to religious and spiritual growth:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth.
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Sources: Unitarian Universalism (UU) s draws from many sources. Particularly relevant for Adult SE is “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men; wisdom from the world’s religions; Humanist teachings; and spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions.”

 

Activities Carried Out this Year that Fulfill Goals of Committee

  • Completed reading and discussion of Huston Smith’s Man’s Religions
  • Bill Moyers and Huston Smith DVD The Wisdom of Faith, showing Smith’s own involvement  in Hinduism & Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
  • The Arc of Life DVD with Huston Smith and gerontologist Ken Dychtwald who questions him at age 91 on his many views on life, death, religion, and love.
  • Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning From Death-Camp to Existentialism. Pt.1 & 2

 

  • Adult Sunday Morning Forum 2015-2016 (meets the 4th Sunday of the month after the service).

The NY Times Opinion pages began a new series on political topics for 2015-2016 with
interviews by Gary Gutting on philosophical issues underlying current political topics including:

“When Immigrants Lose Their Human Rights”  “What Can We do About Climate Change?”

“What’s Wrong with Inequality?”                      “The Virtues of Political Disagreement”

“Can Torture Ever Be Moral?”                          “What Economics Can (and Can’t) Do”

“In the Age of ISIS, Can We Still Have ‘Just Wars’?”

 

Groups sponsored by Adult SE

Emerson Readers book discussion group, which now meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6:30-8:00 pm in the Quiet Rm. Participants choose books and volunteer to facilitate a book.

 

Meditation group led by Anna Rychner, which meets now in Thiensville.

 

April 24  “Compassion and Choices: Death with Dignity” “C & C is the oldest, largest and most active organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. It has been on the forefront in fighting for the individual’s rights of decision making, especially as one nears death.” The presentation were given by Dr. Bruce Wilson, an oncologist who has worked with C & C for many years and Dan Schauer, also a volunteer at C & C.

 

Activities and Issues Essential for the Adult Spiritual Enrichment Committee

  • Chair writes updates on programing for Friday Flyers and monthly Northliner.
  • More people need to share their talents and willingness to participate in leadership for Adult SE.
  • The white binder for signup sheets has not received much attention, perhaps because we do not have an Information Table downstairs.

 

Collaborative Efforts with Groups inside the Church 

Communication, Administrative Assistant

 

Quantitative Measure of People Served

Approximately 5-8 or more members and occasionally visitors

 

Future Goals  I have stepped down from chair of Adult SE for next year. I am willing to mentor a capable replacement.

Auction Team

By Leigh Hoftiezer, Auction Chairperson

 

UCN’s annual auction is the single largest fundraiser held for our church, with a budget of $11,000 net to be raised. This year it will be held June 4, 2016, with many of the same details from previous years. Last year it was held Saturday, May 30, 2015, primarily in the upper level of UCN. Childcare was provided in the lower level. A wide variety of items were donated, from personal treasures to business donations, along with special services and dinners in the home.  One hundred-two guests attended, with an average of $100 being spent by each guest. Our goal is to increase attendance to 125, and encourage everyone to invite their friends and family. The best advertising is word of mouth and a personal invitation.

 

This year’s Auction Team consists of Leigh Hoftiezer, Chairperson, Ruth Duenk, Amber Elsner-Miller, and Dean Johnson. Additional key areas will again be handled by Carol Pawlak and Janet Crosby (Food and Drinks), and Brian Monroe (Sponsorship). Donated items are assigned to one of 5 categories by the Auction Team: Raffle, Poster Party, Silent Auction, Wine Pull, and Live Auction. A catalog is created that is both printed for the members and attendees to peruse, as well as posted on the UCN website on our dedicated page.

A large contingency of members typically volunteers to assist with the auction, in preparation, delivery or final clean up.  Food and soft drinks are provided as part of the entrance fee, with sandwiches and deli trays coming from a local store and salads, desserts and side dishes donated by members. Wine and beer will also be available for purchase.

 

Larger expenses include the auctioneer, live entertainment, and some of the food that is served to attendees. Auctioneer Col. Robert Hanstad has assisted us for several years, advising the team to help the verbal auction succeed both in greater value and increased interest. Our live entertainment (5:00 p.m. ~ 6:30 p.m.) will be provided by Linda Binder and her husband, returning after serenading us last year. The remaining larger expense will be for food and beverages. After expenses in 2015, the total raised for the event was $12,719, $2,270 of which was dedicated to the Special Appeal. In 2015 the Special Appeal was for advertising and marketing of UCN. In 2016, it will be in support of UCN’s involvement in Family Promise.

 

In 2016 the Auction Team decided to revise UCN’s auction slogan to better reflect the reason we are raising funds. Thus, the new auction theme of “Supporting the Light of Religious Freedom” was adopted and all new paperwork was edited to reflect that change.

 

Sponsorship benefits were expanded so that ads or logos from our sponsors would be included on print media (posters and the catalog), yard signs, PowerPoint slide shows, and UCN’s auction webpage.

Since the Auction Team members have been doing this job for 6 years, we are eager to pass on the responsibility to others who would like to take it. Our current members would be glad to train and support any new people so that you may achieve at least as much success as we did. The planning and execution are fun, important to the financial health of the church, and time consuming – but only in spurts. The auction is well-supported by our members, who each year anticipate the fun evening and are eager to contribute to its success.

 

Building Committee and Facilities Use Committee

Submitted by Brian Bunzel, Chair, and Janet Jensen

Mike Thurow is the chair of the Facilities Use Committee.

The Facilities Use Committee has recently become part of the Building Committee.

 

Active Members

Brian Bunzel, Poul Sandersen, Mike Martin, George Barton, Ron Pawlak, Mark Ludwig, Pat Kotecki, Chuck Rychner, Dean Johnson, Terry Heckenback, Chuck Winter, Rosa Gomez, Rick, Ben,  and Ruby Kastenmeier,  Mary Terranova, Brian Monroe, Paul Gasser,  Seth Duhnke,  Jon Olson,  Mike Thurow.

 

Projects Finished This Year So Far

  • Contracted furnace repair in new addition.
  • Made and installed the quilt chart showing all the committee volunteers and the $ they save UCN.
  • Finished the acrylic room and storage room signs.
  • Made and installed octagon building info signs.
  • Cleared out three rooms for renting.
  • Reduced Jan Pro cleaning schedule and started Constance to fill the gap to save UCN $4000.
  • Repaired women’s bathroom light.
  • Made and installed hot weather procedure signs.
  • Contracted elevator repair.
  • Had a used, donated iron filter installed by Jeff C.
  • Built a shed for mowers and storage.
  • Designed a storage room reorganization plan for better RE use and more rental space.
  • Reorganized three storage rooms.
  • Completed playground playhouse.
  • Repaired wood chairs.
  • Painted arrow on driveway.
  • Reduced unneeded outdoor signs.
  • Rebuilt mailbox destroyed by a car.
  • New kitchen drawer signs, repairs and organized.
  • Made and installed recycling bin signs and reorganized garbage enclosure.

