UUFC President’s Letter October 20, 2023
Dear UUFC Friends and Members,
We’ve had a busy summer.
At the October Board Meeting, we voted to empty the huge Coke coin bottle and offer the funds to Ellen Harlan for the Children’s program. We all guessed a total and fell waaay short—it was $181! Now to fill it up again to make a change with your loose change.
We have new members, Amos, and Amanda Jones (along with their five children), and they are really getting involved in our Fellowship with Sunday programs, guiding some of the Saturday meditations, and starting new traditions, like the Trunk or Treat we’ll have next week. We also have two soon-to-be members, Stephanie Robichaux and Craig Gonzalez. Learn more about them soon. They’ve been with us for many months now and will join officially in November.
Get ready for Trunk or Treat, Samhain, and Day of the Dead, all coming up in the next two weeks. Our Children’s Program is expanding, our Earth-Centered outreach is getting started again, both on October 29, and our Day of the Dead Celebration “Science and Gaia: A tribute to Mother Earth.”
Our Board held a Strategic Planning Meeting in August, with follow-up in September, where we revised our Mission, developed a Values Statement, and defined Covenant Statements for our Fellowship. As soon as the fellowship approves these, we will add them to our website. Expect an announcement and email soon regarding this as well as the nomination and election process for the 2024 Board of Trustees.
The Board also developed a list of goals for our Fellowship and action steps for achieving them. I offered a Sunday service program on these goals shortly after the Strategic Planning Meeting when one of our speakers had to cancel at the last minute.
Our Children’s Program has been revived by Ellen Harlan. Ellen and those helping with this effort are getting rave reviews from children and parents alike. Some of the art they produce is on display in the hallway past the foyer. Take a moment to appreciate the details, the thoughtfulness, and the beauty of these pieces. We truly have amazing children in this fellowship now and we want to nurture them in Unitarian Universalist values. Ellen is making sure this happens.
We will soon have a Grand Opening of the Meeting House. Work has been going on as workmen have been available with volunteers there to help. Adult Religious Education is still on hold until we decide how to proceed. I hope this grand opening will give us focus for the RE program.
If you noticed the renewed leak in front of the welcome table in Grace Hall, it’s being addressed by the contractor who fixed it in April. When we meet with the contractor again, we will confirm locations for severe weather shelter locations and create a diagram to display so we all know where to go.
Dr. Joyce Hickson and Brenda Stevens have completed an extensive compilation of the history of our fellowship. This book will be added to our earlier history collection compiled by John Nix. We expect to have several Sunday service presentations based on this project that traces our evolution to the present.
Hal Midgette is working on the “Bee and Butterfly Sanctuary” behind the Meditation Garden. This project will reduce the amount of lawn care we need, saving about $3300/year, as it supports our Seventh Principle. Hal also maintains the plants and crepe myrtle trees around the building Meditation Garden, Grace Hall, and the parking lot. Some time back, he added a stone bench beside Heiferhorn Creek to allow anyone to sit and enjoy the water, the wildlife, and the trees.
Lisa Pyburn has been working on plants and paths around the Pavilion area. She makes the area especially welcoming for gatherings and for exploring the banks along the water.
Orm Burnham is volunteering his services to trim the remaining grass. He also works on maintenance and repairs inside the main building and the Meeting House. If you notice him and Ursula King on First Sundays, they regularly volunteer to make sure that tables, chairs, utensils and dishes, and receptacles for used dishes and flatware are in place and ready to use. We could not have a Sunday luncheon without them or without all the excellent food that our fellowship brings to share.
Ron and Hal are designing security measures for the entire campus. We have had video surveillance of the campus for several years, but it has been upgraded, along with secure wifi to the Meeting House, thanks to new member Amos Jones’s IT expertise. Ron and Connie donated Ring doorbells to offer video surveillance and audio communication with the front doors and possibly the ramp entrance. These are yet to be installed. They also donated Google Nest thermostats for remote temperature management in order to save time and money and to keep the building comfortable.
Orm Burnham is donating a Eufy robotic vacuum for the Meeting House and the Board has approved funding for a second one to put upstairs for the Children’s Room.
Our front sign has been replaced, along with new posts—all redesigned by our Design Team, with brighter colors and made from a more durable material than the last one at a very reasonable cost.
Finally, we are getting back to having fun. This summer, we participated in the Pride Parade and the Strut the Hooch Parade where we won first prize for “Most Creative Entry.” We took a trip to Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We enjoyed cycling, walking, book club, discussion group and Zoom Friday Lunch Bunch. We’ve added Movie Night (still getting organized) and are thinking about some more ways to share our interests.
Get involved and join your network of UU friends with UU values. This fellowship is an oasis, but it needs you to flourish.
Connie Ussery, President