Annual Report 2016-2017

 Download the UUCOB Annual Report 2016-17(pdf) Best for printing!

 ANNUAL REPORT – FY 2016-17

June 11, 2017
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF THE OUTER BANKS

ANNUAL MEETING
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION OF THE OUTER BANKS
SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2017
12:00 Noon
UUCOB Meetinghouse

1. Chalice Lighting

2. Reading of the Covenant
We believe in freedom, love, and reason in religion.

We commit ourselves to an organized religious community, recognizing the greater effectiveness of common effort.  We come together to enrich our spiritual lives, to share our ideals, and to increase our sensitivity to the needs of others.

We believe we can achieve our goals without conforming to set theological doctrines.

We welcome and offer friendship to kindred spirits of any race, nationality, sexual orientation or religious background.

Within the limits of our abilities and in keeping with our personal choices, we dedicate our time, effort, and financial support to this Congregation.

3. UUCOB Annual Report

 4. Recognition of Volunteers

 5. Adoption of FY 2017-2018 Budget

 6. Election of Board & Committee Chairs

 7. Declaration of Conscience

 8. Other Business/Comments

 9. Adjournment

Minister’s Report

What a pleasure it has been for me to share a second year of ministry with this vibrant, warm, imaginative, talented, and committed religious community!  This has been a very rich year in the life of our congregation.

Since last June’s Congregational Meeting we’ve welcomed new members and said goodbye to beloved people.  In terms of simple numbers we’ve grown our membership and increased our Sunday attendance appreciably.  Beyond numbers, we have added wonderful folks to our community who have quickly found their way into the engaged, embracing way of life that is such an important part of UUCOB’s special character. There are many ways of considering the growth of a congregation, and it’s my feeling that we’ve grown again this year not just numerically but in community, in active participation by members and friends, in our sense of engagement with the larger community around us, and in the spiritual grounding that’s always vital, and never more so than in troubled times like we’re living in today.

On Sunday mornings we’ve explored, laughed, and grieved together, called ourselves toward engagement with issues of justice and equity in the wider world and our own Unitarian Universalist Association, explored new ideas and old traditions, lifted our voices in song, embraced new video technology, and heard the ancient sound of the psaltery.  It has been my great pleasure both to lead and to attend worship services that are spiritually vibrant, emotionally rich, and intellectually challenging.  Many hands go into making our Sunday mornings a consistently meaningful and powerful experience of both worship and community! The many gifts of our musical members have enriched our services immensely. It has also been a year full of thought-provoking, heartfelt sermons from the alumni of last year’s Shared Pulpit sermon-writing seminar, an 8-week exploration that will definitely make a return appearance every few years.  We’ve heard from guest ministers exchanging pulpits with me, a practice that lets our congregations hear a variety of voices and ministers experience worship with other UU congregations, and from Outer Banks community leaders.

We’ve had two congregational conversations this year about social justice, considering together the role of a congregation that’s heir to the Unitarian Universalist tradition of justice-seeking in a challenging social and political climate.  I believe the embers of a new, communal commitment to working for justice have been kindled, and I look forward to continuing this process and progress together.

I’m celebrating a year of abundance in our financial generosity this year as well.  The smooth and effective Pledge Drive not only reached but exceeded the goal the Board and Finance Committee set.  Our concerts were delightful, and our two annual Auctions brought in as much or even more than ever.  The commitment and support that is shared across the congregation makes many things possible.

On a sadder note, this year we’ve said farewell to some longtime members who have been pivotal in the life of UUCOB over the years.  John and Laura Gilson left us for Norfolk, and late this spring our last active founding members Bill and Peggy Birkemeier departed for their new home in the Triangle.  And with tears, laughter, and the solace of good company in a Celebration of Life on May 12th, we sent our beloved Jennifer Frost, who died April 29th, into the Mystery with our blessing.  These stalwart and loyal folks have been vital presences in our congregation, and we will miss them for a long time to come.

This has been a satisfying year in my own ministry, as we have deepened our relationship, sustained and nurtured the many strong aspects of UCCOB’s life, and explored new possibilities and ideas together.  I hope that I will continue to grow my own knowledge and skill as the minister of a congregation our size, and that together we will keep finding ways to strengthen our shared ministries.  I am particularly hopeful that in the coming year(s) I can help to empower and encourage parents and non-parents to come together and begin to offer intentional and engaging faith development activities for our children and youth.  Though small in number, our core of young UUs is growing once more, and they need us all to support them in their growth and development.

