Greetings from the United Church of Christ Board.
We have just concluded our first meeting of this biennium, energized and humbled by this opportunity to serve Christ and the Church.
First, a little background about who we are and I invite you to click the attached link for our bios and photos. In-person United Church of Christ Board (UCCB) meetings occur in October and March over 2.5 days each year and we schedule additional meetings via technology as needed. UCCB consists of up to 52 members; 36 are at large, elected each biennium by the General Synod, and the remainder appointed by their leadership roles. Moving forward, we will post our minutes, which will capture key actions taken by the Board though not the robust dialogue leading up to the vote or our thoughtful generative discussions.
Our meeting began with a spirit-filled worship created by the UCC Faith INFO team and a sermon provided by our GS 33 moderator, the Rev. Penny Lowes. We began our time together with a retreat created by UCC facilitators Tenneson Woolf and Quanita Roberts, which helped to build our sense of community and was enriched by the contributions of each director. While UCCB is at the outset of its fourth biennium, with each transition of directors, UCCB is new.
Some key action items to share from our October 2019 meeting include:
· General Minister & President Evaluation
· National setting 2020 budget approved
· Annual audit completed
· General Synod resolutions action
The GMP Evaluation committee completed its annual performance review and reported its completion to the Board as required by our Standing Rules. Members of the committee include the Chair, Vice-chair, Moderator, Conference Minister and one at-large member. The staff person for this process is the UCC Director of Human Resources.
Each October the UCC National Setting budget is approved by UCCB. OCWM contributions to the National Setting have declined approximately 5% per year over a number of years and healthcare costs, retirement benefits and other costs are consistently rising. With much care and reflection about our top strategic priorities – including God-centered transformational change in our communities, developing better technology, such as UCC Everywhere, that enables our congregations to reach wider populations, and cultivating partnering opportunities for our bold, relevant UCC voice to be heard – we have successfully balanced our budget while maintaining our staffing levels and ministries.
At General Synod 32 we pondered and voted on several resolutions consistent with who we are as a denomination. The passionate, emotional discussion of one resolution in particular left a lasting imprint on many of us in the convention hall or joining via other media. Resolution #8 called in part for no group organized in a way inconsistent with UCC values, counter to the civil and human rights of people, or demeaning to any in the body of Christ to be afforded space in General Synod exhibit halls. Even though the Resolution was tabled, UCCB heard the impassioned voices and requests for action. Our Ministry and Governance committees are working together to identify next steps on all resolutions requiring UCCB action, including calls to examine our Constitution and Bylaws relating to issues of Local Church covenant and accountability, non-binary gender language, and reimagining General Synod.
In closing, we are deeply honored to serve on the United Church of Christ Board and pray that God will guide our footsteps.
Yours in Christ,