Taking Care of UUCA: Building and Grounds

We take advantage of summertime when there are fewer people on campus to do lots of repairing and sprucing up around the campus. Since you’re all owners of this place, I’d like to report the following accomplishments this summer:
  • Independent heating/cooling units in the nursery, Rev. Claudia’s office, and the admin office were replaced.  ($5600)
  • Three ash trees were infested with the emerald ash borer.  Two were taken down, one was trimmed and treated. ($2400)
  • Mold remediation in 21 Edwin basement. Will be purchasing a new commercial dehumidifier for that space. ($1500 for remediation, $1000 for dehumidifier)
  • Spot-cleaning of carpets in Sandburg Hall and 21 Edwin (shared with Friends of Mine Preschool).  ($150)
  • Painting Rev. Claudia’s and Rev. Mark’s offices and adjoining hallway.  ($600)
  • Wall-mounted 3 donated TVs in 21 Edwin classrooms. ($120)
  • Wall lights were added in RE Commons. ($450)
It’s also true that things keep breaking, all year long, even in the summer.  We have a fabulous group of Building Managers who are our first line of defense on many of these things.  Occasionally items escalate to professionals, but I can always count on the Building Managers to check things out.  Our Building Managers are: Ian Fischer, Dena Gettleman, Clyde Hardin, Larry Holt, John McGrann, Tony Reed, Bob Roepnack, and Glenn White.  
All of these things (one is not done) are back in working order (or have been replaced):
  • An electrical wire going from a breaker to an RE classroom was compromised, probably by water.  This line ran under the foundation slab of the main building so a new line had to be run through the drop-ceiling space. (no estimate yet–this one will be tackled next week)
  • Lock repair for exterior entry door in the foyer.  ($150)
  • One of the motorized shades in the Sanctuary couldn’t be closed.  ($60)
  • Half of the performance lights in the Sanctuary stopped working.  ($300)
  • The main office computer server partially failed.  ($400)
  • Light bulbs burn out and a lot of little things break.  (Love those Building Managers!)
  • Our folding machine gave up.  ($2000)
Remember at the Annual Meeting (and it doesn’t actually matter which one) when I referred to an extremely minimal fund for “capital” repair and maintenance projects?  Those are projects that cost us more than $500 and improve or save the value of the place. That $60,000 we spent on the new Sandburg Hall roof is an example. So are the heating/cooling units, the mold remediation, the new dehumidifier, and the painting.  We set aside a measly $10,000 each year for these kind of expenditures (note we’ve spent $8700 already not counting the roof), and as soon as that is spent out (and it happens every year) we start drawing from our Contingency Fund (which is how we paid for the roof).  So far we’ve been lucky the source of funding for the Contingency Fund (25% of bequests) has been adequate to pay these expenses, but it’s not a good way to do business.  Especially since the Contingency Fund is technically a reserve fund that should be used to cover 2 or 3 months of full operating expenses in an emergency situation.  None of this is news, but since we haven’t solved the problem yet, figured it was time to name it again.
Mostly the takeaways are 1) we do a lot of caretaking of our campus, 2) we are underfunded for that, and 3)our Building Managers save us money every year by supplying volunteer expertise and labor. 
Linda M. Topp, Ph.D., CCA
Director of Administration

Coming Soon…Wednesday Thing 2.0

As I drove to the office this morning in 60-degree weather, windows rolled down, sun streaming through the tree-lined streets of the roads that lead to UUCA, I felt tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to live in the mountains and for the warm welcome I have received in my new role as Minister of Faith Development. Thank you!

My areas of focus are pastoral care, all-ages faith development, and worship (mainly Wednesday Thing). I have been meeting with the various committees and individuals involved in these areas since I started my work with you August 1.

This week I’ve been working with the planning team for the Wednesday Thing, which launches September 12. All are welcome to share a meal, worship together and participate in faith development. You are encouraged to bring the family, bring a friend and bring an open mind for an evening of connecting, reflecting, learning and fun for all ages. I had the opportunity to attend a vespers service during one of my visits and was excited to experience a service that welcomed children, was brief, and yet provided spiritual nourishment midweek. When applying for the job to serve this congregation, this program intrigued me. I look forward to working with the planning team and other volunteers to make this one of the “must do” faith-development, community-building activities at UUCA.

In order to build community and welcome newcomers, it is important that programs be open to all. UUCA committee meetings and closed groups like Covenant Groups will not gather during Wednesday Thing. You are invited, instead, to join in midweek worship, fellowship, and learning. This year’s schedule includes familiar programs such as Ted Talks with Bill Clontz, Multigenerational Choir, Peacemakers and Drop-In Theme Groups as well as new programs: UU History 101, Caring Community Conversations, The Better World Handbook Study Group and Odyssey (a monthly gathering to honor the life journey of one of our elders. Details coming).

Our schedule this year will be: Dinner 5:30-6:20; Vespers 6:30- 6:50; Programming 7:00-8:00 PM. We’ve built in time between activities for clean-up and transition. We are still working on this year’s calendar and welcome your ideas! Please contact me or a member of the planning team (Kim Collins, Linda Topp, and Jeff Jones) if you 1) have an idea for a program, 2) would like to lead vespers or join the planning team, 3) are part of a group interested in hosting a program, or 4) have questions about the program.

See yoUU September 12 at Wednesday Thing!

Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

Membership: New Ideas, New Volunteers

Last year, when we re-imagined our paid staff and decided to create the position of Minister of Faith Development (hi Rev. Claudia!), I was assigned supervision of our membership programs. As Rev. Lisa and I discussed before her departure, we needed to decrease the amount of staff time that we devote in welcoming and nurturing our newcomers while also giving them more opportunities to connect and learn before they decide to become a member.

Venny Zachritz, our 15-hours-per-week Connections Coordinator, and I have been working on that this summer and have a plan. Now all we need are volunteers from our congregation to join in to help make it happen.

Here’s the plan: We want newcomers to get more information about UUCA sooner than was happening with just 3 Beginning Points classes per year. Instead of that, we will offer a monthly “class” for newcomers every 3rd Sunday after both services. We want newcomers to be way more connected to UUCA BEFORE they join. That’s why we suggest that they participate in a wide variety of programs before they attend one of the three Membership Classes we will offer each year (formerly called Connecting Points).

In between the Intro session and the Membership Class, we want our newcomers to experience UUCA. We want them to attend at least four worship services, try to get to a Wednesday Thing, participate in two theme group sessions, take a campus tour, attend one or more Newcomer Potlucks, give their time and talents to UUCA, and generally put themselves in situations to meet fellow UUCAers. (By the way, these are all things that committed members of UUCA do on a more or less regular basis!)

To help our newcomers find these offerings, we tell them to READ THE WEEKLY ENEWS! and we assign them a Connector. Our Connectors will meet with these newcomers, find out what they’re looking for by joining UUCA, and guide them along their way.

Here’s the volunteer help we need:

  • Session leaders to meet with any interested folks at the Intro to UUCA for Newcomers classes on third Sundays following both services.
  • Theme group leaders AND covenant group leaders.
  • Tour guides to provide campus tours on 4th Sundays after services.
  • Office computer help to enter data, send out emails and create nametags.
  • Potluck organizers.
  • Membership class organizers/food helpers.

Please let me or Venny know how you can help!

Linda Topp, Director of Administration