Category: Governance and Organizational

News and reports from the Board of Trustees, Board Committees (Finance, HR, etc.), Program Coordinating Council, Fundraising and other groups concerned about the organizational running of UCV.

Outreach Opportunity Fund Nominations

Every year, the OOF Committee selects three recipients to be given 25% of the funds from the Sunday collection. The Committee would welcome nominations from individuals or a group in the congregation for the next recipient of OOF funding. Nominated organizations must comply with the selection criteria: priority is given to local organizations undertaking social justice, refugee support and settlement and environment sustainability, with a focus on vulnerable or marginalized communities. For more information go the UCV website, or check the notice board in Hewett Hall for nomination forms.

Please click below to fill in form.

OOF Nomination form

You can submit the form to Melody Mason or leave it in the OOF mail box in the UCV office.

Contact Melody Mason with any queries.

“What Do We Call Ourselves?” Task Force

It seems it’s time for our Beloved Community to openly discuss how we see ourselves and what we want to be called.  Do we want to continue being known as a Church or would our principles and values be better represented by a broader descriptor like “Congregation,” or “Community” or something else.  Two forums are scheduled for September 29th and October 20th. We will also provide a survey opportunity as we want to hear from everyone.  A formal vote will then happen sometime in the future.

Comments or questions about the task force? Contact Sheila.

Here are comments from other congregations about congregational names.

What do we call ourselves – Some CUC leader views 20190911v3

Do you have an idea for a new group? Let’s make it happen!

We know it’s hard to get to know people on Sunday mornings. There are so many of us. And as is often said: There’s a lot that goes on around here.

UCV has lots of small groups where people get to know each other more easily. Some once formed are then closed. Others are drop-in. Several people are initiating new groups starting in September.

And perhaps YOU too have an idea of a group to get like-minded people together?

Sheila R. and Mary Bennett as the Connect and Engage team would like to support and encourage you if you do.

We can help you find the right committee to sponsor your group; learn how to book space and advertise.

We may do a forum in late August or early September if enough people want to learn all the how-to’s (and perhaps some what-not-to-dos) of running groups at UCV.

Interested? Please do say hello on Sunday morning or send us an email to ucvconnect@gmail.com

And of course, there may already be a small group that you’d be interested in – so check here.

Here are some good ideas for starting new groups:

https://www.uua.org/interconnections/192406.shtml

Learn more about serving on our UCV board

Nominating Committee update:

The nominating committee could use your help as we enter our new program year. We need to find at least six, possibly seven, people for our board before the November AGM.

We hope you have had a refreshing summer and are filled with enthusiasm, possibly with some sadness, but also with lots of optimistic curiosity and commitment as we enter this year of change(s) and growth for all of us.

Please seriously consider taking on a role in one of the three executive positions available or as a member at large. We will be phoning as many of you as we can until we find the important volunteers for the management of our self-governed community. We would rather not potentially miss people who know in their heart it is their time to take a turn on the board or have questions about the different roles or amount and kind of commitment necessary, so please don’t wait for a call but reach out directly to the committee via my contact information below!

It is a rich experience being a part of the board, understanding what it takes to keep this congregation functioning and thriving. It may seem overwhelming to take on that role, and we understand many of you are already doing important work with our many vital committees, but I hope you will consider it and also talk with your friends who you feel would be an important addition to the board. Orientation and mutual support available!
Thanks for giving this plea serious consideration.

Marg Fletcher, 778-772-1120, mfletcher508@gmail.com

Can we penetrate the darkness?

The featured image for this posting is the detail of a drawing titled “Many suns cannot penetrate the darkness” created in 1989 by the late long time Vancouver Unitarian member Daphne Naegele. Now, 30 years after Daphne created this image and posed this question, we are still faced with it — can Unitarian Universalism help penetrate the darkness? Part of the answer to this question resides in our capacity to sustain ourselves financially. To examine our options, the UCV board has created a task force to examine the many facets of this question over the summer and fall. Get in touch with Sheila Resels or Keith WIlkinson if you’d like to be part of this discussion.

The UCV Board established a Financial Sustainability Task Force (FSTF) in July 2019. The purpose of the Task Force is to review and strengthen the financial sustainability of the Vancouver Unitarian congregation in the face of reduced levels of pledging, possibly static membership growth, and the general decline of religious community across North America over recent decades.