It’s also been a pleasure for me to have UUCOB as such a strong foundation for my participation in the North Dare Ministerial Association, which this year took several steps toward embracing a more visible public presence in ministry to the wider community.  It’s an honor to be part of that group of good colleagues of many faiths.

Finally, I’m grateful for all our many dedicated UUCOB leaders and volunteers, who “make church happen” for all of us from week to week and year to year.  To thank everyone individually would practically be a roll call of the congregation, but I do want to especially lift up Joe Heard, who has given so generously of his time, energy, and skill in his multiple terms as Board President.  It has been a gift to work with such a steady, positive, empowering leader, and I thank Joe and hope he feels well celebrated as his term ends.  I also want to call out Sherrie Lemnios for all the many and varied ways her hard work and skill add richness to our congregational life.  These two role models of devotion are joined by a remarkable cadre willing and cheerfully committed leaders on the Board and active committees, and you are all a blessing to this community.

Thank you, UUCOB, for a wonderful year together.  I look forward to what’s ahead for us!

In faith and appreciation–

Your minister, David

President’s Report

Dear Members and Friends of the UUCOB,

Eight years ago, I was invited to lunch by UUCOB President Fran Green and former (and now incoming) President Jennifer Gilbreath.  I may not have known the topic of discussion, but I knew that with those two partnering, I would likely be saying, “Yes”.  That July, I found myself as President of the UUCOB.

Over the subsequent eight years, I’ve worked alongside dozens of members and friends to keep our congregation’s vibrant presence in our larger Outer Banks community.  In that period of time, we’ve progressed as a congregation and are moving forward in a wonderful direction.  However, upon looking back, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride.  During our years of economic recession, our attendance rarely exceeded 25 people at a Sunday service, membership dwindled to the mid-30s, and our finances were stretched to the point that we had to withdraw money from our investments to balance our budget.  As I step back from my role as President, I’m glad to see that we’ve seen a consistent growth of positive energy, activity, membership, and financial stability in our congregation over the past few years, truly blossoming under the guidance of Rev. David Morris.

During the past year, I’ve watched Rev. Morris gradually develop his relationship with our congregation and shift confidently into his role as a resource, advisor, facilitator, and leader.  With his guidance, our congregation seems to have a found a nice rhythm moving forward and I expect even greater progress as new leaders, with new ideas and energy, come on board in July.  I’m pleased about where we’re at and where we’re heading.

This positive energy has become most apparent during our Sunday morning services.  Building on the successful efforts of Lola Davis-Jones, Co-Chair Rose Clark, Co-Chair Rosemary Rawlins, and the other members of the Program Committee have provided ideas, organization, and training for those involved with our Sunday services.  In response to the needs of our congregation and community, Rev. Morris has brought issues surrounding social justice to the forefront of his sermons and services.  The participants in our Shared Pulpit sermon-writing seminar have spoken thoughtfully on issues close to their hearts.  Guest ministers have provided a different, refreshing perspective on issues of importance to us as Unitarian Universalists.  Nancy Byrne’s leadership with the music program has provided high-quality musical offerings on a weekly basis.  These services provide our congregation with a time for spiritual growth, learning, sharing, and calling to action.  Each Sunday, I enjoy seeing both new faces and returning faces as they find a spiritual home at the UUCOB.

As President, I have the opportunity to witness much of the work that goes into keeping our congregation a vital and vibrant part of our community.  There is much work done behind the scenes and I would like to recognize the following people for their significant volunteer efforts on behalf of our congregation:

