Leadership Board Minutes (approved)

2 April 2020

Unitarian Church North Leadership Board Minutes


Present: Rev. Tony Larsen; Brian Monroe, Dean Johnson; Dan Lusk; Pat Mumm Lovely; Amber Elsner-Miller; Julie Zumach; Ed Ahrenhoerster; Leigh Hoftiezer; Jackee Orozco (for part); Kristen Gasser; Darlene Lochbihler; Janet Jensen; Rosa Gomez; Andrew Smith; Peter Blain


Call to Order via Zoom/ Opening Words/ Chalice Lighting/ Check In: 6:30


Open Forum: Brian was asked if the instructions to join the Zoom Leadership Board meeting were available to Members, and he replied that they were included in the Northliner.


Approval of February Minutes:  Upon motion duly made and seconded, the February minutes were approved.


Minister’s Report: Tony’s report was received.  Tony mentioned that he had contacted 85 members by phone and spoken with 47.  He left messages for 38.  He suggested that this might be a practice that should be continued when things get back to normal because it is a good way to build community.  He also commended Jackee on the wonderful job she has been doing with organizing the virtual services


Religious Education: Jackee’s report was received.  Jackee wanted to make sure that everyone got the word out that RE was still ongoing.  She said that her virtual nine part series “Soul Practices,” discussing creativity was starting on Wednesday nights and was open to Members and Non-Members.


Membership: Rosa presented the Committee report which was received.  Dan said that the Committee was trying to follow-up with Members who had an outstanding pledge for this fiscal year.  Brian expressed the concern that given the current crisis, UCN may lose Members, even when things return to normal.  He suggested that given what we have learned about virtual services, it might be a good idea to explore streaming services in normal times to keep connections with as many members as possible.


Social Justice: The Committee report was received. Leigh recommended that someone be designated to take minutes at future Barn Banters for subsequent reference.


Worship: The Committee report was received.  Kristin said that Jackee has stepped in to assist Worship with virtual services.  A number of services have been pre-recorded.  She is looking for volunteers to pre-record announcements which would have been made by a Worship Assistant during a normal service.  She also sought volunteers to read and record a sermon, which would serve as a “sermon in a box” in case a speaker was unable to attend at a scheduled time.  Kristin suggested that to facilitate donations, it would be desirable to have a donation button on the UCN web page.  Andrew said it might be possible to use Pay Pal, but noted that the fees charged might make small donations impractical unless they were bundled on a monthly basis.  Kristen asked whether there might be a less costly option offered to non-profits, perhaps through a bank, and suggested the UUA may have some suggestions.  Janet said that Britney and Callie have done a spectacular job with music for the virtual services.  She also said noted Lyn Gust had requested that her home email be used to communicate with her.


Building Committee:  Dan presented the Committee report which was received.  All major projects have been put on hold, with the exception of completing the Sanctuary lighting since the investment in materials has already been made.  The Board asked the Committee to complete the lighting project so long as it can be done safely.  Brian mentioned that although the parking lot paving was deferred, there were certain pot holes that needed to be filled for safety reasons.  Dan said that the pond permit had been issued by the City of Mequon and was good for five years.


Security:  Dan said that the Sub-Committee has not met and that there was nothing to report.



  • Pledge Campaign. Julie said that there were 10 outstanding pledges from this fiscal year. Pledges for next fiscal year were $5,000 lower than this year.  This will impacted the budget.


  • Treasurer’s Report. Amber presented the Treasurer’s Report, which was received.  UCN remains in a solid financial position.


  • 2020-2021 Budget. Julie and Ed presented proposed Budget.  After extensive discussion, the Budget was approved, including using $16,000 of funds in the bank to cover the fiscal year’s revenue shortfall.  All acknowledged that the current national emergency justified this action, but also agreed that this was a unique decision and that funds in the bank should not be used to cover future shortfalls.  Andrew suggested that the recently enacted CARES Act may provide financial assistance to non-profits and Ed and Julie are going to explore this.

New Business:

  • Julie reported that the auction was going to be conducted online and will feature at least 56 items, including Fund a Cause for the landscaping project.  The auction would commence on April 19 and end on May 3. Instructions on how to bid would be included in the Northliner. Julie said that there was 5% fee to use BiddingOwl, and that there would be a fee to use Pay Pal, although this could be avoided if winners paid by check.  The logistics of delivering items to the winners are being worked out.  Julie mentioned that there would be no auction next year, and that $2,000 had been included in the budget for a yet to be determined fund raiser and solicited suggestions.


  • COVID 19 Impact. Brian noted that because we cannot meet in person it is important to continue connecting with our Members.  Lyn is doing a great job keeping the business side of UCN open. Amber asked that Lyn and Constance notify her if their hours go down. Brian noted that the objective is to keep paying employees for the duration of the crisis.


  • Annual Meeting. Brian noted that the Bylaws require an in-person meeting which can be held in May or June. The Bylaws do not permit virtual meetings.  He suggested that a virtual “information meeting” be scheduled in May, at which the Budget would be presented, the annual Social Justice Award Winner announced and the slate of officers for 2020-2021 be presented to the Members.  A “sense of the Members” vote would be taken on action items.  When it is possible to have an in person meeting, the actions approved at the information meeting would be ratified by a quorum of the Members.  Ed noted that the Bylaws provide for the three directors not standing for election to appoint officers, but this was a very cumbersome process and does not address approval and implementation of the Budget in the next fiscal year.  After discussion, the Board approved proceeding with the information meeting and utilizing the Bylaw provisions Ed discussed only if there was an objection to proceeding with the information meeting/ratification process.  Ed suggested that the Bylaws be amended to include the ability to have a virtual Annual Meeting in times of national emergency.

The next Board Meeting will be held May 7, 2020.


Meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.


Respectfully submitted,

Peter Blain