The Task Force includes the following working groups and teams:

  1. Membership Growth Team
  2. Member Generosity Team (which includes the Canvass Committee)
  3. Legacy Team
  4. Space Use Team
  5. Transition Team
  6. Site Development Team
  7. Investments Committee
  8. Fundraising Events Team
  9. Risk Review Team
  10. Marketing/Fundraiser Initiative Team
  11. UCV Internal Funds Review Initiative
  12. UCV (ad hoc) Budget Committee
  13. Other working groups/teams approved by the Board.

These groups and teams are relatively self-directed and are guided by the recent working document UCV Financial Sustainability Matrix. The working groups and teams are expected to prepare reports in time for the board and the congregation to discuss them well in advance of the 2019 AGM scheduled for late fall 2019 when a vote of the membership regarding possible site redevelopment is anticipated.

For further information, or to provide support to some of these working groups, please contact one of the co-chairs of the Financial Sustainability Task Force (FSTF):

Highlights of the Extraordinary General Meeting (aka budget meeting) June 23, 2019

We had a great turn out for the June 23rd budget meeting – 88 members held voting cards, and interested UCV friends filled Hewett Centre Hall.

Business items

Lay Chaplains

Our three lay chaplains were renewed. Laureen Stokes, Cheryl Amundsen and Louise Bunn are trained to conduct weddings, celebrations of life, and other rituals of life transitions on behalf of UCV.

Love Soup

Our dedicated team of volunteers who warm our hearts and stomachs with monthly “Love Soup” offerings from September – June were acknowledged for their combined contribution of $3,756. Of course, a special thanks to Amy Megumi Anderson, the bundle of energy that keeps Love Soup organized.

Budget

The budget of $607,436 was approved (with one abstention). At present, we have identified $537,390 in revenue, so additional fund raising will be required to meet the expenses to run all of the wonderful programs at UCV.

Possible Site Development

Michael Clague, Gordon Gram, and Marg Fletcher reported on the progress of Phase 2 of the redevelopment plans. The full report is expected in time for the AGM which will be held in November 2019, at which time members will vote whether or not to proceed to a Phase 3 business plan. Phase 2 is to provide more accurate financial forecasts and to assess zoning requirements, and explore possibilities of grants which might be available Federally, Provincially, or through the City. In order to forecast costs and feasibility, more detailed plans were required and were on view for the meeting.

Related documents:

Circle of Concern

Rob Dainow reported on conversations held at meetings that have come to be called the Circle of Concern. The top identified concerns were around issues such as timing (during ministerial transition), existential threats (includes keeping the community together during construction) and vision. Click here for details.

A series of congregational meetings are planned starting in September that will alternate between progress reports on Phase 2 and the Circle of Concern group, so UCV members and friends will have ample opportunity to receive information and have their voices heard leading up to the November AGM.

Refugee Sponsorship

Huguette Sansonnet Hayden reported on our plans for sponsoring new refugee families, and shared some success stories of our settled sponsored families.

Ministerial Transition

Léonie Armstrong reported on updates to the plans for the period of ministerial transition. The Board will apply for a two-year interim minister, and during that time, a search committee will be formed to find our next settled minister.

Redevelopment? Circle of Concerns Workshop

About 40-45 people attended the Circle of Concerns Workshop after the service on May 2, 2019 to share and explore their questions and concerns about the current UCV site redevelopment project.

This workshop was a followup event to the March 31 Listening Circle forum where at least 35 congregants gathered to share their questions and concerns. Issues raised at this fell into eight categories. There was considerable support at the forum for a followup workshop to extend this conversation to include more congregants and to explore the concerns and issues in more depth. (See http://tinyurl.com/y65th8hn for more information about the Listening Circle event; you can find the 3-page report from that meeting here: Mar31 Sharing Circle report.

The May 2 Circle of Concerns Workshop is the followup to the March 31 Listening Circle forum.
The intent of all these activities is bring new voices to the redevelopment conversation. There is no intent or desire to create divisions or dissensions; on the contrary, we believe that we will make better decisions when we include all voices.

Here is a summary of the notes from the Circle of Concerns Workshop. (You can get an electronic copy of the full notes here: May 26 Circle of Concern minutes.)

