Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church

December 13th, 2016


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

Jeanne Tifft – Program Council Co-Convener

Helen Kitrosser – Youth Member


Board Members Absent:

Pam Koger-Jessup – Past Board Chair

Sarah Soulliere – Program Council Co-Convener


Others Present:

Kate Walker – Minister

Alice King – Interim Minister

Carol Graves – Church Administrator

Eric Pourchot

Kelly Campbell



Meeting convened at 7:31pm.


Kate shared the reading “If Only for the Season” by Edward Searle.


Consensus Items (November BOT meeting minutes, program council report, minister’s report, administrator’s report, DLSG report, financial report, and membership change report)


Nominating Committee Report:

            Eric Pourchot and Kelly Campbell, 2 members of the Nominating Committee, came to brief the Board on where the Nominating Committee is in the process, which positions they are looking to fill, and to invite suggestions and/or nominations from the Board.  There are 9 positions open.  Names are due to the Committee by January 15th, 2017.  The Committee then forms a master list in January and starts conversations with people from that list.  By April 1st, the Committee will report back to the Board with final names to fill all available slots on the Board, the Program Council and the Nominating Committee itself.  They recommend that the candidate have leadership training but this can be taken after nomination if needed.


Fiscal Review (Pillars & Foundations):

            A brief history of Pillars & Foundations (P&F) was mentioned as background for the review.  The close out document was distributed to the Board members and follow up to the P&F recommendations were discussed.  Stewardship has followed many of the P&F recommendations.  However, one recommendation was to average out the rental income and this has not been followed.


The Board still wants recommendations from the P&F task force as to where overall fund raising should reside.  There is still $5000 in the budget to be raised by fund raising that the Board is responsible for until fund raising is given a permanent home.  Kate recommended a “moveable feast” or “progressive dinner and dance” type of thing.  This is a three-course meal, held in three different locations.  Start with appetizers at several homes, then move onto entrees in other homes, ending with dessert and dancing at the church.  The hosts are responsible for feeding a group of 8-10 people.  Tickets would be sold to raise money.  Jeanne and Bill have expressed interest in working on a task force to set this up.  Tom Ruby’s name was mentioned as a person to lead the task force and Jeanne will approach Tom to consider this.


A “Retire the Debt” campaign is still to come.


Finalize BOT goals:

            It was decided as a group to table this discussion and review it at the January Board meeting.



            There have been some issues with the web site and the Board discussed how these could be addressed.  After discussing some perceived issues with the website, it was aggreed that the suggestions from Board members would be summarized and provided to the Communications Committee.


When this is done, the Board would request that Bill Cassidy call for another website meeting, invite people to help who already have experience and knowledge of Word Press, and have a “ hands on” web development meeting.  Carolyn Dunlea, Doug MacCleery, Wendy Burke and Jeanne Tifft were mentioned as people who are interested or should be invited to help.


Jeanne will contact Bill Cassidy to set up the hands on meeting and let him know that the Board has people willing to pitch in and help right now.


Appointment of Julie Dressing:

            She is Russ Stumpe’s daughter and is nominated for the Membership Committee.

John Henrehan moved to appoint her to this committee, seconded and passed unanimously.


Endowment Fund:

            It was reported that $75,000 has been added to the fund


Joan Darrah has suggested that the information in the Endowmwnt Fund Report is now inclued in the financial updates Board members already receive every month and recommended that it no longer is needed as a separate report.  No decision was made on this recommendation.


John Henrehan again brought up his concerns about how much money MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH is losing from the Kornfeld estate as the settlement continues to drag out.  Doug will reach out to Al Erickson, who is the Executor of the estate to see if he can provide and update to the Board.


BOT conversation with Congregation:

            The Board will move forward with plans to have a conversation with the Congregation in February, after the second service.  These conversations are a chance for members of the Congregation to find out where the Board is on their tasks, the issues we as a church are facing, and to offer any suggestions they may have.


BOT support for Women’s March on DC:

            The question was asked if the Board will express its support for the Women’s March on DC the Saturday after the inauguration.  The march begins at the Capital at 7am and concludes around 2pm and a location below the Capitol.  The MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH Congregation as a whole have not been asked if they support the March, but the Board can voice support independently.  The Church is also supporting the March by opening up Hollin Hall for lodging for out-of-towners who cannot get a hotel room otherwise due to the inauguration.

Kate mentioned that there will be antagonists at the March and she is taking point to organize all UU churches in Virginia for training for marchers on how to deal with these situations to avoid an escalation towards violence.

Bill Gleason motioned that “The Board of MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH supports the Women’s March on DC on January 21, 2017.”  Seconded and passed unanimously.



            There was a discussion about MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH becoming a full member of VOICE.  Dues are 1% of a church’s budget or roughly $6000 per year.  Being a full member would give MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH greater influence in the area.  The Board is impressed with the group that runs VOICE, however it is felt that IAF covers too large a geographical area.  The Board unanimously decided that MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH is not in a financial position to join yet, but we will revisit this decision in the future.


Board Retreat:

            Date is set for June 2 & 3, 2017.  Bill and Sue Lamb are confirmed to facilitate.  Location TBA.


Meeting adjourned at 9:22 p.m.


Respectfully submitted, Amy Venzke, Board of Trustees Member