Projects in Process

  • Playground fence, gates, play net.
  • Building siding bird hole repairs.
  • Road sign improved lighting.
  • Vinyl floor repairs.
  • Painting repairs.
  • Installing all new toilets.
  • Sill box insulating.
  • Building gaps and holes.
  • Storage room reorganization.
  • Rent out prepared rooms.
  • Sanctuary light and sound improvements.
  • Contracted Jan Pro to clean all carpets.
  • Holding tank alarm improvements.
  • Solar electric system research.

 

Ongoing Maintenance Work

  • Light bulb replacing.
  • Mowing the grass. “Bush wacker crew”
  • Removing ice and doorway snow shoveling. “Ice Patrol crew”
  • Exterior window cleaning.
  • Door adjustments.
  • Turn on and off outdoor water faucets.
  • Furnace filters.
  • Building systems maintenance by us and Cintas.
  • Deep cleaning projects.
  • Minor plumbing repairs.
  • Minor electrical repairs.
  • Building rental issues.

 

Ongoing Renters

  • Caregivers: alternate Friday mornings in the Quiet Room. Stephanie Loehr is the facilitator.
  • Dancing River Mindfulness Community: Meditation rental. Monday evenings in the sanctuary.
    Dawn Safran is the organizer.
  • Tai Chi: Wednesday evenings in the Fellowship Hall. Jim Bayer is the teacher.
  • Art Oasis: Thursdays 11-3 in the Fellowship Hall. Eva McCrossin and Jean Woodmansee are the contact people.
  • Northern Cross Astronomy Group: First Thursday evening of the month in the Fellowship Hall. Kevin Bert and Jeff Setzer are the organizers.
  • Wis. Singer Songwriter Series: recurring renter. Joe DeLucia is the organizer. Facilities Coordinators share coverage for these concerts.
  • MAHL Home Learners: Fellowship Hall and sometimes a classroom, alternate Monday afternoons during the school year. Cardinal Lemoine is the contact person.

 

Other Renters

The facilities are also available for rent for weddings and other special occasions. Contact Lyn in the office for information.

 

Leasers

  • Anna Brinck: Quiet Room on Monday and Wednesday evenings. 414-530-4353, avbrinck@gmail.com
  • Elizabeth Lewis: Uses Lucy Stone Room as an office. 12710 N. Lake Shore Dr., Mequon, 53092
  • 262-243-9602. elizabethlewis@wi.rr.com

 

Groups that Use UCN Facilities for Meetings

  • NAACP: First Wednesday of the month, 6:30 pm. Sponsored by the Social Justice Committee.
  • Al-Anon: Tuesday mornings in the Fellowship Hall. Leigh Hoftiezer is the contact person. They give a donation quarterly.

 

Communications

Submitted by Peggy Creer, Chair 

Active Members

Peggy Creer, Chair; Kristin Gasser; Dean Johnson.

 

Purpose of the Committee

  • To serve as a coordinating and oversight group for internal and external communication, publicity and marketing for the church.
  • To seek and implement the best means of achieving effective internal and external communication for the church.

 

Goals of the Committee

Internal

  • To maintain dynamic tools for distributing information about church and denominational activities and events, decisions and plans to members and friends.
  • To oversee graphic guidelines of church documents and make them readily available to members.

 

External

  • To raise awareness of Unitarian Universalism and UCN; to inform local communities of our presence, principles, and activities.
  • To attract new people to the church; “advertise” the church as a home for religious seekers.
  • Explore new means of marketing the church and its programs.

 

Activities Carried out this Year toward Fulfilling the Committee Goals

  • Publicized UCN Sunday services, events and activities (ex. Drew Kennedy sermon series; recycling event; Auction; Family Promise; ASE classes; Perseid Meteor Shower Watch Party; NAACP forum; “This Changes Everything” Film screening/Open House; Presentation on “End-of-Life Options”).
  • Participated in the Mequon/Thiensville “Family Fun Before the Fourth” parade (30 people participated, with signs and music).
  • Sermon audio added to website and redesign in process when notified we had to take down website due to malware infection. This resulted in needing to quickly move website out of the Drupal content management system and into WordPress content management system provided free through the UUA. Used WordPress theme to structure the content for the website.
  • Contracted with Sucuri (web security company) to clean up site after malware infection in both the Drupal form and after site was moved into WordPress. Contract with Sucuri runs through 2/22/2017.
  • Enabled more committee/project chairs to update their pages on the website.
  • Kerri Rank Winter is helping with the UCN Facebook page, which has increased activity.
  • Participated for the second year in the S.E. WI LGBT Chamber of Commerce Wedding Expo.
  • Evaluated bulletin board space/usage and implemented plan to target upper level bulletin boards to external audience and target lower level bulletin boards to internal audience. New bulletin board design for west lobby. New bulletin board installed in Fellowship Hall for committee use.
  • Explored options for advertising UCN.

 

Goals for the Next Year

  • Continue to explore means of using the website, Google apps, and social networking tools for enhanced internal and external communications and marketing.
  • Continue to add and refine content for the website.
  • Enable more committee/project chairs to update their pages on the website.
  • Add sermon audio archives on website.
  • Continue publicity efforts to increase community awareness of UCN

 

Finance Committee

Submitted by Nancy Neumann and Katie Egan-Bruhy, Co-Chairs

 

Members

Voting Members:  Katie Egan-Bruhy (co-chair), Nancy Neumann (co-chair)., Lucy Friederichs, John Hoff, Amber Miller, Peter Blain, Mark Muellenbach and Linda Sandersen

Non-voting Members:  Bob Prestby (Treasurer)

 

Goals

  • To ensure the financial well-being of the church
  • To secure and manage church funds and property
  • To create and maintain a “Giving consciousness in the church

 

Activities Carried out and Programs/Projects Implemented this Year

  • Monitored current budget throughout the year, including current income and expenses
  • Discussed and responded to Committee unplanned financial requests that arose from time to time
  • Assumed and carried out the 2016/2017 pledge drive in the absence of a volunteer chair.
  • Solicited and assembled committee budget requests for 2016/2017
  • Created a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.

 

Goals and New Activities

  • Collaborate with Program Council and board to enhance continued sound financial practices
  • Work with new board to implement a long-range financial plan
  • Assist in identifying a new Finance Secretary for upcoming fiscal year
  • Identify a new fundraising source to replace lost revenue from the electronics recycling event.
  • Discuss a capital campaign for debt reduction.