  • Like clockwork, Co-Chairs of the Building & Grounds Committee, Kent Zimmerman and Dennis Tromba complete the necessary tasks to keep our buildings functioning and improving our property.
  • Chair Kathy McMahan and the Communications Committee keep us informed and enhance UUCOB’s image through various methods of communication.  For many visitors or new residents to the Outer Banks, our website or a Facebook post may be their first opportunity to explore what the UUCOB has to offer.
  • Finance Committee Chair Sherrie Lemnios invigorates our congregation and Meetinghouse with art exhibits and successful fund-raising auctions and concerts that serve as social events for our members and friends, as well as serving an important role in meeting our congregation’s budget.
  • Treasurer Sandy Anderson fulfills an important role tracking income, expenses, and pledges.  We’re very thankful for Sandy’s dedication.
  • Chair Ellen Berg and the Membership Committee have had a very successful year welcoming new members and friends to our congregation (our membership is greater than its been in over a decade).  We also appreciate the greeters and sextons who have worked with Ellen to help us prepare for service each Sunday.
  • Vice-President Bryan Jones has developed solutions to many of the technical needs and challenges faced by or congregation (sound system, screen, printing, computers).
  • Our Nominating Committee – Rose Clark, Pat Smrdel, and Sherrie Lemnios – did a wonderful job of finding well-qualified individuals to serve important roles within our congregation.  I’m excited to see the new names nominated for positions on the UUCOB Board and committee chairs for next year.
  • Joan Liston has a leadership role with our Women’s Journey Group, communicates with our out-of-town members/former members, and helps coordinate our congregation’s efforts to provide care and comfort to those in need in our congregation.
  • Nellie Dixon has been very involved with UUCOB fund-raisers, coordinates our weekly orders of service, and stepped up to assist Treasurer Sandy Anderson for several months this past year.
  • Jennifer Gilbreath was instrumental in organizing several of our holiday services.
  • Christopher Nave is involved with seemingly every event, dedicated as a sexton, and generous in many ways (and I’m not just thinking about his Sunday morning cookies).
  • Nick Hodsdon dedicates many hours of his time to keep our UUCOB grounds looking attractive and Meetinghouse in an orderly fashion.

To these and all others who’ve volunteered their time and efforts to assist our congregation – Thank you!

Joe Heard, President

Treasurer

As I complete my third year as Treasurer of the UUCOB, I’ve had a very pleasant surprise.  Dave Feild, one of our congregation’s newest members, was appointed by the Board to serve as Co-Treasurer and assist with the bookkeeping duties, freeing me to focus on the day-to-day financial duties.  Dave will be a wonderful asset to our congregation as he has skills and experience from years of working with nonprofits.  I want to thank Vincent Berg and Nellie Dixon for stepping up to fill this role in the interim over the past year.  Your efforts were greatly appreciated!

I’m pleased to report that our FY 2017-18 pledge drive has been very successful.  Thanks to a few recent pledges and new members joining our congregation, we have exceeded our budgeted goal.  Fulfilling our budget goal will allow our congregation to provide a fair increase in the compensation for our minister and allow the congregation to build up a contingency fund for major building and grounds projects in future years.  Thanks to all our loyal supporters.

The past year has been successful financially for the UUCOB.  We’ve had very positive revenues generated by fulfillment of our pledges, other donations, rental revenue from our tenants, and fundraisers.  With no major building repair or unexpected expenses, our leadership and committees have kept spending well within the budget, leading to a successful financial year.

Our thanks to Finance Chair Sherrie Lemnios and all those who helped with organizing, preparing, and participating in fundraisers this past year.  We had a very active year of fundraising which generated almost $8,000 for our congregation, exceeding our budgeted goal of $7,000.

A copy of the UUCOB financial report through May 2017 will be distributed at the annual meeting.

Sandy Anderson, Treasurer

Program Committee

The program committee works alongside the minister with input from the Lay Leader and Music teams to develop a strong and diverse offering of program elements to provide stimulating Sunday Services each week for the congregation. A full range of topics, special and annual occasions, inter-generational services, and other elements of interest to the congregation are determined. From time to time suggestions are solicited from the congregation.

2016-17 has been a vibrant year at the UU. The program committee has been working to provide worship services that resonate, and we feel it’s paying off because our congregation is growing due to positive word of mouth in the community. This year, we welcomed twelve new members into the congregation, and we recognized eleven of those new members in person at our pledge drive launch.

This year, the program committee incorporated the use of themes for our services such as Hope, Unity, Power, Restoration, Families, and Truth, each with several thematic subsets to encourage variety and keep fresh topics coming.

