Board Update – May 2024

The Board met on May 14, 2024, at 7:00 PM in the Commons and on Zoom. 

Minister’s Report: 

Reverend Ian reported on Sunday Worship, Guest Ministers, Family Ministry, Music, a Summer Book Read, and Teams Night. Use this link to learn more about these exciting topics. Rev. Ian will be on Study Leave and Vacation from June 20th to July 26th. Rev. Eleanor Piez will be on call for pastoral care and emergencies.

Meeting Minutes:

The Board approved the minutes to the March and April meetings. Approved meeting minutes can be found at: https://mvuc.org/about/board-of-trustees/

Home Energy Medics (HEM) Energy Audit Report: 

The Energy Efficiency Task Force lead by Heather Plank and Dave Coakley of the Climate Action Team (CAT) coordinated an Energy Audit with Mr. Scott Donelson from Home Energy Medics (HEM). Robin Roberts was the Board liaison to this project. Mr. Donelson presented key findings from their extensive report. The report identified several items that are past their life expectancy and need replacement. HEM also found that the Hollin Hall HVAC system was oversized when installed in 2003, giving us significantly more capacity than needed and that a total HVAC system reconfiguration would be required to improve long term efficiency. Prior to HVAC system replacement, they noted that insulation and air sealing need to be done in both Hollin Hall and the Carriage House in order to see any energy savings.

The report prioritized specific areas for improvement along with estimated costs. The cost estimates, which do not include permits and engineering costs, came to $423,800. We currently do not have funds for these recommended repairs and replacements in the budget or in reserve funds (property major maintenance funds).

As noted in our last update Finance Committee Chair Al Robbert had recommended that we set up a team to perform a Reserve Study that identifies the end of life for all building systems with estimates of costs to help us plan for repairs and replacements. Robin Roberts volunteered to be the Board liaison for this project and Reverend Ian offered to help identify members that would be interested in being involved. Al Robbert also offered to participate in this project. The Board expects this project to reference a previous reserve study and maintenance/update schedule that was led many years ago by Russ Stumpe. Planning by the Generosity and Stewardship Team will be needed to determine how best to do the reserve study and how to raise funds for the work that needs to be done.

River Farm Forest School:

A lease has been signed with the River Farm Forest School (RFFS). They start preparing the classrooms on June 1st and classes will start sometime in August. Robin Roberts is working with church teams to relocate items that are currently stored in space that RFFS will be using. Please be sure to check with your team leaders regarding plans for daytime meetings that had been scheduled in the leased school areas. Email BOT@mvuc.org if you have any questions.

Robin is also working with contractors bidding on the work required by Fairfax County to bring Hollin Hall into code compliance for RFFS. The bulk of the work is to satisfy fire egress requirements set by the Fire Marshall including; fire doors and panic bars in a few locations, repair of several doors, and fire exiting signage.

The following agenda items were deferred to the Board’s next meeting due to time, but here are updates on these items. 

Bylaws and Governance Model:

The Bylaws Task Force has been meeting with different Teams to review the Policy Governance Model. The presentations have been well received and many questions have been asked and answered. If your team would like a Task Force and/or Board member to meet with you to share more information about the policy governance model please contact the Board at bot@mvuc.org.

Congregational “Rollercoaster”:

The Board shared information and readings about the Congregational “rollercoaster” metaphor in a previous Board update: https://mvuc.org/board-update-april-2024/ . The Board has been working with our regional UUA staff (Rev. Megan Foley, Rev. Sana Saeed, and Rev. Sunshine Wolfe) since March regarding some members’ concerns and organizational concerns from Rev. Ian; several meetings and discussions have taken place, and the Board is getting advice and recommendations on activities we as a Congregation could undertake and practices we could put in place to help strengthen our organizational culture and congregational life. 

One activity that the Board initiated last fall was to have several members trained in what the UUA calls “healthy relations.” Previous updates and newsletters have shared details on this. A healthy relations team was chartered recently; however, that team has reported to the Board that they were quickly inundated with issues and questions that go beyond the team’s charter (which is to focus on education, skill-building, and resolution of interpersonal conflicts as noted in the April Board Update.) 

The Board has been developing the idea of creating a “congregational rollercoaster team” who could help organize, share information, engage UUA facilitation, and provide communications and help to those with organizational and cultural concerns. The Board has also set up a Board Table for people to visit at some Sunday Coffee Hours and is considering holding “Board Office Hours” (virtual and live) again – a practice that previous Boards tried during the pandemic. Our UUA staff have urged the Board to move forward deliberately (and specifically not too quickly). They also recommended a structure for a forum/listening session where congregants can hear and learn from each other and the Board has been working to develop and plan this activity. In addition, the new Board will be discussing and doing some skill-building and training regarding these activities at its upcoming Board Retreat June 21-22. 

Since the May 14 Board meeting took place, and while this planning and development has been underway, the Board received a request for a special congregational meeting. The Board is now working to integrate this request/meeting with the other ideas and activities mentioned above. The board will discuss the forum idea and special meeting request further and hopes to work out details at our June Board meeting.  We will have more details soon.