 

First Sunday Lunch Planning Group

Submitted by Linda Sandersen

 

Members

Pat Mumm-Lovely, Linda Sandersen, Jan Crosby, Brenda Berg, Mike Martin,

Callie Thurow, Angie Kallaur

 

The FSL Planning Group met in the summer to plan lunches for 2015-2016, with seven in all, one per month (except for January, which is the Soul Café). Group members took turns coordinating them, sending notices for the Northliner and Friday Flyers, contacting participants to help provide the meals, and overseeing each lunch.

 

Food Themes

Macaroni & cheese, salads (October)

Chili (November)

Italian food, salads (December)

Soups & sandwiches (February)

Tacos (March)

Baked potato bar with toppings & salads (April)

Vegetarian (May)

Variety (All-Church picnic)

 

Rather than asking committee members to provide food this year, we divided the UCN Directory equally into alphabetical sections, asking people in each section to provide suggested food to be served. The response has been wonderful! It has gotten almost everyone into the act.

 

If others are interested in joining the group, please let our committee chair, Pat Mumm-Lovely, know. The lunches are a true community builder, as people get to know one another better over food! What fun!

Green Committee

Submitted by John Hoff, Chair

Committee Membership
John Hoff, Chair, Jenny Elsner, Dean Johnson, Lucy Friedrichs, Brian Monroe

 

Committee Mission
The Green Committee seeks for UCN to heal and preserve the natural environment for current and future generations of all living things by increasing sustainability and minimizing the negative ecological impact of UCN, our members, and our communities.

 

2015-2016 Goals

Our primary goal was continue what has become annual work of past years.  To learn more, read what follows.

 

2015-2016 in Review

UCN hosted its fifth annual electronics recycling event on September 19th for the surrounding communities.  Two hundred and twenty-two cars, of which more than 90% were not UCN members, drove through UCN’s campus to the back lot where eager volunteers unloaded their vehicles. People who passed UCN saw the recycling sign prior to the event and hopefully now recognize Unitarian Church North as a church and associate it with recycling and sustainability.  Those visiting that day experienced the friendly volunteers having fun while providing a valuable community service.  Visitors were vocal in expressing their gratitude to UCN for hosting the event. We kept more than three full box trucks worth of electronics and over 100 appliances out of area landfills, helping to protect generations to come from toxic chemicals and waste buildup.  By choosing a reputable recycler, we also prevented social and ecological injustices that occur when electronics get dumped onto developing countries.  There, the unsuspecting poor desperate for work break down the equipment risking their own health and ecological degradation.  Through our recycling efforts, we also eliminated the need to mine new metals and materials. Lastly, we raised ~$2,300 for the church as we experienced “church” while conducting the event.

 

We continued publishing the short blurbs titled “Green Committee Thought for the Week: Toward a Sustainable Future” in the Friday Flyer.  Each week small fun-facts are shared often followed by a thought-provoking question to ponder.   We’re reminded that we are not helpless to become the change we need in the world.

In time for the holidays, the committee coordinated an Equal Exchange Sale during November to promote fair trade products and just wages for growers.  Proceeds just under $1,000 were raised for the church.  Thank you to all you who participated!

 

We hosted at UCN marine biologist and expedition guide Alex Borowicz who spoke about the changing biology of the Antarctic Peninsula and how these changes are tied to our own lives in subtle ways.  His talk was most interesting and engaging and about a dozen attendees joined him for dinner following his presentation.  Alex is the son of UCN member Jeanne Gurda.

 

During the summer and fall months, more than a dozen UCN volunteers helped keep our surrounding Port Washington Rd and I-43 corridors clean through four clean-up events.  Always limited to two-hour clean-ups, volunteers return to UCN’s parking lot with more than visible road gear, trash bags, and grabbers.  If the electronics recycling event is “church in the parking lot,” then these road clean-ups are “church in the ditches.”  Good conversations, getting to know fellow members, a sense of tangible accomplishment, and no follow-up “homework” are some of the things “picked up” along the way.

 

Committee members donated and put together two green cleaning baskets for the UCN auction.  The committee also hosted the annual screening of nature’s Perseid Meteor Shower in UCN’s back parking lot.  The event, aimed at directly experiencing the beauty and mystery of the universe, brought 15 members out at 3:00 AM to share nature’s fireworks and breakfast following the show.

 

At the request of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, there was an encore all-day natural burial workshop similar to the one UCN’s Green Committee conducted two years ago. The trend to plant and care for our deceased love ones continues.

 

Lastly, UCN’s Building Committee Chair Brian Bunzel started the conversation about the feasibility of UCN installing photovoltaic panels to reduce its dependence on electricity powered by the burning of fossil fuels and its energy bills.  Now that’s exciting stuff to be talking about going forward!

 

History Committee

 

Committee Members

Jan Crosby

 

Purpose of the Committee

To collect news articles, photographs and other memorabilia of importance to the preservation of the church history. To maintain the church scrapbook in an up-to-date and orderly condition and display it for the congregation at least once a year.

 

Landscape Committee

Submitted by Paul Gasser, Chair

 

 Active Members
Elizabeth Warner, Rosa Gomez, Seth Dunke, Helen Michels, Mary Terranova, Judith O’Connell

 

Purpose of the Committee

To oversee and manage the external landscape (aprox. 8 acres) of the church. The objective is to maintain a functional and aesthetic natural landscape and to promote awareness and appreciation of the natural setting of the Church. The committee is responsible for the design, development and maintenance of all exterior church property, excluding the infrastructure of building operations, i.e. walkways, driveways, parking areas and exterior lighting. Activities include control of non-native species, management of planting and maintenance of landscape plants (both purchased and donated) according to the landscape plan, mowing of lawn grass and construction and maintenance of structures on the church property separate from the church building. The committee may solicit gifts and bequests to UCN for projects within the committee’s purview and will keep records of such gifts and their donors.

 

Continuing goals of the committee consistent with UCN Vision

  • To maintain the health of the natural environment surrounding the church, consistent with the UUA
    seventh principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” The landscape reflects this value both to our members and to the broader community.
  • To educate UCN members and the broader community about the landscape, and to encourage engagement with the landscape.
  • To facilitate the use of the landscape as an educational resource for the UCN RE program, fostering a respect for and connection with the land and the life which it supports.

 

Activities in 2015-16

  • Conducted periodic work days to clear and maintain the landscape around the building, with particular emphasis on the entry to the church grounds from Port Washington Road, and the entrances to the building. This included removing dead vegetation, planting and replacing shrubs around the building, pulling weeds, removing and burning dead tree limbs.
  • Assisted with playground planning process and work days.
  • Selected, purchased, and planted a shade tree for the UCN playground.
  • Worked with RE committee to select locations for bluebird house placement on the UCN grounds.
  • Worked with Communications and Green Committees to host a community screening of the film, “This Changes Everything” at UCN.

