From Rev. Michelle:
Change is in the air: a change in seasons, and also a change in ministers. The coming month will be filled with surprises, as I learn about you and the way you do things, and as you learn about me and the way I do things. These first few weeks and months will be all about getting to know each other: after all, I can’t analyze a system without first getting to know it as thoroughly as I can! I hope you will be patient with me and my many questions, and the many things that I inevitably will forget to do (because I don’t yet know that I was supposed to do them).
On a more sober note, I must say that it is a gift to have a congregation who had planned to meet online for the next few months in any case. Pandemic conditions feel different now than they did at the beginning of the summer, and my colleagues who had made plans to reopen their congregations this fall are having to re-strategize yet again. I know that many of us miss meeting in person and are tired of calculating risk for simple things like having meetings or even going to the supermarket. I am grateful that as Unitarian Universalists, we are willing to struggle with balancing the sacredness of life with the sacredness of fellowship, knowing that both of them are important to us as humans and as spiritual beings.
And so, as we move forward with getting to know one another, please, don’t hesitate to let me know what you’re comfortable with. Typically, I would invite people to show me their favorite spots—a restaurant, a museum, a park—as a way for me to not only get to know the people, but the place that I will be calling home for the next two years. I have never been kayaking; perhaps one of you would like to show me how? I’m also very ready and willing to learn how to fish! I enjoy cycling and have a nice road bike, but I’m dreadfully out of shape; perhaps one of you can show me an easy trail? Or, if the idea of meeting in person gives you any pause whatsoever, I’m happy to meet via zoom. (And yes, I am vaccinated.)
Change is in the air, and all we can do is meet it with as much care, openness, and flexibility as we can muster. You will find—if you haven’t already—that I am a big fan of fun. Despite everything that’s going on, there is still joy and wonder to be found in the world. Whatever anxiety we may have about the future, there is still the present to be had, and that is a gift.
Blessings, ~ Rev. Michelle Ma
From Melva Kearney, Board President
Keeping the congregation and our new home at 2900 Bridges St. safe and financially secure is one of the Board’s priorities as we prepare to occupy our new campus. The UUA has prepared a policy framework to maintain congregational safety called the Safe Congregation Policy. Many other UU congregations have already instituted this policy. Now, this Board plans to follow suit by implementing a Safe Congregation Policy for UCF. We have selected three of the areas in that policy framework to start—Congregational Communication; Children and Youth Safety; and Building Safety. To begin, we are working on the Building Safety Policy and plan to have it in place in time to move onto our new campus. To now, no policy has existed to guide us in maintaining the safety of our building. We have had to create solutions as problems have surfaced and have learned many lessons along the way. Those lessons will be used as we move forward.
UCF’s Building Safety Policy will address various crises that could happen to our congregation and our campus. Step-by-step plans will be created for approaching those crises and the residual effects on the congregation. The Board recognizes that anything that threatens the safety of our campus threatens the congregation’s sense of security and vice versa. Therefore, any good policy should account for the congregation’s feelings resulting from a crisis.
The Board is first addressing non-man-made crises, such as natural disasters and pandemics. First, the condition of the building after a disaster must be assessed and who and what is needed to return it to its normal condition. Financial and legal solutions will be included. Second, the policy will address maintaining the community of our congregation and residual feelings dealing with the loss or interruption in our ability to have normal programs and services. What are our backup plans if we can’t use the building? This policy will include answers to this question and many others.
The Board will then move on to address man-made crises, such as burglary, vandalism, or destruction of property. Similar policies will be made, adding considerations for increased effects on the congregation’s feelings of insecurity after such an occurrence. Furthermore, in such cases, UCF will have to access external authorities such as the police and possibly legal representation. In fact, the Board plans to create a relationship with the MHC Police Department as part of creating this policy. This will certainly facilitate better communication and better results for UCF. Can the police teach the congregation increased safety measures in the face of potential crisis? This policy will include answers to this question and many others.
Maintaining your safety, your sense of security and the safety of our campus is driving the Board’s work on this first element of our new Safe Congregation Policy. Please send us your good thoughts as we do this work.
All the Best!
Last month, we reported that we’d hired an attorney to fix a typographical error on the deed for our Bridges property. The attorney has completed that work and the accurate deed has been filed with the city. We also have a copy of that deed in our safe.
The Board voted to postpone the installation of the charging stations in our parking lot at Bridges. The price of installing those charging stations at this time is prohibitive. In addition, Smithson’s charge for installing the electrical wiring for them is more than we want to pay. Nevertheless, all of the preparations have been made to install those stations in the future. A concrete pad will be created and the conduit will be run to the breaker box to make it easy for us to install the stations in the future.
It’s a Breeze
Have you set up your access to Breeze yet? Breeze is our church management system that lets us keep track of our members and friends and their contact information, schedule events and access a church calendar, track which groups people belong to including Care Circles, Committees, etc, and so much more.
If you are a Member or Friend of UCF we already have you in the Breeze system, but if you set up a log-in (it’s a breeze!), you can do all of the following:
Go to your profile and check your contact information to be sure it is correct
Edit your contact information if it is incorrect or if it changes
Upload a picture of your face to your profile (optional)
See your contributions to UCF since January 1, 2021
Opt-in or Opt-out of the UCF Member/Friends Directory – if you opt-in, others in the congregation will be able to see your contact information
Access the contact information of others in the congregation who have “opted-in” to the Directory
See the Church Calendar of Events, including services, meetings and special events – by clicking on them you can view details like time, location, Zoom links and other information
The link to our Breeze website is on the bottom left of every page of the UCF website, but can only be used if you have set up your user name and password. If you would like to set up your login or want more information, contact Barb Thomas (email@example.com), Karen Baggott (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jo Ellen Essex (email@example.com) or Liz Morningstar (firstname.lastname@example.org).