Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is entrusted with the oversight of our Church with duties laid out in the Church’s by-laws and policies.  Please see a list of Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about how the Board works and how you can engage with the Board and on Church policy matters.  You may contact the Board of Trustees at anytime by writing   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Meet the Board of Trustees

Here is the 2016-2017 line up of our Church’s Board of Trustees and Executive Team.  The current Board was constituted at its June 2016 meeting, held shortly after the May church annual election.

 Top Row:

·         Rev. Bill Sinkford, Senior Minister, ex officio Board member, and member of the Executive Team

·         Randy Russell, Moderator; 1st term (2017)

·         Andy Parker; 1st term  (2017)

·         Matt Swafford; 1st term (2019)

·         Darin Stewart, Treasurer; 1st term (2018)

 Middle Row:

·         John Thompson; 2nd term (2019)

·         Evie Zaic; 2nd term (2019)

·         Kathryn Estey, Church Administrator, ex officio Board member, and member of the Executive Team

·         Leila Wrathall; ; 1st term (2019)

·         Rev. Tom Disrud, Associate Minister, ex officio Board member, and member of the Executive Team

Front Row:

·          Maryann Roulier, Secretary; 2nd term (2018)

·         Alan Comnes; completing a partially completed term  (2017)

·         Kathy Ludlow, 1st Vice Moderator; 1st term (2017)

·          Ameena Amdahl-Mason, 2nd  Vice Moderator; 2nd term (2018)

·         Laura Milne; 2nd term (2018)

 (Terms are for 3 years, and run from June 1 through May 31 each year; year in parentheses above is the year each Board member's current term ends)


First Unitarian's Vision Statement (adopted by the Board of Trustees August, 2015)

First Unitarian Church is a beacon of hope for us and our community, a Spiritual center in the heart of the city that helps each of us to find our moral compass, calling and challenging us to build the beloved community with an ever deepening sense of spirit, diversity and inclusion.

First Unitarian Five Year Goals

At the Board meeting on May 6, 2016, the Board adopted five year goals for the church. 

From 2016-2021, First Unitarian Church of Portland will: 

• Focus on collaborative governance, revising policies for clarity and brevity and creating linkages between the Congregation, the Board, and the Executive Team. 
• Increase church funding through enhanced giving, including goal to reduce or retire the Buchan Building mortgage. 
• Make a cultural transition from program-focused church to mission-driven church, with priority to building beloved community between generations. 
• Develop a long-term plan for development and sustainability of church campus given changing dynamics of West End and downtown Portland.


Board of Trustees Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These FAQs are updated regularly so, if you have a question that’s not answered below or if you see a response that is inaccurate, please write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

Who’s on the Board of Trustees and how long are their terms?
How is the Board organized (standing committees, etc)?
How do I find out what actions the Board has taken or is about to take (access to agendas and minutes of the Board)?
Where are the Church’s by-laws and policies?
What is Policy-based governance?
Who is on the Executive Team (ET)?
Who sets the salaries of ministers and staff? What are the salaries of the Executive Team?
How is the church's budget set?
What is the relationship of our church and the national organization (UUA)?
What is fair share and does our church participate in it?
What is the process for changing by laws or policies?
I want to share my views with the Board of Trustees. What should I do?

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Who’s on the Board of Trustees and how long are their terms?

         Please see the Board’s webpage for a current lineup of Board members. http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-church/board-of-trustees


Board members may serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms if they are re-nominated by the Nominating Committee (see http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-church/nominating-committee for more about the Nominating Committee). Individuals may serve additional terms after taking a break from the Board.

Board members who are appointed to fill an unexpired term may run for two additional terms.

A trustee may be reelected to serve additional terms provided the limitation on two full consecutive terms is met.  

For more information, see Bylaws-- Article IV, Section 3.


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How is the Board organized (standing committees, etc)?

The Board of Trustees elects as officers a Moderator, first and second Vice Moderators, a Secretary and a Treasurer.


 There are 4 Board standing committees. With the exception of the BOC, the moderator appoints members and committee chairs.


 Board Officers Committee consists of the Board officers. The Executive Team (Senior and Associate Ministers and the Church Administrator) serve as ex officio members.

 When the Board is not in session, the BOC has all powers of the Board to manage the affairs of the church in connection with matters that must be decided before the next regular Board meeting. Meets monthly to plan board meeting agenda.



·         Finance Committee: Has core responsibility of fiscal oversight while striving to share the Church's finances clearly with the congregation.


·         Governance Committee (formerly Policy Evaluation Committee): Performs a comprehensive review of policies and by-laws, and makes recommendations for policy revision to the Board.


·         Communications Committee: Mission is to communicate actions of the Board of Trustees and to facilitate engagement (linkage) among the congregation, the Board, and the Church's Executive Team.  


·         More information about the responsibilities and membership of these committees may be found by clicking on each committee's respective link on the left-hand side of this page.

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How do I find out what actions the Board has taken or is about to take (access to agendas and minutes of the Board)?

