Meeting Minutes

Board of Trustees of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church September 13th, 2016


Board  members present:

Carolyn Dunlea -Board Vice Chair Amy Venzke – Secretary

Bill Gleason -Board Liaison to Stewardship Pam Koger-Jessup -Past Board Chair

Tony Barkume -Board Rep to Personnel Advisory John Henrehan -Board Liaison to Finance

Sarah Soulliere -Program Council Co-Convener Jeanne Tift -Program Council Co-Convener Helen Kitrosser -Youth Member
Board members absent:
Doug MacCleery -Board Chair
Others Present:
Kate Walker -Minister

Alice King -Interim Minister

Carol Graves -Church Administrator Bill Clontz



Meeting  convened  at 7:30pm by  Carolyn Dunlea.


Kate read a passage from Kimberly Byer Nelson, “This is how we are called”.


Consent agenda passed except for the August meeting minutes which need one more revision and will be re-examined  at the October board   meeting.


One item pushed to the October meeting was a discussion about where does the job of fundraising belong?


Review of the Pillars & Foundations {P&F) Financial Plan – Bill Clontz

Voted  in by the Board  in 2014, we are in the last year  now.


2009 recession  hit the church hard  with a big loss of wedding income, church had a $60,000   deficit by mid-year.  A mid-year  financial campaign  was launched  and the congregation  stepped up and contributed enough money  that the debit was erased.  The financial  health of the church  was then given a hard look. Workshops were held as brainstorming sessions, then the P&F task force was formed.  Their job  was to look at what was  working, what was not, and how could it    be improved . Several problem areas were discovered  .


  1. There was no long term continuity overview.   In the past the Board  had  been


micromanaging the budget in a reactive way. What was needed was long term financial management .

  1. There was a big lack of pledges. The church was too reliant on a small group of large pledges and not focusing on growing the number of pledges coming in. The church was also too dependent on rental income. Long term patterns showed that rental income swung up and down roughly every 5 years over the past 20
  2. We were sliding into a pattern of systematic deficits where every year now had  a deficit. In a healthy  church 85% of income should come from pledges and  15% come from  outside sources. MVUC was closer to 65% of income from pledges, 15% from outside sources and  5% was


But there were also things that were working, such as-

  1. The deficits were manageable.
  2. Mean and median pledges were within  the range  recommended  by the  UUA.
  3. Fairly small changes could eliminate the problem, but it required
  4. We were doing better with improving  pledging  by new


The P&F task force put out 26 recommendations.     The most important were the following:

  1. Set up a 4-year effort to improve the budget
  2. Stick to cost growth of  5% per year
  3. Freeze salaries for 1 year
  4. Increase pledging by 5% per year for 3 years
  5. Use the endowment income to cover the deficit for 3 years. Ifwe are still short, go back to the Congregation .



Membership needs more consistency

Resource Council was formed, met a couple times then stopped

Dashboard -the congregation needs an easy visual to see how we are doing, the one created did not do a good job,

We cannot keep relying on only a few large pledges, need to work on getting the majority of people to do small increases every year. Fund raisers are great but they are cyclical and shouldn’t be depended on.  Also have to watch out for donor burn out.


Discussion on the P&F will continue during the October board meeting.

Jeanne suggested doing the dash board monthly on the screen in the commons area, Pam will be working on this.


Communications/web/social   presence.

Internal communication is good and has been working well. In regards to the Facebook , website, and emails to the congregation and public, Keith Brophy, Bill Cassidy and Joanne Masterson hold regular Communication Council meeting. Keith is going to hold a meeting for people who want to post things on the website themselves.


They are aware of the security problems with the website, malware has crashed it twice in the past month. Joanne is getting estimates for how much it would cost to hire a professional to


monitor the website, also how much it will cost if it crashed again. Web site security will have to be part of the new budget; it is important to realize this will be a large sum of money but necessary for the future.


Yes, the navigation of the website is an issue but we are stuck with the limits of the program used to create the new website. Also important to remember that everyone learns and operates differently , one website  certain  style of website  is not going to please  everyone.


No, the UUA does not pay for website security, it would be more cost effective if they did but each church is on their own.


Facebook is being used a lot to get information out to people, we have 1 Facebook  page but  there  are many groups.



