Board of Trustees of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church Meeting Minutes  June 13th, 2017


Board members present:

Doug MacCleery — Board Chair

Carolyn Dunlea — Board Vice Chair

Amy Venzke — Secretary

Tony Barkume — Board Rep to Personnel Advisory

Bill Gleason — Board Liaison to Stewardship

John Henrehan — Board Liaison to Finance

Helen Kittrosser — Youth Member

Pam Koger-Jessup — Past Board Chair

Marty Bredeck — In-Coming Board Member

Carl Lohmann- In-Coming Board Member Helen Kafka — In-Coming Board Member

Board Members absent:

Jeanne Tifft — Program Council Co-Convener

Others Present:

Kate Walker — Minister

Carol Graves — Out-Going Church Administrator Carolyn White — In-Coming Church Administrator

Al Robbert— Finance Committee Joan Darrah


Meeting convened at 7:33pm.

Kate shared the reading “Food for the Spirit” by Mary Wellemeyer.

Introductions were made for in-coming Church Administrator Carolyn White, attending her first Board meeting.


Consensus Items (May meeting minutes, Minutes of the Annual Meeting, program council report, minister’s report, administrator’s report, DLSG report, financial report and membership change report) were passed. The minutes from the special Board meeting on May 16th were also added. John moved to approve, seconded, items approved unanimously.


It was noted that any budget surplus will go to the property major maintenance fund.


Fence issue with the neighbor:

On June 12th an agreement was signed between MVUC and adjacent property owners Michael and Michelle Rioux to have an incorrectly located fence removed and a new fence installed on the property line. The said fence is located to the left side of the Carriage house when you stand facing the carriage house. This has been a long-standing issue, beginning in the 1980’s. The new fence will be a 6ft. wooden fence.

Kornfeld Estate Transfer:

A quick background was given for the new people at the meeting. About 2 ½ years ago Gertrude Kornfeld died and left the church 3 properties and approximately $150,000 in liquid assets. The 3 properties all have renters and all need some amount of work to bring them to a condition to sell. All tenants have been given notice they need to move. Rent from the past 2 years has been held by the property management company and once the church has received the titles to the properties, this money will be given to the church. One renter had fallen behind in his rent payments but has been catching up missed payments and the total amount due from this renter will be collected by the estate.


A proposal was offered that the Board authorize up to $30,000 from the Endowment fund to use for needed improvements to the properties.  John motioned to approve the proposal, it was seconded and passed unanimously.

John wanted to know how much money the church has lost over the past 2 years to legal fees, as the settling of this estate is taking far longer than expected.  He strongly believes that it is Mount Vernon Unitarian Church’s fiduciary responsibility to know and be able to account for all monies paid to the lawyers.

Kate reminded the Board that the estate was international in nature and the conditions involved in this estate are complicated.  We are not Gertrude’s only beneficiaries.

Minister Letter of Agreement (update):

There has been one change since the last Board meeting. The proposal is to add FICA to Kate’s retirement package in her letter of agreement since the rules for FICA have recently changed. There was a discussion of what this means and Pam moved to accept the change as presented. This was seconded and passed unanimously.

Action items from the Fiscal Review Task Force:

As background: A task force was created this year to follow up on the proposed action items from the Pillars & Foundations report. There were 26 recommendations in 3 areas: budget and finance; staffing and infrastructure; and congressional engagement. See Appendix A for details from Tony Barkume.

Ann Richard Sabbatical:

Ann Richards is asking for a 5-month sabbatical with an additional one month of unpaid leave. There was a brief discussion regarding what Ann plans to do with her time away and how this will affect the budget. It is also being proposed that Jim Kerr’s hours be slightly increased by 5 hours per pay period for 1 year.

John moved that Ann’s sabbatical and unpaid month be accepted as stated. This was seconded and passed unanimously. John also moved that the Board accept the one year increase to Jim Kerr’s hours. This was also seconded and passed unanimously.

Committee on Ministry BOT appointments:

Pam moved that these appointments be accepted as stated, seconded, and passed unanimously.  See Appendix C.

Committee on Ministry Congressional Survey results:

The congregation was asked how is the church coping with stress from the political situation? There were 2 main things the congregation wants to explore.


  1. Many people want to do more interfaith work, whether through VOICE or teaming up more often with the Islamic Center of North America.
    1. On June 9th starting at noon there will be a picnic in Fort Hunt park hosted by the Islamic Center of NA. They have invited MVUC to attend.
    2. October 15th there is a VOICE action which will be attended by the Gubernatorial candidate, Northam. This is a good opportunity for MVUC to be able to speak with state officials.
  2. Receive more expended training on how to talk to people from different cultures and religions than us.