·         The Board meets monthly during the church year, usually on the first Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Additional meetings may be called by the Moderator or the request of three Board members.   All meetings are open to the congregation except for matters requiring executive session (personnel matters, matters that would impact an individual's privacy, legal matters, etc.).   Check the church calendar for specific dates and times of Board meetings.

Board packets consisting of agenda, minutes and related information are posted approximately a week prior  to the monthly Board meeting on the Board’s webpage. http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-church/board-of-trustees/board-packets


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Where are the Church’s by-laws and policies?

 The by-laws and policies are on the Board of Trustees webpage. http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-church/board-of-trustees/bylaws-a-policies

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What is Policy-based governance?

Like many congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association, our church’s bylaws follow a policy based governance model.  This means that the Board is focused on identifying the church’s mission and goals (Ends policies) and relies on the senior minister and staff to implement the church’s mission and goals.  The two features common to most forms of policy based governance are (1) delegation of authority to manage the church to the senior minister, and (2) reliance on the use of written policy statements to direct both the board’s own actions and to provide guidance to the senior minister.   At First Unitarian Church of Portland, the by laws allow the Senior Minister to appoint an Executive Team (ET)  which is responsible for the day to day management of the church and the implementation of the church’s policies as set by the Board. The ET  currently consists of the senior minister, associate minister, and the church administrator (see related FAQ on ET).   

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Who is on the Executive Team (ET)?

The Executive Team (ET). is appointed by the Senior Minister and consists of:

Rev. Bill Sinkford, Senior Minister
Rev. Thomas Disrud, Associate Minister
Kathryn Estey, Church Administrator

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Who sets the salaries of ministers and staff?  What are the salaries of the Executive Team?


The salary of the senior minister is set by the Board.  The Senior Minister sets the salary of the other ministers and Church Administrator.  All other church salaries are set by the Executive Team.   Salaries of certain staff are now governed by collective bargaining.


The current salaries of the Executive Team are  as follows:

Senior Minister, $149,360
Associate Minister,  $94,507

Church Administrator,  $60,000 (note: this is an 80% FTE role)


All salaried staff members, including the Executive Team members, took two significant pay cuts in 2012 to meet the financial needs of the church at that time.  Current salary levels reflect a less than 1% compensation increase over the course of six years for the senior minister and a less than 4% increase for the associate minister for the same time period.


It’s important to view salaries of our Executive Team in the context of what is recommended by the the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).  The UUA posts guidelines for ministers and other  professional staff.  UUA  guidelines are consulted by many congregations seeking ministers and other highly experienced talent. Relative to UUA guidelines, the salaries shown above  are within current UUA guidelines for a very large (“Large II”) church in Portland Oregon. (Geo Index 4).



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How is the church's budget set?

Budgeting at First Unitarian is led by the Executive Team with input  from the Board and congregants.   Our policies direct the Executive Team to present a draft budget to the Board's Finance Committee at their February meeting.   The Finance Committee and Executive Team review the draft budget in detail at this meeting, and the Executive Team takes the budget back for revision.  The Treasurer as chair of the Finance Committee schedules an informational meeting on the budget  for congregants in February to receive congregant input on the budget and relay this feedback to the Executive Team. The Executive Team presents a final balanced annual budget proposal to the Finance Committee at its March meeting.  On occasion, another revision and an extra Finance Committee meeting to review and approve the final budget must be held.  The Finance Committee  then presents the recommended budget to the Board for review and approval at the Board's April meeting.  The Board schedules information sessions for congregants on the budget and other items being voted on in the May election.  In May the congregation votes on the budget and other Church matters.

To see the latest approved operating budget and budgets from prior years, please see
Annual Meetings and Annual Reports.



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What is the relationship of our church and the national organization (UUA)?

First Unitarian is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations located in Boston, MA. Formed from the merger of Unitarian and Universalist organizations in 1961, the Association provides key communications and services for us. Our annual support of the UUA brings national leadership and visibility, support services and focus for our professional personnel.



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What is fair share and does our church participate in it?

Fair Share is a guideline provided by the Unitarian Universalist association to help congregations determine an appropriate level of annual financial contribution in support of the UUA and the denomination as a whole. First Unitarian participates in Fair Share at both the National and District level.  First Unitarian’s contribution is not currently at the full recommended amount.  The congregation currently contributes 28% of its Fair Share obligation.  This represents a 10% increase over prior contributions. It remains our goal to become a full contributor as quickly as is possible and practical as formally stipulated in First Unitarian’s Governing Policies.


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What is the process for changing by laws or policies?

  • By laws may only be amended by both a vote of the Board followed by a vote by the congregation at the annual meeting or at a meeting called specifically for such a vote.  See our by laws for more details.

  • Policies are set by the board and may be amended by a majority vote of the board.

The best way to share your views with the Board is to write it at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Each Board meeting also has a short open session for congregants and interested parties to make comments. The Board strives to respond to all comments and statements in a timely fashion.

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