Minutes for July 9, 2020


Minutes for July 9, 2020

Opening Prayer – The regular monthly meeting of Unity of South Sound (USS) was rescheduled from July 2nd to July 9, 2020 and started at 6:30 PM (online via Zoom) with an opening prayer by Rev. Jeffrey.

Board members, Barbara Bauml, Rev. Jeffrey Fowler, Lisa Hagen, Michele Millsap, Ruth Rogers, and David Sandall-Hill were in attendance. Linda Guay was absent.

Check In – Board members checked in with one another.




Counting Tithes Sign ups/Check Signing – David will be at the Spire and available to sign checks during the month in July. Michele will be elsewhere Sunday, July 12. Barbara will follow up with Annie about signing checks.


Secretary Report – It was confirmed that the June Regular Meeting and Special Board Meeting Minutes were approved by all after being shared via email.


Tithe Report – Barbara reviewed the Tithe Committee Report with the board for the month of June.  The USS June tithe is $1610 and Unity of Gresham (Oregon) is in the rotation. The recommendation was approved by the board online prior to the meeting.


Treasurer Report – Lisa shared that the June contributions were much better than May, but we are not where we need to be. She has seen virtual events be successful and. Although the Balance Sheet and checking account look good, she pointed out that we are presently without the two main programs that bring in income, the Auction and Prosperity Plus.  the Budget vs. Actual (expenses) for April and for the year-to-date. The June financials were not bad ($356 in the red), but we are off our normal Year-to-Date (YTD) income (PPP included in this figure) by a significant amount and $4800 off our YTD budget (expenses are lower which helps).

Regarding trends, Lisa did a PowerPoint presentation for church which showed that we are behind in total tithes.  We reviewed options in general (and addressed fundraising later in the meeting). The board will continue to monitor USS finances.


Volunteer Committee Report – With the pandemic, the communication with the VCR has involved Rev. Jeffrey reaching out to check-in and to discuss fundraising.


Minister Report – Rev. Jeffrey expressed appreciation for the help rendered by David’s son whose technical knowledge made it possible for us to be good for Sunday (7/12) when one of the pods went out. Jeffrey also asked to be held in prayer at this time because so many people are on edge right now. The number of people participating in the Coffee with Rev. Jeffrey is increasing. He remains appreciative to the those who are contributing to USS Sunday service, fundraising efforts, and our overall community. Overall, he is doing well and getting better sleep.


Social Media Report – Jeffrey shared the highlights from Jenny’s Social Media Report Card. We had 100 new Facebook (fb) Likes and fb followers total just under 2000 persons. There have been more views on Google analytics with 157 clicks on our website. Unity of South Sound (USS) has 16 new followers on Instagram and 50% more likes in June. The June 7th service (Jeffrey’s service about racial experiential differences) was well attended (251 tuned in, 71 stayed more than one minute, and there were 500 Facebook shares of the talk). Regarding eBlast, the June open-rates are down (from the May high of 38% to 28%). The board discussed changing the subject line to indicate what’s in the eBlast that is new or pertinent. Jeffrey will pass that suggestion on to Jenny.  Jenny continues to try different attempts to raise the USS profile and contacts. Last month she tried fewer ads (two in June compared with four in May).


In the interests of providing opportunities for congregants to connect, our church is sponsoring a Zoom meeting after church. Information security was discussed. Mail Chimp/eBlast is being used to inform people of the opportunity to gather online. Although the pandemic complicates the online efforts increase USS involvement, we are seeing new faces online in the Coffee with Jeffrey and in the service itself.




Venmo – Jeffrey shared Heidi’s conclusion that Venmo is best for person-to-person transfer of funds. The board reconsidered different options, fees, a possible combination of options, and likely outcomes of their use.

MOTION: David moved that USS continue to use PayPal our church services. Lisa seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

It was noted that USS can still receive funds via e-checks and bill paying services.


Fund Raising – Fundraising was discussed in the context of present USS financial circumstances, the impact of COVID-19, the Congregation Re-opening Survey results (from 43 respondents), our former fundraising methods and results, overall timing, and ideas that have been shared with Rev. Jeffrey and board members.

The ideas discussed are listed below:  recipe books, garage sales, custom face masks, divine dining, and efforts thus far.

