Present: Bob Waterman, Rev. Sarah Person, Lois Aldrich, Jim Bonnar, Marc MacQueen, Katie Allen, Nicole Sykes
Guest: Kelly Lownds
Rev. Sarah forwarded the Minister’s Report to the PC.
- In-person Church attendance has been lower than expected but is in line with attendance at other local UUs. Other Churches continue to require masks and offer virtual worship services.
- Rev. Sarah reported that Pastoral Care and Parish Care volunteers (Sue Curtiss, Mal Marvill, Dave Kraemer, and Sue St. Germain) continue to do excellent work for our Church community. Increase in folks undergoing surgery is noted. Will need to plan for clerical coverage as well as the mechanics of offering pastoral care and demand for discretionary funds during ministerial transition period.
- Rev. Sarah reported that the Church has received most of its new lighting equipment. Rev. Sarah expressed concern with the size of some of the lighting and demonstrated one such unit to the PC. Concern is that some portion may be visible to congregants and may impact vision. Lights are LED and adjustable. Rev. Sarah to follow up with Steve Larrett regarding concerns.
- Demand for fuel assistance from the Discretionary Fund has been lower than expected. This could be due to continued availability of state funds.
Marc MacQueen reported that income from pledges is about $14,000 less than it should be for this time of year, and expenses appear to be where they should be for this time of year.
Jim Bonnar reminded the PC that the quarterly financial report is due at the end of March, and the budget report to the congregation should occur in April. The PC needs to make a recommendation to the congregation on how we will fund new/interim minister (part time or full time?). A Warrant will be needed, as the congregation will need to vote on this matter. The proposed date to make the recommendation and present it at the congregation meeting is April 10. The Warrant will need to be issued by March 27. Bob will assist Jim in writing up the Warrant.
Marc reported that we will be losing a number of pledges this year due to changes in circumstances for some long-standing members. Currently there are 20 pledges outstanding, though there are still 2 weeks left for the Pledge Drive. So far, there have been no major increases in pledges this year. Jim stated that we need to know what we have in pledges by the end of this month in order to plan for the minister transition.
Katie Allen forwarded the Music Director’s Report to the PC.
- There continue to be 13-14 singers in rehearsals, and it is anticipated this number will increase as weather improves.
- Susan Hotchkiss has been keeping a watch on COVID guideline updates from the University of Colorado Performing Arts Aerosol Studies. Masks are still recommended for choirs, distancing of 3 feet is now recommended, and good ventilation is important.
- WORSHIPcast License has been renewed, which allows Church to stream and post online.
- Report on committee’s expenses are included in the Director’s Report and are lower than usual.
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Kelly Lownds provided a report on RE activities.
- Coming of Age program continues with the junior youth group on the 2nd Sunday of the month, and the senior and junior youth groups are meeting in person on the 4th Sunday of the month. An overnight is planned in April. Coming of Age Parent Group meets 1 time a month. Parent Coffee Hour is the 2nd Sunday of each month.
- RE gathered and donated children’s clothing to Middleboro schools.
- February outdoor activity included a walk in Massasoit State Park. Trip to the zoo is planned for April.
- RE planning to have monthly craft club for younger children.
- RE will be planting 160 marigolds in painted pots in celebration of spring.
- RE may participate at April 2 Sip and Stroll.
- Staff continue to look at ways to outreach to more families.
- Kelly gave a presentation on Secondary Traumatic Stress at the March meeting of MAAC, which was very well received.
Social Justice Team
Natalie Johnson provided the PC with a report on the SJT activities.
- The Team welcomes new members Bob Waterman, Bill Howe, Chris Hoyle, and Lois Aldrich
- Deanne Bonnar provided a report on the NAACP Board meeting that she and Dody Adkins-Perry attended. This is an exciting opportunity for the SJT.
- Another opportunity for the SJT is the Bridgewater Communities for Civil Rights (BCCR). Some members of the SJT are now on the BCCR mailing list and will receive notices of meetings and activities.
- Possibility of PRIDE event sponsored by Battistini Bakery is being explored.