Top 3 concerns

Participants at the Circle of Concerns Workshop identified their top 3 areas of concern from the 8 categories identified in the March 31 Listening Circle forum, with these results:

Concern

Weighted votes

Timing

59

Existential Threats

53

Vision

41

Ability to Complete

15

Site redevelopment

14

Affordable housing

13

During construction

9

Design elements

2

No concerns

0

 

Groups were formed to discuss the top 3 concerns.
Here are some selected comments from these discussions:

Timing

  • The combination of an interim minister and temporary meeting places in trailers will lead to losing congregants and it will harder to attract new people. It will be very hard to maintain our regular activities and social events. The timing sucks!
  • Everyone in this group felt very strongly that it is essential to have the new settled minister in place before undertaking redevelopment. It will be a recipe for disaster if we do not have strong leadership.
  • We will limit the number and perhaps quality of ministerial candidates if a redevelopment project is a front issue for the new minister. It will be a threat to the very existence of the church if we cannot get a satisfactory new minister.
  • Proceeding with redevelopment under these circumstances can create a lot of stress and can lead to an antagonistic, divisive, destructive atmosphere.
  • We should not see our current exploration of redevelopment as a failure if we do not proceed with it.

Vision

  • The vision is the base – we should start with a vision.
  • We need a formal statement of how this project will exemplify our UU values.
  • A compelling vision would have housing affordability and environmental concerns built in; the current design doesn’t reflect our ideals because the social and environmental benefits are modest.
  • We have a chance to make an architectural statement; need more imagination – invite artists and architects to come talk to us.
  • Landlording is a nightmare – and UCV would be at least indirectly in that role. Would we trust a management company to go by our values? Where do we stand in a tenant-landlord issue? How much would we intervene? How much Board involvement would there be?

Existential Threats

  • Do we have the volunteer capacity to carry out this project?
  • How will we get new members during the construction period (2-3 years)?
  • Will our younger congregants be able to sustain this project financially?
  • How do we continue ‘doing church’ during construction (2-3 years)?
  • We are muddling through financially and are kind of sustainable now, so may be wiser to not launch a redevelopment project now, but to instead focus on growing our membership.

How would you vote today?

Workshop participants were asked during the last part of the workshop to indicate on a spectrum of choices what their position is today with regard to the redevelopment project. The following table summarizes their responses.

No.

%

1*

1%

Will likely approve redevelopment project as is or with minor changes.
Will approve only if (check any and all that apply)

13

18%

It is clear that the project fits our values and vision.

13

18%

The project is delayed until we have a new settled minister.

9

13%

Environmental considerations are given higher priority.

8

11%

The design of the building is significantly changed.

8

11%

Can stay on campus and use sanctuary during construction (acceptable washrooms).

4

6%

Possible to create truly affordable housing and still have significant return to UCV.

4

6%

Members step u to volunteer to liaise with developers.

4

6%

Other methods to improve finances are unsuccessful.

2

3%

Hewett Hall is not destroyed. The new building is built elsewhere on campus.

6

8%

Will almost certainly not approve.

72

101%

* maybe

Next steps

  • Hold an open meeting monthly, with chairs in a circle to encourage equal participation.
  • Get input from others who have done similar projects.
  • Who would live here? Survey Vancouver Unitarians to see how many would rent or buy (co-housing)?

UCV Demographics and Pledge Potential (DAPP) Report 2019

Executive Summary

In late 2018 the UCV Board asked interested volunteers to work together to provide some commentary on UCV’s demographics and pledge potential in the context of 2018-19 site development studies led by Michael Clague and Gordon Gram. Over the December 2018 to March 2019 period, a small group examined selected membership data provided by staff and began to examine other web-based resources on demographics and religious organizational trends. The resulting report provides a first analysis of data gathered and makes recommendations for the future.

Findings

  • Donations to UCV averaged $467,186 per year over the past decade excluding bequests but including capital donations. Annual variations have been sizeable. With inflation considered, the total value of donations has declined over the decade.
  • 21 bequests totaling approximately $132,000 were made to UCV over the past decade. The value varied widely year to year as did the size of the individual bequests.
  • Donations increased substantially at times when major capital improvements were being made.
  • The median donation in 2018 was $500 and the average donation was $1,041. Donations in 2018 were the lowest in a decade, totaling $375,734. However, this amount did exceed the $330,000 planned for achieving a balanced budget. A balanced budget also relied on rental and investment revenue. [**See note at bottom of page regarding 2019.]
  • A small number of donors have contributed most to the finances of UCV over the decade. In 2018 forty-two donors (12%) donated 50% of the funds and 319 donors (88%) donated the other 50%.
  • In 2018 the ten top donors (3%) donated 24% of all donations.
  • The ten top donors in 2018 were resident in eight different postal code regions of Metro Vancouver. Three of these resided in Point Grey. The others were, in alphabetical order: Dunbar-Southlands, Hillcrest, Kitsilano, New Westminster, Sunshine Coast, Victoria-Fraserview, and West End.
  • Postal codes were available for 99% of donors. Dates of birth were available for only 18% of donors.
  • Unitarian Universalist congregational membership declined approximately 21% in the USA and 19% in Canada over the period 2005-2015.