 

Goals for 2016

  • Work to maintain the landscape, with particular focus on the area surrounding the building.
  • Conduct a controlled burn of the Prairie Circle.
  • Maintain the Prairie Circle vegetation at a lower level to allow for continued visibility of the church building
  • Discuss the creation of a path through the Prairie Circle to encourage connection with the Prairie.
  • Develop a long-term plan for the Prairie Circle to allow visibility of the building, engagement with the prairie plants, and create educational materials.
  • Continue to work with the Playground Committee to plant native plants in and around the playground.
  • Conduct periodic work days with the broader congregation, to encourage engagement with the natural environment and upkeep of the landscape.
  • Work with the RE committee to provide educational opportunities for children in the landscape.
  • Identify, recruit, and educate new members of the committee. There’s a lot of work to be done, so the more the merrier.
  • Develop a long-term plan for maintenance of the native landscape on the 8-acre grounds.

 

 

Lay  Pastoral Care Team

Submitted by Karen Ringlien

 

Committee Members

Bob Bledsoe, Ruth Duenk, Joan Gonring, Pat Flanagan, Dean Johnson, Ken Kallaur, Stephanie Loehr, Carol Pawlak and Karen Ringlien.

 

Purpose of the Committee

  • To provide pastoral care to members of the congregation
  • To assist grieving families by offering support with ushering, set up and on site fellowship activities before, during and after a memorial service.
  • To coordinate and offer practical help like meals and rides in time of need.
  • To support and strengthen all ways that UCN seeks to be a caring religious community.

 

Goals

  • To provide lay pastoral care to the congregation in the absence of a minister.
  • To provide continued training and spiritual development for the lay pastoral care team.
  • To establish a network of volunteers who provide practical help to individuals in need.
  • To welcome additional church members for the committee.
  • To offer a worship service highlighting the work of the lay pastoral care team.
  • To maintain and supervise the Minister’s Discretionary Fund (MFD) in the absence of a minister.

 

Activities Carried out this Year toward Fulfilling the Goals of the Committee

  • Coordinated lay pastoral care team services in the absence of a minister.
  • Provided support to grieving families and friends.
  • Sent cards… often in response to Joys and Sorrows.
  • Continued the Connections column in the Friday Flyer.
  • Assisted family and friends of a member with preparation of a memorial service including set up, ushering, coordinating of fellowship activities and parking.
  • Made individual telephone calls and visits to congregants.
  • Coordinated practical assistance for several members usually as needed.
  • Reassured members, though phone calls, e-mails, and The Northliner and Friday Flyer, that despite the absence of a minister, lay pastoral care services were available.
  • Reached out to RE participants and graduates
  • Developed a list of UU ministers that could be supplied to members in need.

 

Membership Committee  

Submitted by Brian Monroe, Committee Co-Chair  

 

Membership Team & Volunteers

Rosa Gomez & Brian Monroe (Co-Chairs), Brenda Berg (Fellowship-Hearthside Suppers Coordinator), Peter & Kas Blain, Mark & Katie Bruhy. Ruth Duenk (Visitor’s Table), Gerry Schmitz, Karen Riglien, Jan Crosby (Ushers),

Jaclyn Orozco, Todd Witt, Dee Serron (Greeters), Joan Gonring, Pat Brown (Coffee Coordinators)

 

Membership Committee Purpose

This is a very important ministry to welcome visitors and seekers, to provide information on UU’s and UCN, and to help integrate new members into the life of our congregation.

 

Summary of Completed Items 2015-2016

Co-Chairs met with past Membership Coordinator, Juanita Mast, in June of 2015 to review and transfer materials. Co-Chairs wanted to simplify some processes in order to require a smaller number of volunteers and their time. We have not had any formal meetings and we have implemented “SignUp Genius” to coordinate filling roles of Sunday volunteers for “Visitor’s Table,” “Ushers” and “Greeters.”

 

We have eliminated the use of the old UCN laptop and of asking visitors, or Visitor Table volunteers, to load information. We now gather visitor information from either the sign-in sheet or off of “Donor Snap.” We follow up with visitors within 2-10 days. Visitors requesting a formal name tag have an identifier on the nametag to recognize them as a “guest” or “friend”.

 

We have condensed the Path to Membership class from 3 sessions to 2, moved them to follow either the coffee time or 1st Sunday lunch to avoid leaving UCN and then having to come back for a session. The PTM (will be rebranded to make it more inviting). It now has been outlined on 2 PowerPoints that can also be downloaded and shared with seekers on a one-to-one basis. This will remove the scheduling barrier of only offering two formal sessions per year.

 

We have reviewed and followed up with non-pledgers, and as of 31 Jan 2016, UCN Membership was calculated by the current number of active pledgers & spouses to be 140. It represents a net loss of 18 members based on the number of 158 that were listed as of 31 Jan 2015. Our average attendance so far this year is 71, down from 80.  We have completed two Path to Membership classes and should have some additional members joining us. Our goal is to have a net gain in membership including “pledging friends.”

 

The UCN Membership Directory, with corrections approved by the board, has been updated. There is now a section for “Pledging Friends of UCN.”

 

Attended “Welcoming Strangers” webinar and reviewed membership best practices.

 

Needs

We always need additional volunteers for “Visitor’s Table,” “Ushers” and “Greeters.”

 

We are still exploring ideas of an electronic UCN Photo Membership Directory that could be made available on the private side of UCN’s website. Photos could be supplied by members and uploaded instead of the quickly outdated printed and bound version (last done in 2009, and requiring months of planning, scheduling and coordination to complete).

 

We are waiting for Leadership direction and survey results in order to work with Communications (and other committees) to produce 2-3 taglines for UCN to encourage visitors and seekers to explore our church. The taglines would be presented at the Annual Meeting for a vote to find a winning tagline. The new tagline would eventually be added to our printed material, website and future signage. Example from First Church: “Nurture the Spirit. Engage the mind. Inspire action.”

 

Time and Work Involved: (per month)

Visitors Table (1-2) 8 hrs

Guest follow up 1.5 hrs

Greeters (1-2)  3 hrs

Ushers (1-2) 2 hrs

Fellowship 2 hrs

Coffee 4 hrs

New member packets/reordering 1 hr

Path to Membership 2 hrs (includes class prep and sessions)

Leadership meeting and reports 4 hrs

Informational material 2 hrs

 

Total 29.5+ hours/month

 

Nominating and Leadership Development Committee

Submitted by John Hoff, Chair

 

Current Nominating Committee members

John Hoff (outgoing), Karen Ringlien (outgoing), Ed Ahrenhoerster (outgoing).