Congregational  Meeting    9-18-16

Will be directly after the second service, to vote on the new Mission and Vision statement.

Task force shall present the motion Someone will second

Time for discussion

We will use visual voting Members must be present to  vote

Members will be checked in during ushering at beginning of the service and given bright paper to vote with

Carol will provide  membership  lists and paper



Review  of Retreat  goals #2, #3,and  #4


Goal #2 was Expectation of Service: how do we link covenant and service?


Pam was excited about this during the retreat, she mentioned having something to recite to draw all members together. Definitions of what congregation will do (i.e. Coffee hour, be an usher, help during Workananny, etc.) Help give people idea of using their treasure, time and talent.


Do this by testimonials of volunteering from the pulpit then put in newsletters and emails -once a month? Discuss workable time frame.


Have Kate do a “shout out” of volunteer of the week while still controlling the message, this could help with volunteers who are worried about speaking or not good public speakers.


People asked to speak will likely be good speakers. Keep in mind that finding people to do monthly testimonials was a recommendation of P&F. Kate will take care of this.


Service covenant discussion to be continued, the board should host discussions on this topic after


the second service, and Membership council needs to be involved. A covenant may not be necessary but more action is needed to explain expectations of membership to the congregation. After much discussion, it was decided to withdraw goal #2 altogether from further consideration.


Goal #3 will be done. John is planning a shoe leather campaign for growth in a couple months.


Goal #4 will be moved to a future board meeting. Italso needs members of the Nominating Committee to join us for the discussion, there may not be much to fix after all.


Miscellaneous  Items:

Pam is willing be the Board Rep for the Kornfeld Estate. John motioned, Bill seconded, passed unanimously. [Background: The Kornfeld estate is still being worked on, there are 3 houses and cash left to the Church and various family members around the world. Everyone needs to be located and notified before we will get our part of the estate.]


The Board expressed its gratitude to John for all his work on the Ingathering. Not as many kids attended this year, but a bunch of new faces were noted.


Carol reminded the Board that photos of the new Members are needed, as well as Program Council members. Also, if your name tag needs to be updated as a Board  member, send Carol  and email  and she will take care of  it.




Meeting adjourned at 9:08p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Amy Venzke, Board of Trustees Member



AGENDA – Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, Alexandria, VA  –  BOT Meeting- September 13, 2016

7:30 PM (7 p.m. gathering for review)


TimeTopicTypeFacilitator(s) Carolyn
7:30Welcome – call to order
7:31Reflection – chalice lightingKate
7:33Consent Agenda Review and Approval :

August Meeting Minutes Program Council Report Minister’s Report Administrator’s Report DLSG report

Financial Report

7:40Review of Pillars and Foundation financial planInfoBill Clontz
8:00Communications/web presence updateInfoKate
8:10Preparation for Congregational Meeting 9.18.16InfoCarolyn/Kate
8:15Review of June board retreat goals 2, 3 & 4InfoCarolyn/Kate
8:45Appointment of Pam Koger-Jesup to Kornfeld EstateActionCarolyn
8:50Unannounced new business and announcements
9:00MVUC Covenant and Adjournment


BOT Priorities 2016-17:


  1. Healthier Financial Policy (debt is not a bad word)
  2. Expectation of Service/definition of Covenant
  3. Congregational Growth
  4. Evolve Leadership Development Process
  5. Enhance Spiritual Depth
  6. Boldly live our faith out loud. Detailed Goals:
    1. Look more at the Pillars & Foundations report
    2. Capital campaign for debt reduction 2017
    3. Continued discussion on pledging as a requirement for membership
  2. Financial briefing for Board as new members join Board
  3. Financial Diversification Planning
    1. Increase endowment
    2. Planned giving
  • Site marketing/rentals
    1. New covenantal Process to ..


  1. Expectations of membership
    1. * will revisit this topic later
    1. Investigate coordination with nominating committee and leadership training team (can get support from region)
    2. Short term leads to long term change
    1. Intentional strategy to raise our public profile
    2. Collaboration with community partners
      1. VOICE
    3. Work internally to establish connections and pathways for opportunities
  4. BOARD (needs clarity)
    1. Communications, use of social media
    2. Role of Board members
    3. Board orientation process