April UCF News!

From Rev. Michelle


It has surely been a long season of waiting.

Two long years we have waited! For the pandemic to be over…for our dreams of a new building to come to fruition…it has been two years of anticipation, weariness, impatience, excitement, nervousness, and all of the other big and small emotions that come with waiting.

And now, at last, the waiting may be over. Spring has indeed arrived.  As I write this, the parking lot has been completed, the final coat of paint has gone on, and the ceiling beams have been stained. The piano move has been scheduled. We have begun making tentative plans for moving and unpacking.

And now, a delay of another sort: the delay of the search for a new minister.

There are times when delays are a blessing. The building delays, though frustrating, turned out to be a blessing in that it allowed us to wait out another wave of the pandemic without the temptation of being able to gather indoors.

It gave us time to develop a COVID policy that took into account the newest scientific evidence and recommendations. The delay of ministerial search gives us time to take stock of our financial situation and recover from the emotional and spiritual toll that the pandemic took on all of us. It gives us time to figure out who we are, what we want, where we’re going—and who we want to help us get there.

And, most of all: it gives us some time to simply enjoy being together.  It’s been a long two years! We’ve missed seeing one another’s smiles, tasting one another’s cakes, hearing one another’s voices. We’ve missed just being in the same room together, even just sitting in silence, knowing that someone else is there, part of the same silence.

I know that there’s so many of you I haven’t gotten a chance to know yet.
I look forward to it.


Rev. Michelle Ma

From Board Vice President, Susan Fetzer

I’m filling in for Board President Melva Kearney again this month with another newsletter article from the Vice President. Melva is continuing her recovery and rehabilitation after shoulder surgery.

I drive down Bridges Street every time I go to Morehead City from  Beaufort now so I can drive by 2900 Bridges Street. I imagine what it will be like to worship, to attend Board and committee meetings and religious education classes in the new building. In my mind, I can see working in the big new kitchen and having a pot luck dinner someday. But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past two years of this pandemic, it is that I have to be patient, to be careful, and to be
cautious, because I am concerned about others and everything takes longer in these pandemic days.

As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm that all people are valuable, and that we are a part of an interdependent web of existence. Your UCF Board, Leadership Council, and New Building Team have developed a COVID policy that will hopefully serve to respect UU values while we protect those who attend activities at 2900 Bridges Street. The recommendations of health officials and the policies of other congregations were reviewed. The recognition that many in our congregation are at high risk for infection as well as considerations that our new building will require continued work by contractors even after we start using the building also guided the policy. The Board will review the policy and update it as needed at least every 2 months.

The policy may be read on the congregation’s web page, www.ucfnc.org. Please look for it using the Search feature. It is likely to be more restrictive than local businesses but perhaps less restrictive than a healthcare facility. We will ask that those who attend meetings and worship be vaccinated if there is a vaccine for their age group (but showing a card won’t be required) and wear a mask if over 2 years of age. There will be masks if someone forgets to bring one. If the risk level (according to CovidActNow.org) increases to HIGH (orange), we will have virtual worship and recommend virtual meetings. A virtual option for worship and meetings will be offered at all risk levels for those who want to attend virtually. The policy isn’t perfect, but I think it is one with which we can work while upholding our values of the inherent worth of all by making our buildings as safe as possible.

Taking longer to do most anything has been a frustrating part of pandemic life. It has certainly taken longer to build the church because of supply chain issues and shortages of building materials. The process of the transition in the interim ministry to be ready for a ministerial search has also been slower.  I was relieved to find out that other congregations who are in interims between settled ministers are delaying their searches for new ministers and are extending the typical 2-year process.

In conversations with the Board, the Leadership Council, the Transition Team, and with
congregants at a Coffee with the Board on March 6, I heard that many of you agreed that this congregation should extend our interim. I look forward to more discussions of how that will work for us, but for now, it’s good to know that there is more time to get settled in 2900 Bridges, to learn what our expenses will be, to look at our budget, and to define our needs and desires for the next steps in professional ministry at UCF.

Agenda Call for the Annual Meeting:

According to the bylaws, the Annual Meeting of the congregation will be held “during the weekend in June that begins with the second Friday in June, at a time and place fixed by the Board of Trustees.” It is typically held after the worship service on Sunday, which would be on June 12.  Maybe we can have it in person this year with a virtual component! Absentee ballots and proxies will also be available. Please submit any agenda items to Susan Fetzer, Vice President, at sgfetzer@gmail.com or call her at 252-259-5187.

Board Business

à The New Building Team reported on the progress toward completion of 2900 Bridges.

à The board agreed to extend the interim ministry after discussions with the Transition Team,  Leadership Council, and a Coffee with the Board.

à A COVID policy was developed for when the congregation meets again in person and will be reviewed every 2 months.

à The next Board Meeting will be on April 14 at 7PM.