 

The primary task of the committee is to identify potential nominees for the primary leadership roles for the coming church year.  Lacking a past president, John Hoff agreed to chair, with committee members Ed Ahrenhoerster and Karen Ringlien.  They solicited the following slate of nominees:

 

Slate of Nominees for 2016-2017

UCN’s Nominating and Leadership Development Committee is pleased to offer this slate of candidates that represent a mix of skill and dedication that will lead UCN toward an ever-brighter future.  They embody a broad range of experience, have proven to be committed members to our faith community, and will bring fresh insights and energy to our vision and mission.

President-elect:  Ed Ahrenhoerster

Treasurer:  Bob Prestby

Financial Secretary:  John Hoff

Trustees (3-year terms):  Peter Blain,  Amber Elsner-Miller,  Joy Schroeder

Nominating Committee members:  Jan Crosby, Jeanne Gurda, Ruth Duenk, Betsy Muellenbach

 

Outgoing trustees from 2015-2016 are Ruth Duenk, Rosa Gomez, and Jenny Elsner-Miller.  Trustees with 1 or 2 years remaining on their terms include Mark Ludwig (’17), Stephanie Loehr (’17), Karen Ringlien (’17), Brian Monroe (’18), Jackee Orozco-Domoe (’18), Katie Eagan-Bruhy (’18).

 

Biographies

President-Elect
Ed Ahrenhoerster
Ed joined UCN in spring of 2005, having previously been a member at First Church. Raised Catholic, Ed realized in early adulthood that it made no sense for one religion to be the only answer. When a friend introduced Ed to Unitarianism it was instantly clear that this was a religion that would allow him to explore and grow his spiritual side, and be a place where he would feel at home. At UCN, Ed has been a member of the Communications Committee, the webmaster, chair of the Finance Committee, and trustee. He currently serves as UCN’s Financial Secretary.

 

Ed lives in Thiensville and has four children. His older two – Eddie (20) and Robyn (19) – belong to Congregation Shalom with their mother when they are home from college. Del (11) and Tess (9) come to Sunday School at UCN.  Ed feels that UCN is an important part of his younger children’s lives, as it helps to emphasize beliefs such as acceptance and equality for all people, that there are many ways to find meaning in life, and the importance of social justice. Ed manages programmers and the operations for a web development company.

 

Treasurer
Bob Prestby
Bob and Laurie Prestby joined UCN four years ago. They were seeking a more meaningful path on their spiritual journey and have found it here.  They are thrilled to be associated with the wonderful people here at UCN.

With Bob having recently retired from 30 years of manufacturing management, he wants to volunteer where he can best assist UCN.  With a background in dealing with budgets, personnel, and balancing-the-books, the Treasurer position seemed like a good fit for these skills.

 

Financial Secretary

John Hoff
John is a former corporate executive turned outdoor educator 15 years ago and is currently semi-retired.  He has been a UCN member for 9 years and has served President, Nominating Committee Chair (current and past), has served as the Green Committee Chair for the past four years, and has been a Finance Committee member for eight years. John has also been a guest in UCN’s pulpit over the past couple of years.

 

Leadership Board Trustees (3-year terms)

Peter Blain
Pete and his wife Kas were raised in Milwaukee as Roman Catholics, both having attended Pius XI High School where they met.  They joined UCN in 2011 after a period of searching for a spiritual home.  Pete has served on the UCN Finance Committee since 2012.

Pete attended Wisconsin State University – Stevens Point and, after two years in the Army, Georgetown University Law Center.  During law school, Pete also worked for the Veterans Administration.  Since graduating from law school in 1978, he has practiced with a downtown Milwaukee law firm concentrating in business restructurings and corporate reorganizations.

Pete and Kas, who live in Mequon, have four children ranging in ages from 31 to 25.

 

Amber Elsner-Miller
Amber has been a member of UCN since 2005.  She has been active in the finance committee for many years and is on the auction committee this year.  In the past, she was on the green committee for about five years and coordinated UCN’s involvement in the Cathedral Center for two years.

 

She is married to her high school sweetheart, Jenny Elsner-Miller (she picked our last name!), and has one very senior dog.  In her work life, she is a Pension Analyst.  She and Jenny spend lots of time in the outdoors, and that is where she feels the most spiritual.  The community she has found at UCN is what keeps her coming here!

 

Joy Schroeder

Joy and her husband, Brian Bunzel, have been members since 1992.  Having met in a non-violence study project, they have been involved in groups advocating for education, environmental protection and social justice issues.  Raised by a widowed mother with ambivalence toward religion and reverence for Mother Nature, Joy was drawn to a UU church that welcomed members’ input.  This family has been supported by the UCN community in raising two daughters to their full potentials, through Joy’s cancer treatment and respectful connections with progressive folks.
At UCN, Joy worked on religious education teams, especially using her experience as a nurse-midwife in OWL, our comprehensive sexuality program for youth.  She was a member of a bonded Chalice Circle, and led it for a year.  She enjoyed the learning and therapy of singing in Choir and ensembles.  She co-facilitated the UU Adult Spiritual Enrichment curriculum Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.  Having appreciated many a social event with the former Parents of Toddlers and Infants and those spearheaded by others, Joy is initiating an ad-hoc committee to plan a barn dance for the fall.

 

Although she hesitates to take on another responsibility, she feel honored to be nominated.  She is proud of church members who have worked together this church year and look forward to rebuilding further by exploring the possibilities of hiring a part time and/or developmental minister.

 

 

Nominating and Leadership Development Committee 
Jeanne Gurda – 3-year term

Jeanne has been a member of UCN for 28 years, and her two adult children benefittted from their years in the church.  She’s served as a member of the Board of Trustees and later as secretary for the board, chaired the Ways and Means Committee and the Pastoral Care Team, taught in the OWL program and RE classes, and helped with the auction and rummage sales. While a member of the most recent Ministerial Search Committee, she learned a great deal about many aspects of UU churches as well as ministerial searches.  An avid musician, she’s been a member of the UCN Choir and has enjoyed providing live instrumental music for services. She is pleased to bring her rounded experience to assist the UCN Nominating Committee.

 

Jan Crosby – 2-year term

Jan became a UCN member in 1978 and served on various committees and participated in many events and activities through the years.  She served on the Leadership Board and was honored to serve as President when she and her husband moved into this space.  While maintaining their membership, she was absent for several years, while she and Henry “communed” with nature in central Wisconsin, but UCN continued to be an important focus.  Jan currently serves as Historian and chairs fun activities that generally involve food.  When Henry died, she said the Church community rallied around and supported her for which she’ll always be grateful.  She continues to seek ways to give back to this community that has given her so much.

