Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church

January 10th, 2017


Board members present:                                         

Doug MacCleery – Board Chair

Carolyn Dunlea – Board Vice Chair (via computer)

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

Pam Koger-Jessup – Past Board Chair

Sarah Soulliere – Program Council Co-Convener


Board Members Absent:


Others Present:

Kate Walker – Minister

Alice King – Interim Minister

Carol Graves – Church Administrator

Amanda Casey – Weddings and Rentals Coordinator

Al Robberts – Financial Committee

Nancy Renner – Director FH Preschool

Danielle Mendoza – Parent Board Member, FH Preschool


Meeting convened at 7:33pm.


Kate shared the reading “When I heard of your loss, I called” by Pat King.


Introductions were made for the guests at the meeting.


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


Fort Hunt Preschool Overview and Update:

Nancy Renner (Director) & Danielle Mendoza (Parent Board member) came to give the Board a brief background and current update about the Fort Hunt Preschool.  They have been in existence for slightly more than 57 years.  They share similar philosophies with the Church being non-creedal, non-sectarian and humanistic.  The school is run as a parent co-op which means that parents help regularly in the classrooms (on average twice a month) and serve on their Board.  Fort Hunt Preschool is an inclusive school and has a nice diverse population at this time.  They are licensed by the commonwealth of Virginia for 50 kids, they currently have 38 enrolled.  They consider that they are part of raising the future stewards of the planet and one aspect of this teaching philosophy is to plan and build an outdoor classroom to bring nature into their teachings.


Financials: (Al Robberts)

Al updated the Board on the current state of MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH finances.  There are 6 separate funds all using one checking account which complicates tracking the money.  Right now, there is a $17,000 surplus because of a recent $30,000 transfer from the Endowment.  This was a one-time move.  Stewardship is coming in closer to $460,000, not the budgeted $480,000 but there is still and chance to break even by the end of the fiscal year, or have a slight negative balance.  The Operating fund is currently $4200 ahead, and the Endowment fund is back over a million dollars.  The stock market has been good over the past 8 years which has helped the Endowment fund a great deal.


The Board noted that the summaries have been helpful and would like them to continue.


As far as the Fiscal Review task force, they are continuing their work as mentioned in the Pillar & Foundations report and working the improve the financial stability of MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH.  60% of pledges come from the bottom quartile of pledges which is much larger than recommended.  The church spends roughly $2100 per member each year and it has been suggested that a letter could be sent out to the Congregation detailing all the programs run by the Church and the expense of the programs as a way to raise awareness of the Churches financial burden and raise more money from pledges.  Another suggestion is to lower the contributions to charities from Share the Plate from 100% to 80%, and to lower the split of the offerings going to Share the Plate from 50/50 to 1/3 for charities and 2/3 for the Church.  The UUA Fair Share contribution could also be dropped from 100% of the amount to 80%.  This would affect the Church by raising the rates for any UUA services used but MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH would still retain their right to vote.  This does have a negative effect of the staff at UUA and once implemented it will be difficult to return to 100%.


Doug gave an update on the status of the Kornfeld estate.  It is going slower than expected but there are no disputes.  It is simply a long process for this large estate which has international trusts.  The though is that by this spring we will get the deeds to the properties.  These properties do have tenants in them currently and those tenants will have to be given a proper 60 notice.  After that, the properties need to be prepared for sale so we are looking at a late summer date for that.


Youth Fund Raiser for UUNO in New York City:

Helen brought a request to the Board from the YRUU to hold a fund raiser to allow members of the YRUU to attend the upcoming UUNO in New York City where the discussion will be the disarmament of America.  At least 7 youth have already expressed an interest in going and the group would include 2 adult chaperones.


John moved to approve a fund raiser be held, motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


Rentals and Rates review (Amanda Casey)

Amanda gave a brief update on rentals and weddings. No change was requested from the Board to alter any of the current rates.  Weddings continue to slowly rebound, but there are more rentals for things like baby showers.  The main sticking point with weddings is the early end time which the Board has already approved to run as long as we are zoned for by the County.


Finalize BOT goals:

Champions of the main BOT goals were given a chance to update the entire Board of the status of the yearly Board goals.

  1. Healthier financial policy-
    1. When weddings/rentals do better than expected, could some of those funds be put aside for leaner years?
    2. We still need to find a Fundraising Coordinator. Tom Ruby was approached and has declined to lead the Fund-Raising Committee, however he has given a list of name of people he would recommend approaching to serve on such a committee.
    3. For the recently suggested Progressive Dinner item, Angel Colling and Suzanne Clery have been mentioned as 2 people to approach to spear head a force to work on planning this or something like it. Kelly Campbell and Tony Morrison were also mentioned.  The consensus of the Board is that 3 people should lead this task force.  Pam will approach Angel and Suzanne for setting up a dinner, or whatever idea they come up with, with the intent that they run with their plan and start the wheels in motion.  No further action will be needed from the Board.
  2. Congregational Growth –
    1. After the Feb 12th, congregational meeting, next steps to work on this will be updated.
  3. Evolve Leadership Development Process –
    1. Pam and Bill will be meeting to start this discussion.
  4. Support Strong Outreach and Communications-
    1. Have continued work on the website, see notes below.



Jeanne has done a ton of work to compile the previous thought and suggestions from the Board into a readable format for everyone involved.  This Saturday (1-14-17) at 10:30am Bill and Keith and anyone else interested in helping will be meeting at the church for a working meeting to improve/update the website.  An improved, well organized website will help improve stewardship.  The website needs to look like a church, it currently loses a lot of things in its mobile format and mobile users are usually looking for different things then laptop users.  There are just several improvements that the web site group is looking to improve.


Women’s March on DC:

A brief update from Kate.  Friday night (1-20-17) there is de-escalation training being held at the Church, all are welcome.  Saturday (1-21-17) is the march.  There is a group of 30 students from Amherst College who will be sleeping in Hollin Hall over the weekend.


UU Certification Report:

It is that time of the year that Carol has begun working on the report to the UU for MOUNT VERNON UNITARIAN CHURCH’s certification.  This report collects information about church membership, pledging units, etc.  The UU then uses these reports to set the amount of dues each UU church pays.  Not filing this report will cause a church to lose its ability to vote and General Assembly.


Meeting adjourned at 9:09 p.m.


Respectfully submitted, Amy Venzke, Secretary of the Board of Trustees