“The Shared Pulpit” class that Rev. David offered in 2015-16 produced interesting presentations from members of the congregation who completed this class including sermons delivered by Nellie Dixon, Lola Davis Jones, Joan Liston, Nancy Byrne and two talks each by Bryan Jones and Rosemary Rawlins. This class has proven to be a good source of lay leader presentations, and may be offered again.

Many sermons this year have centered on issues brought to the forefront by the result of our Presidential election and what that has meant for our community and country. A few topics were: Recovering Patriotism, A Moral Revolution, A Place of Refuge (about sanctuary), Will the Center Hold, and a sermon by visiting Rev. Judith Dancy who changed her topic last minute to offer solace to the congregation right after the Presidential election since David had to be out of town.

With input from the Program Committee and minister, some elements of our weekly service have been changed this year, such as adding two candles to the joy and sorrows table to represent the concerns we all hold about the current leadership in our country and the harm many people face today. This has had the positive effect of limiting the joys and sorrows we share with each other to our personal ones, so we may remain informed and engaged in each other’s lives.

The committee has also refined our strategies for assigning lay leaders and musicians so we can spend less time on who’s doing what and more time talking about components of building our services. Our monthly meetings are dedicated to determining what works and what doesn’t work at each service. We review all service elements, feedback, and attendance, and we work to fix problems as quickly as possible.

As a committee, we have tried to schedule services as far out as possible to reduce confusion and last minute chaos in planning. This has generally been going a bit smoother. When we heard complaints that we were running out of Teal Hymnals, we ran a successful book drive and purchased and engraved twenty-five new hymnals for the church.

Two of the major technical issues we corrected this year include obtaining a large LCD TV to use for services and other events, and the purchase of a new photocopier to make the printing of the Order of Service handouts easier for sextons.

To enhance the family experience at the UU, the Program Committee has also recently begun putting out yellow floor cushions as a designated space for children, and several young ones have made use of them.

As our fiscal year winds down, we are focusing on where and how our congregation can aid local vulnerable communities and the Program Committee along with the congregation is working to determine where our efforts will be most impactful. We’ve held congregational conversations after church to discuss social justice activities like possibly working more closely with Mano al Hermano and the undocumented community since several people in the congregation volunteer for this organization. In addition, Rev. David is currently working on preparing a white supremacy teach-in with a group of helpers. There has also been an interest in providing an educational forum and possibly other support for the LGBTQ community.

Rev. Morris responded rapidly to events affecting the community this year; an example is the impromptu gathering he held after the election, so people had a place to safely express their anger or grief. We are grateful for his flexibility and willingness to jump in when needs arise.

Rose Clark & Rosemary Rawlins, Program Committee Co-Chairs

Program Committee Members:  Rev. David Morris, Nancy Byrne, Lola Davis Jones, Joan Liston, Dennis Tromba

Lay Leader Team: Sandy Anderson, Rose Clark, Lola Davis Jones, Nellie Dixon, Jennifer Gilbreath, Burnham Gould, Bryan Jones, Joan Liston, Gwen Taylor

Musical Director: Nancy Byrne

Buildings & Grounds Committee

In addition to the normal and routine mowing of grass and general upkeep, the B&G Committee has performed some other jobs this year.

  1. Heron Pond toilets were stopped up on a couple occasions. In the process of getting those clean and running we met Kenny Russell, a plumber who has been a very good find for us.  We will be using Kenny in the future.
  2. The security lights on either end of the front porch have been an ongoing problem. They were both replaced with new, more efficient LED lighting.
  3. We have contracted with Atlantic Sewage to pump the septic tank. No one could remember when it was done last.  June 5th is the magic day, as Heron Pond will be on break. This should be put on a regular schedule.
  4. We have contracted with Kitty Hawk Garden Center to redo the landscaping on the north side of the building facing Kitty Hawk Road. This work will be performed in June 2017.  The flower bed will be enlarged, and new plantings will be done.
  5. The brush in the drainage ditch was cut back and removed.
  6. The grass area next to the parking lot was filled and reseeded.
  7. Fill was added to the playground.
  8. The elevator was serviced.