 

Betsy Muellenbach – 1-year term

Betsy has been a member of UCN with her family since 2007.  UCN’s emphasis on religious freedom and social responsibility has made it a great place to bring her children to church.  The people of UCN have kept her inspired and involved in the work of our church.  She has enjoyed the talent and engagement that is present at UCN.  She has served on the Religious Education Committee and taught youth classes for 7 years. For 2 years she was the committee chair.  She also assisted with pledge drives by calling on fellow members.  On various occasions, she participated in music ensemble performances and played at cafés.  Most recently, she and her family helped with the Family Promise Program at UCN.  She hope to assist the nominating committee by encouraging the involvement of all of our members, so that we to continue to be a strong community.

 

Ruth Duenk  – 1-year appointment

Ruth joined UCN a few short weeks after visiting the church in 1999.  Over the years she has visited many churches in the community, but never felt that they answered her need to “question”.  She served for many years on the Sunday Services and Pastoral Care Committees, as well as the Auction Committee for several years in different capacities.  She notes that without a minister, the Lay Pastoral Committee has taken on a larger role.  She currently is finishing her three-year term as trustee on the Leadership Board.  She notes this experience has been interesting and challenging through some difficult times at UCN but says the Leadership Board is dedicated to making UCN thrive and grow.  She likes to be an Usher, Greeter or work at the Visitor’s Table when needed.  You’ll find her at the Scrip Table too!  Ruth always has more fun when she has a job to do.

 

Note:  For 2016-2017, Janet Jensen will chair the Nominating & Leadership Development Committee as Past-President.

 

Youth Religious Education (RE) Committee

Submitted by Betsy Muellenbach, co-chair

 

Director of Religious Education: Deborah Fugenschuh

Nursery staff: Constance Fiske

Committee members: Co-Chairs, Pat Flanagan and Betsy Muellenbach

 

Youth served in program: 33

Teachers for weekly Sunday classes K- 6th: 6 regular teachers, 1 youth assistant, 7 additional as needed teachers, DRE taught weekly 1-2nd grade class

Other volunteer help: 3 OWL instructors, 2 volunteers wrote and directed Christmas pageant; 3 additional adult volunteers for assisting in pageant performance.

 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Unitarian Church North (UCN) RE Committee is to collaborate with the DRE to present a high-quality religious education program in a welcoming spiritual community that nurtures each individual’s search for truth and meaning.

 

Vision Statement

The vision of the UCN RE Committee is to engage the minds, the hearts, and the whole selves of our young people.  This program will support our young people in their life-long spiritual journey.

This year we held 5 classes:

Preschool and kindergarten,

1-2nd grade

3-4th grade

56th grade

OWL class that finished its second year with youth ranging from 7th – 10th grades.

 

The curriculum for grade school classes was the Tapestry of Faith provided by the UUA to help youth develop their spirituality and gain knowledge of the Unitarian Universalist religious tradition.    We also had a nursery available for babies and toddlers each Sunday.

 

We held listen sessions in February for all interested UCN members to get feedback on current programming, classes, and thoughts for future planning.  Deborah Fugenschuh, our current DRE, announced that she will be resigning at the end of the year to pursue a full time position with Recall Foundation.  We have been grateful for her work in the program through our year of transition, and hope that she will continue to active in the program as a member of UCN.  The committee will help form a search committee for a new DRE with the board.

 

Special events and holiday celebrations were provided by the DRE with the support of the RE committee and other parent helpers in the congregation.  The events included Halloween crafts and costume parade, Christmas ornament decorating, Holiday gift “sale”, pageant, cookie decorating, Easter egg hunt and activities, winter activities and hot chocolate, children’s moment in Sunday services.  We will also conclude the year with recognition of our staff, volunteers, and teachers who have given so generously to make this program happen.

 

Our Goals for the End of the Year

  • Assist with forming a search committee to hire a new DRE.
  • Start the registration and teacher recruitment process for next school year.
  • Give recommendations to next year’s committee members on tasks for the program, class organization, and event planning.
  • Start planning process for the Coming of Age class for 2016-2017 including review of curriculum, assess interest of youth in the class, develop a tentative calendar, recruit teachers and other volunteers.
  • The goals for the 2016-2017 school year will be set by next year’s committee.

 

Social Justice Committee

Submitted by Stephanie Richardson, Co-Chair

 

Committee Members

Carol Pawlak, Dean Johnson, Jenny Elsner-Miller, Vicki Fuerstenau, Jenny Goetz, Mark Bruhy, Leigh
Hoftiezer, Lucy Friedrichs, Pat Kotecki, Linda Steffens, Cindy Kotecki, Marian Steward, Arthur Campbell, Jon Olsen (co-chair), Stephanie Richardson (co-chair), Peggy Creer (Communications consulting member)

 

Project Coordinators

Family Promise – Cindy and Pat Kotecki

Food Barrel – Vicki Fuerstenau

MICAH – Jon Olsen

NAACP – Stephanie Richardson

Share the Plate – Mark Bruhy

UCN Fund for Social Justice – Lucy Friedrichs

Welcoming Congregation – currently unfilled (with Leigh Hofteizer as interim)

Portrait Gallery—Stephanie Richardson

Saukville Community Meals—Pat Kotecki

UUA Action of Immediate Witness (Black Lives Matter collaboration)—Lucy Friedrichs

 

Purpose

To help integrate social justice programming and activity into the life of the congregation through the
inspiration of UCN’s vision, mission and long-range plan.

 

Goals for next year (2016-17)

Discussions for:

  • Ideas to increase congregational involvement in social justice issues
  • Possible streamlining of activities the committee focuses on in order to decrease potential burn-out and increase participation (for committee members as well as congregants)
  • Continuing/improving UCN Family Promise involvement
  • Committee work regarding integrating Black Lives Matter and related programming into the congregation per 2015 UUA Action of Immediate Witness
  • Bringing Portrait Gallery into fruition (and future maintenance)
  • Increasing Food Barrel contributions
  • Increasing visibility for need for Share the Plate nominees from congregants
  • Increasing visibility for need for Fund for Social Justice nominees from congregants
  • Status of Saukville community meals

 

Project-area Activities 2015-16

Special Social Justice Sunday service was held on October 25, 2016 to highlight/provide/inspire congregation with information presented regarding purpose/activities of the committee.

 

Family Promise of Ozaukee County –  Cindy and Pat Kotecki: UCN has started hosting familes, as of Winter, 2015. Work continues, with the goal of getting more volunteer assistance for UCN’s hosting weeks.

 

Food Barrel – Vicki Fuerstenau continues to load and transports non-perishable food items to the Bethesda Outreach Program in Milwaukee.  We would like to see an increase in the donated items. Suggestions include making announcements during Sunday services, Friday Flyer/Northliner articles, committee members donating on meeting days.

 

***Guest House – Has been discontinued, because of the lack of replacement for the previous coordinator, who has retired from the position after more than 25 years of service. The committee is discussing the idea that perhaps the Sauk County meal program will serve as a replacement.