- Discussion of the Church’s new website (fantastic!) and possibility of having an SJT page to post news and events.
- Next SJT meeting is March 24 at 4:30 via ZOOM.
- As of today, still awaiting news on Lauren Haugh’s delivery. Lauren is hoping to resume participation in the SJT in the fall.
- Discussion on revisiting team’s charter, with Bob Waterman’s assistance.
- Status of SJT discussion on adding 8th principle?
Search for Interim Minister
Search Committee – The plan is to contact people in the congregation who may be interested and available to participate on a Search Committee for the new minister.
Bylaw Concerning Financial Contributions
To be a voting member of the Church, our Bylaws require that members contribute financially to the Church. Marc expressed concern that a few members, who love the church and have been contributors, can no longer contribute due to significant changes in their circumstances. Is there some way these members can continue being members? Bob Waterman clarified that “contribute financially” does not necessarily mean a pledge commitment but can include any financial contribution that supports the Church (buying event tickets, etc.). A member of the Congregation has made a generous donation to help with this.
Rev. Sarah suggested that going forward, the Church may want to consider a way to track those who contribute to fundraisers but do not pledge.
Vacancies and Committee Work
The Membership Committee needs to be re-invigorated as we emerge from then pandemic as a few members have moved on to other commitments. Now that the Church is re-opening, there is also a need for greeters. Bob Waterman suggested that the Worship Team be revisited, especially with the upcoming ministerial changes.
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Cash in the Plate
March – Aid for Ukraine; April – Native Land Conservancy
The windows on the Nickerson Ave. side are either broken or do not open. Susan Hotchkiss requested that the PC consider replacing those windows with functioning double pane windows, especially given the need for good ventilation in the Church due to COVID. Rev. Sarah, Alan Melchior, and Marc Macqueen will speak with Sue Sherman regarding the situation.
Reopening and Changes to COVID Guidelines
It was noted that a very small number of people have been signing up to attend Church in person. Given the lower COVID numbers, the PC agreed that it would be appropriate to relax social distancing requirements as well as requirements to sign up to attend Church in advance. Attendees will still be required to be vaccinated and to wear masks, but social distancing will be reduced from 6 feet to 3 feet (similar to the Choir’s changes). Seating signs will be removed, and attendees can decide where to sit, keeping in mind then social distance of 3 feet. Jim Bonnar will check to see if attendees can sing instead of hum (with masks on). Bob Waterman will write up the changes to the COVID guidelines and post in the UU Updates. Dan Hotchkiss will announce this at the service this Sunday. These changes will go into effect beginning Sunday, March 27.
Food at CUUPS Meeting
CUUPS will be holding an event at the Church and is requesting PC approval to bring their own food (not use kitchen). They will be responsible for cleanup, disinfecting, etc. The PC approved the request.
Small Group Time for People in Sanctuary
Choir members expressed concern that, when separated into groups after the service, it is difficult for people in the sanctuary to hear participants in small groups on ZOOM. It was agreed that people in the sanctuary can meet together.
Bob Waterman reported that a fundraising meeting was held on 3/12/22. Possible future fundraising events include:
- Sip and Stroll (an annual Middleboro event) on April 2, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. The Church could act as a “rest stop station” for attendees, with tables and chairs set up, doggie stations, crafts, etc. with RE involved. Good potential for outreach.
- 2nd Road Rally will be on May 14 (John Mullen).
- Spring Service Auction will be held at the end of April. Discussion whether or not auction would be in person, virtual, or hybrid. Bob mentioned that using the auction software has been highly successful and encouraged competition, and he recommends we continue using the software.
Fiscal Agent for Sustainable Middleboro
Alan Melchior, Bob Waterman, and Marc Macqueen put together documents. The PC members okayed moving forward with this.
An event is being planned for June 11, 2022. A member of the PC proposed, and the PC agreed, to recommend to the Congregation that Rev. Sarah be granted the honorary designation of Minister Emerita.
Next PC Check In Meeting – March 30 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the plan for minister transition and the quarterly congregational meeting.
Next PC Monthly Meeting – April 19 at 6:30 p.m.