Kent Zimmerman & Dennis Tromba, Building & Grounds Co-Chairs

Membership Committee

I’m pleased to report that our membership has grown to 54 members, the highest that its been in over a decade.  14 new members have joined the UUCOB during the past year – Doug Bates, Susan Bates, Rose Clark, Lindsay Dubbs, Cathy Field, Dave Field, Laurel Hendrix, Marja Jenkins, Caroline Johnston, Merry Mendelson, Vickie Moore, Susan Pfaff, Angelo Sonnesso, and Gail Sonnesso.  It’s wonderful to see the energy and vitality these members have added to our congregation.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of our steady group volunteering for Sexton duties – Sandy Anderson, Ellen Berg, Nancy Byrne, Rose Clark, Nellie Dixon, Cathie Field, Dave Field, Jennifer Gilbreath, Caroline Johnston, Joan Liston, Merry Mendelson, Christopher Nave, Rosemary Rawlins, Skyler Yan, and Kent Zimmerman, and Sara Zimmerman (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone).  Thank you all for your assistance on Sunday mornings!

We have seen an upward trend in attendance this past year, due to the efforts of our Program Committee and Minister David Morris to provide thoughtful, engaging services.  Attendance at Sunday morning services has grown steadily over the past year, from an average of approximately 30 attendees in July 2016 to an average of over 40 attendees during the recent months of March and April 2017.

To facilitate connections and communication among our congregation, we created a directory of UUCOB members and friends during the past year.

To welcome visitors, we installed a sign that says “Parking for First Time Visitor to UUCOB” placed at the head of a parking space near the front entrance.

Ellen Berg, Membership Chair

Pastoral Care Committee

During the past year, our committee has stayed in close touch to discuss the needs and concerns of our congregants.  We have delivered flowers to the sick, a member whose father passed away and sent multiple cards, often signed by the attending members of the congregation, for illnesses, close family deaths, and celebrations.  When long time members were moving to a condo in Norfolk, Dick Liston framed a photo of the church as a gift and a large cake was ordered to say good-bye.  Calls were made to people who were recovering from longer illnesses and at times meals were delivered and we solicited others to also contribute.

Christmas cards and more recently invitations to the 30th anniversary were sent to 25 former active members.

We have appreciated input from other congregants when there were needs to be met of which we were unaware and would ask for this to continue.

Joan Liston, Gwen Taylor & Sara Zimmerman, Pastoral Care Committee Members

Communications Committee

During the past year, the Communications Committee has worked on the following projects:

  • Compiled and emailed UUCOB weekly announcements.
  • Edited, produced and distributed the monthly UUCOB newsletter.
  • Sent other announcements as necessary.
  • Dick Liston and Christopher Nave posted information to the UUCOB website.
  • Jennifer Gilbreath updated information on the UUCOB calendar.
  • Christopher Nave and others were active in sharing information about UUCOB and UUCOB events on Facebook.
  • Updated membership and friends lists.

Kathy McMahan, Communications Committee Chair

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee has had a successful year.  With Nellie Dixon and Peggy Birkemeier leading the way with the new software program, we had a profitable Goods and Services Auction that ran very smoothly.  Additional fund raising events included the Chocolate Auction and three “Music at the Meetinghouse” concerts: (1) Ruth Wyand concert sponsored by the N.C. Humanities Council so that we could keep all the proceeds, (2) Riff Tides concert which was very popular; and (3) Mojo Collins concert paired with his Art Show Opening.  These events brought in $7,440 exceeding our fundraising goal by 6.3%.

The Pledge Drive, the main responsibility of the Finance Committee, was also a success, meeting our goal of $41,380 for pledges for FY 2017-18.  Sandy Anderson did a great job of distributing pledge materials and six long-time members of UUCOB gave testimonials during the services during the pledge drive.  The Preliminary Budget was presented to the congregation on April 23, the last day of the drive.

We are very pleased that new member, Dave Feild will complete the term of Assistant Treasurer to the end of FY 2018.  Dave has had a lot of experience in finance in non-profit organizations.

Sherrie Lemnios, Finance Chair
Committee Members: Sandy Anderson, Dave Feild & Bryan Jones

Technical Committee

It certainly was an interesting year on the technical front.  It was sort of like the Building & Grounds Committee’s challenges of a year ago, but without heat pumps.

We have replaced the EFL bulbs in the sanctuary ceiling fixtures with LED lamps.  It has reduced glare to some extent, and the LED lamps are even more energy efficient and have a warranty that runs until I’m 96.  So, someone else will replace them next time.