 

MICAH (Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope) – Rev. Marilyn Miller, pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Milwaukee, was a pulpit guest in 2015, and as usual, was well-received. UCN was represented at some MICAH meetings, including Board meetings, as well as at the Micah Prayer Breakfast and Black History Month celebration.

 

Ozaukee Co. Branch of the NAACP – Stephanie Richardson is the current NAACP liaison for UCN. Unitarian Church North attained its Silver Life Membership in the NAACP in the summer of 2014. A plaque signifying this is located in the north lobby. Monthly meetings of the Ozaukee Branch are held at UCN on the 1st Wednesday of every month in the Emerson room. Social Justice Committee members have joined the branch and attend meetings on a regular basis.  A program highlighted challenges to the Chapter 220 program was held at UCN on June 4, 2015. The program was a collaboration between UCN and the Ozaukee County Branch. The Ozaukee Branch hosted a Freedom Fund Event in November of 2015.

 

Share the Plate –Mark Bruhy is the new STP coordinator.  Mark has begun including articles and information in UCN’s Friday Flyer and Northliner on a regular basis, in order to give more visibility to the fact that the activity exists and to promote more submissions.

Unitarian Church North Fund for Social Justice – Lucy Friedrichs. This project, whose purpose is to build an on-going fund through the Greater Milwaukee foundation, has been in existence since 2000. Interest income is given annually to groups in the Greater Milwaukee Area who provide assistance in areas such as hunger, homelessness, lack of childcare, lack of affordable housing, etc.

 

Welcoming Congregation – Leigh Hofteizer—Intermittent. This focus area currently is not active, in a formal sense. Volunteers are needed in order to promote on-going welcoming efforts to LGBTQ people and their families.

 

Black Lives Matter Collaboration: Lucy Friedrichs.  The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations’ General Assembly approved a 2015 Action of Immediate Witness entitled “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement.” A Southeast WI group of UU congregations has formed a collaboration called Black Lives Matter to Wisconsin UUs. Lucy presented a proposal to the Leadership Board in March, 2016, regarding the adoption and support of a resolution for the UCN congregation to participate in the collaboration. The Board adopted the resolution in April, 2016, and the resolution will be presented to the congregation during a May, 2016 congregational meeting. On April 10, 2016 UCN was represented at the Unitarian Universalist Church Wests’ “Blessing the Banner” service and public witness for Black Lives Matter. UCN is also represented at working meetings for the development of the Black Lives Matter collaboration and related activities.

 

Front Lobby Portrait Gallery:   Stephanie Richardson. The Portrait Gallery is an idea that a sub-committee has been working on. The idea includes displaying photos of racially and culturally diverse UUs and other notable people who share UU values in the UCN North Lobby where people are greeted for Sunday services and other gatherings.

 

Saukville Community Meal – Pat Kotecki. UCN serves a meal 2 times per year at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Saukville.  Meals are served on the 4th Saturday of each month at no cost to Ozaukee county residents.  Each month a different church or civic organization sponsors the meal.

 

Family Promise of Ozaukee

Family Promise provides shelter and services to Ozaukee County homeless children and families, with the goal of reversing the causes of homelessness and optimizing self-sufficiency.  Services and daytime shelter are provided at a centralized Day Center (located in Port Washington), and an interfaith network of area churches provides meals and overnight accommodations.  UCN, serving as a “Host Church” houses families approximately 4-5 weeks per year.  Currently Cindy and Pat Kotecki and Dean Johnson are the volunteer coordinators for UCN.

 

Food Barrel

No cost  to the congregation and it is an easy way to care for those in poverty.  UCN has carried on this community activity for nearly thirty years, delivering food once or twice a month to Bethesda Outreach located on Highland Boulevard  in Milwaukee.  A small contribution of food from our congregation feeds so many in need. I would like to stimulate more interest in the people of our congregation dropping off at least one can or box of food as they go to church on Sunday’s.  Another thought is when various church committees meet, each person could contribute a non perishable item to the food  barrel which is currently located in the north lobby.

 

MICAH

UCN was represented at MICAH’s Religious Leaders Caucus Retreat.  The subject was Race & Power In America. Charlene Sinclair, from Virginia, was the main speaker on Monday. The retreat was very well attended.

 

NAACP

UCN is a Life Member of the NAACP.  General meetings of the Ozaukee County Branch are held at UCN on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Emerson room. Members from UCN are welcome to attend these meetings. Stephanie Richardson is UCN’s liaison to the Ozaukee branch.  UCNSJC/NAACP June 4th, 2015: “220—An Integration Opportunity being denied”. UCN’s Social Justice committee helped plan the forum about the proposed elimination of Chapter 220 program in Milwaukee. About 30 people attended. An expert panel talked about the ramifications about it being abolished. Featured panelists included Dr. Demond Means (MTSD Superintendent), Attorney James Hall (involved in the desegregation lawsuit), and Dr. Karl Hertz (Ozaukee County school system). The panelists will spoke about current issues within the Chapter 220 program, how imminent changes within the program can be adversely impactful—and how we may focus on what is best for our children.

 

Share the Plate Program, Fiscal Year 2015-16 (Submitted by Mark Bruhy)

In the spirt of our generosity as a congregation, and in accord with the seven principles of our faith tradition, UCN initiated the Share the Plate program in September of 2008. Since that time our congregants have donated over $40,000 to a variety of worthy organizations. During the past seven years, our congregants and friends have nominated approximately 70 worthy organizations that serve the betterment of people in our community, our country and the world. During fiscal year 2015-16, recipients of Share the Plate offerings include the following organizations: Kathy’s House, Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center, All People’s Church, UNICEF Help Save Syrian Children Fund, Guitars for Vets, Sojourner Family Peace Center, Friends of Ngong Road, FAIR Wisconsin, International Rescue Committee, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Wisconsin, and  COA Youth and Family Center. Though at the time of this report two months remain in our fiscal year, Share the Plate offerings have already provided over $4,200 to these most worthy organizations.

 

UCN acts directly to live our principle of “justice, equity, and compassion in human relationships.”  Through the Share the Plate program UCN supports, with monthly donations from offerings, humanitarian and social justice programs in the greater Milwaukee community, other Wisconsin communities, nationally and internationally. Each month, fifty per cent of the cash and fifty per cent of checks written to UCN with the caption “Sharing the Plate” are donated to a non-profit program that is advocating for humanitarian and social justice issues. Candidates are nominated by a member or friend of the congregation who then provide their nominations to Share the Plate coordinator Mark Bruhy. The nominations are then reviewed and approved by our Social Justice Committee. Our new UCN website will include a link to the Share the Plate nomination form.