•     Online Auctioneer – David share his vision of an event separate from the Talent Show.  The models considered were an online auction or a several-day telethon hosted by a Drag Queen experienced with hosting fundraisers. The board formed some consensus for moving forward. David and Ruth had both reached out to potential, experienced hosts and neither has heard back yet. More to come.

•     Garage Sales – were mentioned as a possibility.

•     2021 Calendar – was mentioned as a possibility.

•     Recipe Books – Stella shared that Unity of Bellevue has done this. Barbara will follow up.

•     Online Auction – Stannette has suggested a virtual Raise the Paddle event.

•     Virtual Dessert Dash – Adapting the live auction event to include volunteer bakers, delivery drivers, and sales online was discussed.  

•     Divine Dining – Plans were tentatively considered in light of the Phase 2 application and likely approval. Phase 1 currently allows for 5 or fewer people to gather, but Phase 2 would allow for more. Six houses hosting eight to ten persons could raise $2500 - $3000 and may be doable. Jeffrey will reach out to Stella and other potential hosts. It’s hoped that we can gather in small groups by Christmas time. Michele will follow up.

•     Garage Sales – Michele knows a woman who makes good quality and custom face masks. Michele will check on options and provide more information.

•     Other Fundraising Ideas – An outdoor BBQ, Outdoor Recreation events, Blueberry Picking events with distancing and mask wearing were considered.

•     Summary – The state guidelines and probable timelines and allowable crowd sizes were discussed. Safety consideration are of paramount importance.

Everyone with an idea will write out a proposal for the August meeting.


Talent Show – Due to safety concerns, only a few people are willing to participate an in-person Talent Show even if it were held outdoors. Because of the pandemic, ongoing infection rates, and safety concerns, the Talent Show is less feasible as a fundraiser. Michele shared that Starr will be moving to Sequim in August. She intends to remain involved in our community but her relocation may present some challenges to executing an actual event in the eventuality that we are able to do this.


Lisa shared her experience with Seattle non-profit online fundraisers. They are much shorter, focused, include music, and the opportunity to have some fun and support the cause. Other points of discussion were break out groups, a phased event, and how to connect people in a fun way virtually, and limiting a “live table” to a single event. General components that would support the overall goal were discussed. USS could host an online auction, but would need help with the technical end of things. Feedback shared by Al Hove was shared and we have some resources to pursue. Jeffrey will share contact information with David and David will be following up as board liaison and a volunteer committee. The overall goal is to raise $19,000 post-expenses.


Plans to Return to In-person Services – Decide on a Timeline Board members reconsidered our Recovery Plan written to address the Governor’s public health directives, the safety measures USS will take regarding a phased reopening, and make a decision about when to reopen.

• In light of the results of the recent USS congregant survey and the upward trend in new Covid-19 infections, the board discussed safety concerns, several practicalities involved in reopening, recently published Unity Worldwide Ministries advice, and what other NW Unity churches are doing. Afterwards, Jeffrey made the following motion which was revised by consensus during an ongoing discussion:

MOTION: Based on the survey results of our congregation and the scientifically based recommendations of public health officials, epidemiologists, and other medical experts, Unity of South Sound will plan to reopen when Pierce County meets the Washington State Phase 4 criteria. Barbara seconded.

Motion passed unanimously.

• Michele suggested that this decision warrants a separate email message which is clearly noted in the subject title. This decision is balanced with a comprehensive safety plan and practical safety measures to ensure the health and well being of our community to the best of our abilities.  

• Sundays Online – Relatedly, the board agreed to continue the Sunday online service indefinitely.

• Regarding consideration of a Plexiglass safety barrier (which is expensive and may not be available), David will bring a face shield for Rev. Jeffrey to try out for the eventuality of reopening.


Second Round of Calls to Congregants – This item was tabled due until later.


August 16th Unity Picnic – Jeffrey brought this event to the board for a decision after the VCT had discussed it. Should we do this? Franklin Park is reserved. After weighing our needs for social connections and safety concerns, it was decided that it was better not to host this event.




Honoring Linda – Arrangements were made.

Closing Prayer – Rev. Jeffrey closed the meeting with a prayer at 9:25 p.m.

Upcoming events (see eBlast for more information)

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

After Service Zoom Hospitality – Sundays 11:15 a.m. to noon

August 6th – Next Regular Board Meeting


Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bauml, Secretary

August 30, 2020