The computer we have been using, courtesy of Laura Gilson, finally stopped being really usable.  We replaced it with a laptop with a current operating system that is also usable when we have auctions and other events.  It is hooked up to the main printer, as our old HP printer went to that big recycle in the sky.

We have a newer sound system.  I purchased it from a church that was upgrading theirs.  It is more versatile than our old one, and doesn’t hum as the old one did.  There has been a learning curve, but I think we have a handle on it.

It’s possible you have noticed the video screen in the northeast corner of the sanctuary.  We have started using it within services, and I expect we will find other uses for it as we become more accustomed to having it here.  It certainly beats the heck out of the projector and screen.

We have also replaced the copier/scanner/printer with a higher speed, easier to use, black and white laser model.  The old printer was getting cranky and difficult, not unlike myself.  It has been explained to me that the instructions are not clear – or at least literal – enough.  This brings us to Future Endeavors.

1) We will be adding a dimmer to the six LED lights that are currently on/off only, so we can regulate them in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, particularly for events.
2) We will be tidying up the cables to the video screen and covering them to make them more pleasing also.
3) The wifi connection between the minister’s office and the treasurer’s office often acts as though someone placed lead shielding between them.  This appears not to be the case – I’ve checked –  so we will be placing an extender into the system for better communications.
4) The wireless microphone problems will be fixed, if it requires the intervention of Guglielmo Marconi himself. (He would ask: “Cosa diavolo è il tuo problema?”)

So, audio systems, video, computer, wifi system, lighting, copier – piece of cake, that.

Bryan Jones, Vice-President

Art Exhibits

We have had a wide variety of art exhibits this past year.  We started out with a showing of work created by the clients of GEM in several mediums and some of the teachers art also.  Next we had Linda Lauby, photographer, restaurant designer, publisher and all-around creative person, show her unusual abstract photographs made by layering many images.   She was followed by Yen Fine who exhibited her exquisite paintings in watercolor and oil.

We had a first ever art show and concert combined by Mojo Collins, local music legend.  His beautiful paintings on found wood are a new endeavor for him and his concert was well-received.  In March, Jane Manolas exhibited her photographs which were excellent especially for a high school student.  April brought back a sampling of quilts made by the Linus Quilt Project.  These quilts will go to children who are in the custody of Social Services or who are ill.  The current show consists of the combined work of Jerry Pontes and the other local artists who share studio space in a working gallery in Kill Devil Hills.

Sherrie Lemnios & Gwen Taylor, Art Show Committee

UUCOB Budget (Proposed)

Please see the UUCOB Annual Report 2016-17 6-11-17 pdf for a properly formatted view.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE SLATE

(For Consideration by the UUCOB Congregation on June 11, 2017)
*The following persons are nominated for the terms beginning July 1, 2017.

 

POSITION TERM NAME
President 2017-2019 * Jennifer Gilbreath
Vice President 2016-2018 Bryan Jones
Secretary 2017-2019 * Merry Mendelson
Co-Treasurer 2016-2018 Sandy Anderson
Co-Treasurer 2016-2018 Dave Feild
     
STANDING COMMITEES    
Membership Chair 2017-2019 * Christopher Nave
Finance Chair 2016-2018 Sherrie Lemnios
Buildings & Grounds Co-Chair 2016-2018 Kent Zimmerman
Buildings & Grounds Co-Chair 2016-2018 Dennis Tromba
Communications Chair 2017-2019 * Kathy McMahan
Programs Co-Chair 2016-2018 Rose Clark
Programs Co-Chair 2016-2018 Rosemary Rawlins
     
CONGREGATIONAL COMMITTEES    
Nominating Committee 2016-2018 Pat Smrdel
Nominating Committee 2017-2019 * Joe Heard
Audit Committee 2016-2018 Bernie Gould
Audit Committee 2017-2019 * Kent Zimmerman
Committee on Ministry 2015-2018 Kent Zimmerman
Committee on Ministry 2016-2019 Lola Davis-Jones
Committee on Ministry 2017-2020 * Nellie Dixon

Submitted by the Nominating Committee:
Rose Clark, Pat Smrdel, and Sherrie Lemnios