 

Unitarian Church North Fund for Social Justice  (Submitted by Lucy Friedrichs)

This Fund, whose purpose is to build an on-going fund through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, has been in existence since 2000. It was formed in response to the state legislature giving tax rebates, in the Fall of 1999, to WI taxpayers since there was a “surplus.” UCN felt that this tax-rebate money would have been better spent had the State of WI kept it and used it to bolster state agencies serving those in need. UCN members and friends donated a total of over $10,000 in rebate checks and has used the annual interest income to help support groups in the Greater Milwaukee Area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha and Washington Counties) which provide assistance in areas such as hunger, homelessness, lack of childcare, lack of affordable housing, etc. Church members may submit nominations to the Social Justice Committee, who decide on a suggested recipient. That recipient is presented to the congregation at the annual meeting in May for a vote of approval. The 2015 recipient, approved unanimously at the May 2015 annual meeting, was the Albrecht Free Clinic of West Bend. The donation amount was $1,421.11, based on the interest income from two years, 2013 and 2014, as we received no nominations in 2014. We are proud to offer these funds, annually, to community groups who assist people in their times of great need.

 

Welcoming Congregation

UCN continues to support the spirit of being a Welcoming Congregation by promoting inclusivity, welcoming all who enter our doors regardless of gender, sexual identity or orientation, offering sexuality education for the entire lifespan (in Our Whole Lives curricula), and engaging in justice ministry in our communities. In March 2016 Fair Wisconsin was the recipient of UCN’s Share the Plate collection to support their advocacy and outreach in the cause of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.

 

Worship Committee

Submitted by Chuck Winter, Chair

 

Active Members

Chuck Winter, Chair (and Worship Assistant); Ginny Chiaverina and Callie Thurow, Music Coordinators; Mark Ludwig, Sound Technician Leader; Mike Martin, Pulpit Scheduling Leader (and Worship Assistant); Worship Assistants: George Barton, Rick Kastenmeier, Theresa Witt, Anna Rychner, Joy Schroeder. Lucy Friedrichs, Katie Egan-Bruhy, scheduling and all-around important members.

 

Purpose

This committee works to schedule and coordinate all of the elements of Sunday worship services. This includes scheduling pulpit guests, coordinating music selection and scheduling accompanists, facilitating all aspects of Sunday services and Christmas eve service, coordinating with other committees for publicity and integration with the overall mission of the church. The purpose of the committee is always to provide and support meaningful worship services at UCN.

 

Programs/Projects Implemented this Year

A total of 53 services were (or are scheduled to be) conducted July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2016, with the inclusion of Christmas eve. A total of 22 guests (non-UCN members) were invited to the pulpit. They included:

 

UU Reverends (26 services)

Drew Kennedy (six sermons, Christmas Eve)

Bobbie Groth (six sermons)

Lori Hlaban (six sermons)

Linda Hansen

Denise Tracy

Bob Bledsoe (two sermons)

Dennis McCarty

John Corrado

David Hunter and Kerry Mueller (joint service)

 

Ordained from other religions (2 services)

Bob Wells (former Roman Catholic priest) (two sermons)

 

Seminarian (2 services)

Jordinn Nelson Long (two sermons)

 

UCN members (2 services)

John Hoff (two sermons)

 

UCN collaboration teams (8 services)

Janet Crosby + Lucy Friedrichs

George Barton + Jennifer Barton (Day of the Dead)

UCN Social Justice Committee

UCN RE Committee (Christmas pageant, Coming of Age, and September services)

UCN Finance Committee

UCN Leadership Team

UCN All Souls Cafe

 

Other invited pulpit guests (10 services)

Mary Devitt

Marcus White

Patty Fitchett

Philip Martin

Julie Rust

Venice Williams

Ben Merens

Selena Fox

Sheryl Smith (tentatively scheduled)

Elizabeth Lewis (tentatively scheduled)

 

As of submittal of this report, two upcoming sundays of the 2015/16 church year were still unscheduled.

 

Every pulpit guest was scheduled for their known speaking abilities and to create a diverse topic range. The topics were intended to provide the following areas: Theological content (e.g., What Do You Believe series), liturgical relevance (e.g., Easter-based UU service on Easter, Christmas Eve), Committee involvement (e.g., Social Justice Sunday, RE Christmas Pageant), social justice ( e.g., Mary Devitt – Black Lives Matter movement), and spiritual enrichment (e.g., “A Sermon on the Importance of Love”, “Being a Friend”).  Our goal was/is to feature a diverse pulpit experience and to continue to develop parameters so each experience is meaningful and well-executed.

 

This year was particularly challenging as UCN was moving forward without a minister (permanent, interim or any other flavor). This presented logistical challenges in how the committee functions and how issues get handled.

 

Aside from the week-to-week scheduling of music and pulpit guests, the following challenges were addressed:

  • Music coordinator oversaw the hiring of a second accompanist (Eric Whetmore).
  • We trained two new worship assistants.
  • We created a Dropbox account that was accessible by everyone on the Worship Committee as well as other UCN people who have a role in services. The Dropbox includes a master schedule which can be modified by anyone on the committee at any time and also includes many resources for worship assistants and other templates/resources relevant to worship at UCN.
  • We decorated the sanctuary for Christmas.
  • We trained worship assistants on the fundamentals of the use of the sound system.
  • We created a scheduling subcommittee to facilitate scheduling pulpit speakers. The limitation of this task to 4 to 5 people made it easier to schedule without double-booking dates.
  • We continually updated a list of previous and potential speakers for use by the scheduling subcommittee.
  • We created guidance regarding criteria used to schedule speakers. The criteria mainly addressed target goals regarding frequency of UU ministers in the pulpit and general guidance regarding the types of services desired during the church year and during the summer. The guidance was intended to be a “living” document and hence changed as deemed necessary.
  • We created a standard letter template for use by the scheduling subcommittee with which to forward to scheduled speakers.
  • We improved communication with Lyn Gust (UCN office assistant) regarding OOS creation and scheduling
  • We improved communication with the communications committee in promotion of upcoming services via social media, advertising, and other methods.
  • We improved communication with the finance committee regarding processing of honorariums for pulpit guests.
  • We improved communication with the Religious Education director and RE Committee, and as a result, improved the contribution of children to the services.

 

Goals for 2016-17

  • Invite congregational input on topics and speakers.
  • Continue to schedule effective pulpit guests that provide the diversity of thought and topic that is desired by the congregation.
  • Continue to work with UCN Membership Committee on planning services which can attract new people to UCN.
  • Work with UCN Communication Committee with promoting services via website and other methods.
  • Work with UCN Building Committee with sound system issues.
  • Work on creating a Child Dedication / Child Blessing service(s) that can be executed by lay-UCN members.
  • Continue to integrate new hymns into the worship services.