Minutes for December 3, 2020


Minutes for December 3, 2020

Opening Prayer – The regular monthly meeting of Unity of South Sound (USS) started at 6:31 PM (online via Zoom) with an opening prayer by Rev. Jeffrey.

Board of Trustees (BOT) members, Barbara Bauml, Rev. Jeffrey Fowler, Lisa Hagen, Michele Millsap, Ruth Rogers, and David Sandall-Hill, were in attendance.

Check In – Board members checked in with one another.  

Check-in Side Note – Lisa will cover Barbara’s Facebook Live date this Saturday, 12/5.



Counting Tithes Sign ups/Check Signing David and Michele will be will be available to sign checks during the month of December. Joey will be singing on 12/15 and will sign in place of Michele that week. Barbara will email confirmation and copy Heidi.


Secretary Report – The minutes for the October and November BOT Meetings were approved with revisions online prior to the meeting.

Following the resignation of Linda Guay from the BOT, the board thanked Linda, expressed its appreciation for her leadership, discussed removing her from our accounts, and elected Ruth as president. The minutes, however, did not include language that explicitly satisfied Alaska Credit Union legal requirements.  Per Lisa’s request, the following motion was made to amend the minutes.

MOTION: Barbara moved that the Board of Trustees authorize Lisa Hagen, Treasurer, to work with our financial institution to remove Linda Guay from the Unity of South Sound checking and savings accounts at Alaska Credit Union. David seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Lisa will follow up with Alaska Credit Union.


Tithe Report – Barbara confirmed that the Tithe Committee Report and recommendations were approved by the board for the month of November.  With gratitude and blessings, our November tithe is $1170 and the United Children’s Defense Fund is in the rotation this month.


Treasurer Report – Lisa gave an updated overview of USS finances. The auction and an award of rental assistance by Pierce County to qualified businesses have improved our cash balance.


The grant will result in a more than $9000 savings and pay for three months of rent. (It will be paid directly to TMP in for December, January and February.)


Accounting for nearly all of the auction income, the USS year-to-date (YTD) figures through Nov. 30 are as follows. Revenue is $38,000 below our budget. Total expenses YTD are almost $17000 below budget. That leaves us with a net operating income about $22,000 in the negative, which does not include the $16,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan/grant. This means we fell $6000 short, overall. We came into the year with strong cash balance, have maintained our monthly payments, and we got a boost from the PPP and the Pierce Count Rent Grant. All expenses are in line with our expectations if not our budget.


Lisa also addressed two Edward Jones matters. First, there was a hiccup in the process of removing Linda from the account. That was addressed and Lisa and Ruth will complete the current paperwork process soon. Lisa shared that she has been advocating with their office manager for a streamlined process to remove former USS board members from the Edward Jones account which, she believes, would appropriately eliminate requiring a signature from someone who is no longer on the board. Second, USS has an annual distribution that occurs in December that is part of our current type of account management. Lisa has added $1000 (the required annual distribution amount) in the budget expenses.


Minister Report – Rev. Jeffrey shared that he spent about half of the last month working on the auction, then had a week vacation, and since returning has had a full week focused on pastoral care and planning for upcoming events. He conducted a New Member class, met with Ruth and Joey regarding next year’s board nominations, and worked with Scott and Gary in planning a prayer class. Overall, the trend that accomplishing things virtually takes longer continues. Sharing information, computer platforms, and other interface issues affect his work. Four people took the New Member class and three are interested in becoming members.


Social Media Report – Jeffrey reviewed Jenny’s Social Media Report which was sent to the board. The new format of her report was clear and easier to read. Our eBlast open rates are up again (21%) which exceeds usual email open rates as were other forms of engagement. The work she’s done to expand our online reach has been effective and almost 2000 searches (of Unity near me, Google map searches, etc.) occurred that connected people with our website. We’re getting recognized and people are engaging online. Jenny invited all board members to ask questions when doing Facebook Live to invite exchanges and to share with her any subject line suggestions that can be used to engage prospective USS online viewers. Sharing our services on personal Facebook accounts would also helpful if people are comfortable and willing.




Fund Raising: Short Online Auction Report – David shared the auction results. Although we didn’t reach our goal, we did well. The total income was $23,118.40 and the total expenses were $9,518.40.  The net profit was $13,600 and the Tacoma Urban League will receive income $1360. Hence, our free and clear total is $12,240. (There will minor adjustments to the totals in December due to the accounting process.) For never having done this before, we were satisfied with the results. The board discussed what we learned with the new, virtual approach to fundraising and appreciated our success and abundance.


David shared a note of appreciation from our auction host with the board. On behalf of the board and our community, much gratitude to the team, Rev. Jeffrey, Lady Chablis, and all others who have donated and organized the auction. David also shared a special expression of gratitude to Joey, to Rev. Jeffrey and the board for their support.


David purchased up the Breaching for Joy (the Orca painting) for $325 after the fact and Barbara will throw in a tasteful frame.





2021 Budget Discussion – Lisa reviewed the 2021 Draft Budget Income and Expenses line item by line item with the board. Lisa compared the 2019 Budget, 2019 Actuals, the 2020 Budget, the 2020 Actuals (prior 12 months), our 2021 Budget, and what changes have been made.


In light of the extraordinary year 2020 has been, she shared her thoughts for the projected 2021 Income. The Board reviewed specific line items and projected amounts for Tithes, Classes, the Auction and Fundraising projects, and considered the reasoning behind the various types of income. Additionally, the board discussed smaller fundraising events throughout the year and how these events figure into the budget. Overall, it’s expected that the 2021 income will be better than 2020 now that we have adjusted to operating in a pandemic. At the same time, this budget reflects ways in which we have scaled back and adjusted specific types of income to align with how we presume the church will operate in the coming year.