Recommendations for UCV

  1. Re-establish and animate a Legacy or Planned Giving Committee to help ensure that UCV members are giving consideration to recognizing UCV in their wills and in annual pledging. Bequests have been a significant source of funding for UCV and could grow as members of UCV age and die. Generous annual pledging is the heart of the church’s financial support.
  2. Give moderately high priority to adding birthdates to the church membership database (Breeze) to facilitate future planning for age-based services, donor planning, and ministerial transition.
  3. Continue to participate, animate, support, and celebrate the work of all Committees and Groups to foster a healthy and generous congregation. Membership and participation matter.
  4. Continue to call highly skilled professional ministers and religious educators. Churches in Canada with this feature seem to do better than those without.
  5. Thank our most generous donors.
  6. Consider asking generous donors to project their capacity to support the church in the future.

See the full 9-page report here: UCV Demographic and Pledge Potential Report – 20190308 Rev A

A site development report providing business plan options and other issues identified to date was distributed at a UCV Forum on 8 May 2019 and afterwards in the church. PDF copies of this report can be obtained by email from Gordon Gram (gordongram@me.com) or Michael Clague (Michael@clagueconsultants.com).

A group of congregants interested in discussing issues related to site development met as a Circle of Concern on 1 Mar 2019 and identified a number of areas needing further consideration. These issues of concern are summarized on this website here. Another forum for discussion of all three of these reports (Circle of Concern, Site Development, and Demographics and Pledge Potential) has been scheduled by the Circle of Concern for 12:30 – 2:30 pm, Sunday 26 May 2019 in the Fireside Room.

—————–

** As of mid May 2019, the average pledge by members and friends of UCV for 2019 was $2,023 per pledging unit (family or individual), and the median (middle point) pledge was $1,500 per pledging unit. Historically, pledge values have been slightly lower than actual donations. The church also has many “casual donors” who receive tax receipts for small donations. This partly accounts for the difference in value of 2019 median pledges and the 2018 median donations.

REDEVELOPMENT?? Update and next step

 

A small group of congregants who felt that their views, and perhaps the views of other congregants, were not clearly reflected in the current UCV redevelopment process and plans met together on March 1 to share their questions and concerns. They identified over 15 concerns and wondered how many others in the congregation had similar questions or concerns. The result was the Listening Circle forum after the March 31 service.

At least thirty-five people attended this Listening Circle forum. Some oppose the redevelopment project, but most are undecided and have some concerns or ambivalence about the current redevelopment project and process. At least five did not express any concerns about the project and several expressed confidence in the current redevelopment process and the redevelopment team.

The 3 page report from this Sharing Circle, based on the flipchart notes from the forum, identified eight categories of concerns that meeting participants shared. This report was presented first to the Board and then to the Redevelopment Committee. It is now being shared with the full congregation. You can get an electronic copy here [Mar31 Sharing Circle report], or a printed copy in the foyer of the sanctuary at Sunday services on May 12, 19, or 26, or in the office.

There was considerable support at the March 31 forum for a followup workshop to extend this conversation to include more congregants and to explore the concerns and issues in more depth. The Board supports this followup workshop.

Please join us in the Fireside room on Sunday, May 26 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm at a Site Redevelopment Circle of Concern Workshop to share any issues or concerns you have about the current redevelopment project and process and to explore these issues and concerns in more depth. If you cannot attend on May 26 but still want to be heard, please send your comments to Rob Dainow at rdainow@gmail.com or (604) 523-0123.

Recognition of new members

Sunday April 14, 2019 we will welcome our newest members into the congregation during the Sunday service.  We are so glad to be on the road together as part of the Unitarian family!  Congratulations and warmest welcome.