June Update from the Board of Trustees

Moderator Randy Russell is on vacation but the Board nonetheless wanted to provide this update on important activities from the last month.  First Unitarian ended its traditional “high season” of two-service Sundays and full educational activities for children and youth on June 11 with Community Sunday and the lovely flower communion.  We hope all involved with the Church will be able to relax a bit and enjoy the summer services led by our Intern Minister T.J. Fitzgerald.  Certainly, the weeks leading up to summer were, by no means, a “wind down”.

The Church concluded its annual ballot election on May 21.  With 444 ballots submitted, members elected the the slate of of Dana Buhl, Amy Norcom, and Steve Storla to our Church’s Nominating Committee.  Members also elected, for the Board of Trustees, the slate of Alan Comnes, Kathy Ludlow, Theo Harper, Randy Russell, and Andy Parker; and, for Board of Stewards of the First Unitarian Church of Portland Foundation, the slate of Harriet Dennison and Dev Dion. Also approved was the Church’s 2017-2018 budget.

The full Board roster may be found <here>.  The Board welcomes its newest members, Theo Harper and Cindy Cumfer.  Theo was elected to a one-year term to fill Darin Stewart’s unexpired term.  Theo is a long-standing member and has served the Church in several ways, most recently as a member of the Music Director search committee.  Cindy was appointed by the Board on June 1 to fill the vacancy created by John Thompson’s recent resignation.  The appointment is for the upcoming Church year (through May 2018), after which regular nomination and ballot processes will be followed.  Cindy is a former board member, including service as Moderator, and is an expert on nonprofit governance and our Church’s history.   

The Board recognizes the service of outgoing Board members John Thompson and Darin Stewart.   John served over five years on the Board and held multiple positions of church leadership.  His service to our Church has been immense and we hope it will continue in other ways.   Darin served two years on the Board and was our Treasurer for the last year, a very important job for which we greatly appreciated his service.

Board members and committed congregants spent the afternoon of June 4 in facilitated listening circles and engaged on two key questions: (1) identification of difficult or unresolved issues congregants have with respect to the life of the Church and (2) ideas and suggestions for ways to move forward.   With all that has gone one with the Church in the last year, the Board believed it important that we take the time to listen and register these concerns and paths toward resolution.  Approximately 35 congregants participated.  The deep love for and commitment to the Church by these congregants was evident in the views expressed that day.  The views of each group were noted and ideas for resolution and solutions to move forward will be  posted in summary form by late June and will be used by our Board and Executive Team planning for its activities for the upcoming year.    We very much appreciate the participation of the congregants, our six members who facilitated the circles, and especially Shirlee Geiger, who facilitated the overall forum.  

We appreciate all of you who took the time to complete our annual survey.  The survey is now closed and we will have results to share in the next few weeks.

The Board will not meet formally during July and August but will conduct planning and generative work in preparation for the next Church year.  We’ll hold our next Board meeting on September 7, 2017, at 7 p.m. The Board’s “in box” is always open so if you have a message or idea for the Board, please write us at board@firstunitarianportland.org.



Kathy Ludlow                              Alan Comnes

First Vice Moderator                    Board member and Chair, Communications Committee