Similarly, Lisa reviewed Expense line items based on the board vision for USS activities in 2021. This review addressed assumptions about the pandemic, salary adjustments, and other changes in the budget like savings, reduced and increased expenses.


The overall Income for 2021 is $219,182 (less than the last two years and in line with our expectations and realities of the pandemic). The overall income is $223,600 which a net income of $4,417 in the negative. This was viewed positively. After consideration of our projections and an analysis of our cash reserves, we are still in good shape. Even if our income expectations are less than expected next year, we will still meet expenses and be in good shape with next year’s auction. The income estimates were conservative, but if losses persist similar to 2020, USS operating expenses may get tight leading up to the 2021 auction.


MOTIONBarbara moved to accept the 2021 draft Budget as a working document with the minor adjustments Lisa will make (includes the Edward Jones disbursement, chaplain retreat, and workshop classes); Michele seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Lisa will provide a high-level summary of the 2021 Budget to the board before our January meeting. Lisa has also made some improvements to the budget line items that clarify accounting, reflect expenses and payments more accurately, and that will make the work of the next board treasurer easier. The Board expressed much appreciation for her analysis of cash flow and excellent work on this budget. 


Annual Meeting Discussion – Jeffrey shared that Heidi will be working on the February 21st Annual Meeting and invited discussion about how we will accomplish this meeting virtually.


The board considered our capacity via Zoom, confidentially of voting, what to if there is a lack of electronic access, the overall timing of the event, and decided to stay with Zoom. The consensus of plans the board discussed and agreed upon were to:


•       Encourage people to participate in the Annual Meeting live to the electronic event

•       Include a mail-in paper alternative for persons who don’t use electronic platforms or communication, or may be otherwise unavailable the BOT wants to provide a way for members to participate.

•       Make the online and paper versions as similar as possible. Information would include all the items on the agenda. One constraint is that candidate video files would be too large to email; candidate statements and any Q and A would need to be done virtually. A written statement and photo would be mailed.

•       Mail-in ballots will be included in the count on February 21.

•       To be counted, mail-in ballots must be received in the office by Friday, February 19.  To assure that the ballot to arrive in time to be counted, the board suggests a mailing date of February 15 or it can be dropped off by the day of the meeting.

•       Although the board anticipates that most people will participate online and very few will participate on paper, if a ballot is missing, the board hopes that Heidi could reach out.

•       The option for two sets of questions, an Intro poll for checking-in and a Voting poll for keeping votes confidential, was left open for now. Simpler to have one, but may be best to separate them. The needed introductory information is:

o   Are you a current member?

o   Do you want to continue your membership? and

o   Do you want to have monthly chaplain calls?

Voting would happen for board candidates, the annual budget and a possible by-law amendment.

•       Michele mentioned the possibility of interfacing with meeting participants using Microsoft Forms. This tool could be made accessible with a link in Zoom, easily used in real time during the online meeting, and would promptly tally responses and create a report of response results. This option was preferred over polling.

•       Budget and other presentations of information will be shared in PowerPoint presentations; copies can be mailed.


In consideration of confidentiality and technical constraints, Michele will create the Microsoft forms for participant information and voting and make Heidi a collaborator.


Barbara raised the question of two-member households. Michele thinks we can ask persons in the household to click on the link twice to give their input and vote. Michele also suggested testing this feature out ahead of time; Barb and/or others can help with this.

We may want people to prevent the possibility for an unlimited number of votes as a matter of prudence.


This was a great example of what Jeffrey experiences working online. Other matters that came up in relation to the Annual Meeting were:

•       Someone (David?) will monitor the chat box so questions can be addressed promptly.

•       The matter of having alternate board members was discussed. The role of an alternate board member may need clarification.


Barbara will revisit the by-laws for the language regarding board alternates, vacancies, and possibly fine-tuning the language regarding nominations from the floor.





Create a Calling Tree: Discussion – tabled until next month in the interest of time.


Fundraising Ideas Updates – Masks and the Feeding Our Souls Cookbook

Masks – Michele reported that the design options are the Ohm, the Namaste, the Tree silhouette, and the BLM masks. Michele will send a form that describes the options and then follow-up with Heidi.

Lisa suggested timing that this fundraiser would nicely coincide with Inauguration Day and the President-elect’s 100 days of mask wearing. We could ask people to place their orders by Inauguration Day. Lisa will check with Jennifer Richardson about involving the kids in distributing masks.


Cookbooks – Barbara contacted Steuben Press for an update on 11/30. The cookbook is in press and the planned shipping date is 12/14.  Barbara will send some information to Jeffery to share for shared a draft of the cookbook and asked for feedback.


Dessert Dash – Lisa shared an Omnivorous Event as a model for USS and recommended holding off on the Virtual Dessert Dash since it will not be coupled with the Auction.

Impromptu Additions – The board discussed ways of combining events for fun, to enhance community involvement, and to include our kids.

Closing Prayer – Rev. Jeffrey closed the meeting with a prayer at 9:10 p.m.

Upcoming events (see eBlast for more information)

Coats for Kids – still accepting donations at the office through December 13th

Coffee with Rev. Jeffrey Wednesdays at 11 a.m. to Noon

January 7th – Next Regular Board Meeting


Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bauml, Secretary

December 10, 2020