May UCF News and Info

MAY REFLECTIONS FROM REV. SALLY

With permission, I share an excerpt from a message I recently received on behalf of the whole Fellowship. The card came from Laura Ward, Miriam Green’s sister, who frequently joins our Zoom services from her home in Asheville.

She writes, “I just finished Zooming in on your service today. …UCF is…a Sacred place of inclusiveness that flows with quietness and stillness. … Thank you.”

In this time of social distancing and disruption of so many familiar and long-standing ways of being together … our Zoom services offer inclusiveness, quietness and stillness to at least one person who joins us from hundreds of miles away.

In this time of dislocation when UCF is planning and building our new Sanctuary and we are sorely limited in the space we have to practice ministry… still we minister. Virtually on Sundays and in meetings and in classes and in film discussions and book discussions. In person as we can when we caravan to pick up USDA food for hungry families in Carteret County; when we prepare and deliver meals for congregants who have been sick; when we make phone calls and write postcards and pitch in and speak out. And when we listen; when we make space to hear what needs to be said, what needs to be heard.

Thanks to Laura Ward, for giving us these words of acknowledgment.

Blessings on this Sacred place, and on the ministry practiced here.

Be safe, and be well. -Sally

PRESIDENT’S COLUMN

Happy May, My Friends!

It’s no news to you that our congregation has been meeting on Zoom for over a year now. Does that fact ever cause you to emit a big sigh? If so, what do you do to reverse this feeling of melancholy? For me, the best therapy is to adopt an attitude of gratitude that Zoom exists currently and is affordably priced for our congregation to use. I think about how our options would have been entirely different even 5 years ago. Zoom isn’t perfect, but it’s oh so providential. Just think of where our UCF community would have been today without something like Zoom. Imagine the pandemic’s impact on our entire ministry; safe connections between congregants would have been severely limited. The thought of not even seeing each other at all for over a year makes the opportunity to interact virtually feels like we uncovered a treasure. With Zoom, we have been blessed with the ability to maintain face-to-face contact, albeit not in-person, to keep our ministry alive and our Fellowship intact and thriving. Thank goodness for Zoom!

What else has Zoom technology afforded us? First, proximity. When we meet in person, we usually sit in our regular spots in the pews and don’t really have direct contact with those on the other side of the sanctuary. This is not the case with Zoom because virtual space offers contact with everyone at once. Everyone can engage in a conversation and people laugh and share. Second, we can enjoy the participation of former members and friends. Meeting on Zoom often brings the company of those who have moved from the area to again be part of the congregation. This reconnection would not be possible if we were meeting in-person. Third, meeting on Zoom allows faraway family members to go to church with us. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s still pretty great. Fourth, whole groups of congregants from other UU churches can join us. Opening the door to other congregations and speakers helps us connect with those whom we likely would never meet. It also opens the door to speakers who would have had to travel long distances to offer their messages. Fifth, Zoom gives us a safe venue to have leadership meetings, a venue where our ministry is maintained and the business of our Fellowship continues. Being able to hold our leadership steady has also held us steady fiscally and maintained UCF’s place in the larger community. Sixth, Zoom provides the possibility for religious education classes and Thoughtful Gatherings to continue. Seventh and very important, we were able to finalize the sale of our beloved Evans St. building knowing that Zoom would offer us a venue for meeting until the construction of our new campus was complete. That’s a huge reason to be grateful for Zoom. Having the cash in hand from the Evans St. sale was really necessary to move construction forward. Maybe you can think of more opportunities Zoom technology affords us. Can you can think of ways we can use Zoom to expand our reach after we return to in-person meetings? To close, I hope you can join me in times when you feel like sighing by adopting an attitude of gratitude for Zoom. It sure is making it easier for me to hold on a little while longer. Let’s say it together: “Thank goodness for Zoom!”

All the best to you! -Melva

BOARD OF TRUSTEES BUSINESS

 The Board is working closely on the logistics of the Constructive Conversations with the Congregation.

 The Board is continuing to work with the New Building Team as construction proceeds. Currently, the old sanctuary building is undergoing the safe removal of the asbestos siding and asbestos flooring. The building must be free of asbestos before demolition can proceed.

 The Board helped the Green Sanctuary Committee finalize the paperwork for the Volkswagen Grant for electric car charging stations.

 The Board has assisted the Finance Committee for next year’s operating budget.

 The Board has proposed the parameters of a Staffing Committee Policy and will be overseeing its creation with the help of the Staffing Committee itself.

 The Board has proposed the parameters of a policy for governing the Staff. The Board has sought the

Staffing Committee’s wisdom and guidance on the protocols of this policy.

 The Board is preparing the agenda and ballot for our upcoming Annual Meeting.

INTERIM MINISTER SEARCH COMMITTEE BUSINESS

The Interim Minister Search Committee completed our profile and submitted it to the Transitions Office on April 7th. On April 8th, the profiles were opened to this year’s applicants. Currently, the Committee awaits the release of the list of applicants who wish to apply for our position. That list will be sent to us on Monday, May 3rd, along with their information and sample sermons. After that, we will have a chance to evaluate and interact with them. On Monday, May 17th, the Committee will formally rank our applicants and submit that ranking to the Transitions Office.