Results from Board Retreat:

See Appendix B for details from Carolyn Dunlea.

Proposed 2017-2018 fundraisers:

Angel Collins and Keith Brophy have volunteered to plan and execute a service auction in the fall of 2017 and a musical production in the fall of 2018. After a brief discussion, Pam has been asked to let them know that the Board gives their blessing to move forward with both.

Volunteer Development Task Force:

The Board endorses formation of a task force to explore how to recruit new members to volunteer, what kind of training to provide to new and current volunteers to make sure they feel adequate to step up, and to set up a database of member skills.

Preserving MVUC records (hard copies):

This issue has been deferred until the next Board meeting.

MVUC Awards Process:

Kate will take this to the Program Council.

Off-site Attendance at GA:

Member Barbara Bacon is requesting to be an off-site attending member of General

Assembly this year. She will be allowed full rights as anyone in physical attendance but will participate online instead. John moved that the Board approve her request and the church cover the estimated $130-140 cost. Seconded and passed unanimously.



Doug thanked the out-gong Board members, Tony Barkume, Pam Koger-Jessup, Amy Venzke, and Youth member Helen Kittrosser for their work and presented them with books of meditations. Carol was also thanked for her time as Church administrator and wished well as she heads off into retirement.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Venzke, Board of Trustees Member


What parts of the Pillars and Foundations 2013 “Plan of Action” for MVUC need more work? (A review by Tony Barkume, 2014-2017 Board member, June 7, 2017)

In 2016, the current MV UC Board of Trustees chartered a Fiscal Review Task Force, consisting of the chairs of the Finance, Endowment, and Membership Committees and a Board Representative. This Task Force had two objectives: (1) to develop recommendations for future church operating budgets that are sustainable without experiencing the deficits that MVUC has incurred in recent years, and (2) review how MVUC has acted to carry out a “Plan of Action” developed by the 2013 Pillars and Foundations Task Force, which was chartered to come up with a set of recommendations that would address the financial difficulties that MVUC had been experiencing at the time. In this note, I provide a summary of the conclusions the Fiscal Review Task Force reached on how well MVUC has carried out the “Plan of Action”, emphasizing those Plan of Action recommendations that the Fiscal Review Task Force believed have not been implemented.

The 2013 Plan of Action by the Pillars and Foundations Task Force was a set of 26 recommendations for changes in three areas; budget and finance practices, staffing and infrastructure, and congregational engagement. These recommendations, and some follow up assessments of MVUC progress in implementing them, are provided in the Word document “P and F recommendations—Fiscal Task Force Review” that can be accessed using the following link: =567D4950COF7D6FC

Below are the yet to be completed recommendations of the 2013 Pillars and Foundation Plan of Action. It should be noted that the fact that the recommendations made in 2013 have not been done does not imply that they should be implemented now. The 2013 Plan of Action was developed following a period of severe financial distress; some of the recommendations MVUC may decide are less relevant now and in future years.

Budget and Finance Practices:

“Non-pledge revenue in excess of forecast amount should be used to establish a reserve fund and/or rebuild the PMM fund and not used to offset pledge shortfalls. ” In the 2016/2017 budget, actual rental income was considerably greater than the amounts originally forecast, and the Finance Committee has recommended that the resulting budget surplus be used to augment the PMM fund.

‘Establish a Fund-Raising Committee to coordinate all fund-raising activities and events. This committee would have the responsibility to review and approve all new fund-raising activities and would facilitate planning and coordination with ongoing fund raisers should changes be desired for those activities in the future. Ongoing fund raisers that would be engaged by this committee include Holiday Shop, Book Sale, Social Justice Fund Raisers, and Youth Activities Fund Raisers, etc.).

Staffing and Infrastructure:

“Move towards having a Volunteer Coordinator to serve as volunteer recruiter/coordinator to help populate committees and monitor leadership succession planning, ” The Fiscal Review Task Force concluded that, based on the failure to fill this role as a volunteer position, funding it as a paid staff member would have to be done.

So as to increase communication between committees and the BOT, establish the Resources Council comprised of these committees that do not fall under Program Council. Such a Resources Council was established but was disbanded due to absence of a clear objective for its operation. After the Fiscal Review Task Force finished its review, the BOT did approve a new charter for the Resources, in May 2017. The new charter provides a much more specific focus for the Resource Council—to coordinate collection of the necessary input to prepare the church annual budget.

“Develop position and skills description for a data team. Recruit. ” The Fiscal Review Task Force concluded more recruiting is currently needed.

Congregational Engagement:

“Establish a clear set of suggested minimum pledging that all members can aspire to. ” Providing suggested absolute dollar amounts (such as a minimum of $1 a day) are no longer in use, but congregants are given “Fair Share” goals (pledges as a percent of income).

“Stewardship efforts should primarily focus over the next three years on increasing pledge amounts from those in the 4th quartile, reducing to as near to zero as possible the number of households that do not pledge at all, and encouraging all members to strive for Fair Share commitments. 4th quartile pledges” refer to pledges that are in the bottom 25% of the variation of pledge amounts, including zero pledges from members.

“Recognize the tireless volunteers who provide irreplaceable, behind-the-scenes support. Ensure we as an institution are taking every opportunity to highlight for the congregation and to publicly thank our volunteers. Beyond the annual volunteer recognition event at the annual congregational meeting, consider other venues and tools to facilitate recognition and appreciation. ” The plan to have monthly articles in the Windmill to “spotlight” particular volunteers has not been followed, but other efforts have been started.

“Develop a set of “deliverables ” to be carried out throughout the church year, includes sermons, testimonials, and articles. Include sermon themes, newsletter and web site articles, testimonials (video and live), information in the Commons and Sanctuary, the Dashboard, sharing stories of what others are doing, Stewardship Notes/Factoids in the Friday e-news, periodic inserts in the Order of Service, etc. Help people see incremental costs. ” However, a Dashboard has been under development.

“Provide well-prepared, well-delivered testimonials throughout the year’.

‘Recognize our pledgers, Fair Share pledgers, capital campaign pledgers and the Endowment ‘s Legacy Circle. Develop better name tags for the congregation. ” However, Legacy Circle members have been provided recognition.







Board Retreat June 2-3, 2017

Friday: See attachments (BOT Position Descriptions, Governance Calendar, Interview Results from Sue and Howard, Governance Structure)

(Personal highlights: Beer 5 cheese Mac & Cheese, Wolf Run, fire pit, laughter, flute playing)


  • Review of last year’s goals.
  • Healthier Financial Policy
  • Doug reviewed Pillars & Foundations (P&F) report from the Fiscal Review

Taskforce, and 2016-17 P&F Review. Doug will put on June BOT agenda o Congregational Growth: Membership and Stewardship Growth in the 21 Century:

  • Doug reviewed two workshops by Kate and Bill.
  • Primary recommendation is the board needs a second-year commitment with a task force focusing action items that MVUC can engage in. o Support Strong Outreach and Communications:
  • Review of website (purpose is serve MVUC members, attract visitors, attract rentals).
  • Current plans include new platform, new server, support for current webmaster volunteer o Evolve Leadership Development Process:
  • conversations on integrating new members into leadership roles, working with Membership Council.
  • Board priorities 2017-2018:
  1. Continued focus on strengthening MVUC’s financial health — Champion: Carolyn and Carl (work with Finance and Stewardship)
  2. Hear report of fiscal review of report and determine outcome of recommendations
  3. Expand and enhance communications – Champion: Carolyn and Jeanne (work with Communications Council)
    1. Outreach to/attraction of larger community
    2. Serve community
    3. Attract rentals
    4. Website new host; use UUA platform theme;
  4. Continued focus on congregational membership and stewardship growth — Champion: Becky (work with Membership Council and Stewardship Committee)
    1. Social media target advertising
    2. Establish TF to review/identify recommend activities from Kate’s workshop
    3. Maintain quality of MVUC experience of current members
  5. Expand leadership pool among new and current members — Marty (work with Membership Council)
    1. New member package
    2. Volunteer coordination
    3. TF on engaging new members
  6. Ensure that actions are in place to support MVIJC /UUA ‘s Statement of Conscience Champion: Doug and Bill (work with Social Justice Council)

Roles for 2017-2018 Fiscal Year:


Chair: Carolyn Dunlea

Vice-Chair: Marty Bredeck

Secretary: Becky Brandt

Program Council Convener: Jeanne Tifft

PC Co-Convener: Helen Kafka

Personnel liaison: Doug MacCleery

Finance Committee liaison: John Henrehan and Carl Lohman

Kornfeld Estate liaison: Becky Brandt (Doug to assist as well?)

Ingathering: Malcolm Kerr and Carl Lohman






Committee on Ministry Board Appointments


Tom Griffin, Chair   2017-2019

Margaret Ruhe                          2017-2019

Bruce Tinker                              2017-2019

Barbara Jacobs                         2017-2019



Leaving the COM:

Sharon Roberts                         2012-2014, 2015 (+one year to stagger) 2nd term 2017

Rob Dickinson                          2012-2014, 2015 (+one year to stagger) 2nd term 2017

Evelyn Hewitt                           2015-2017

Vacant                                        2015-2017



Continuing are:

Lisa Gillispie                              2014-2016   2nd term 2016-2018

Ben Jessup                 2014-2016   2nd term 2016-2018