Minutes for May 7, 2020


Minutes for May 7, 2020

Opening Prayer – Meeting started via Zoom online at 6:30 PM with an opening prayer by Rev. Jeffrey.

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

Check In – Board members checked in with one another.


Edward Jones

For the good of the order, Linda scheduled a meeting with Brent, our Edward Jones representative, at the beginning of our meeting. He joined us via Zoom to review our portfolio and answer questions. The change to the Advisory type of account management has been beneficial to USS. Our account holdings increased in value with the change. When the pandemic affected the stock market values, our investment account bounced around a good deal and is currently down 6%. With the losses in the stock market at 35%, our losses are favorable by comparison. Unity is currently balanced at a 50/50 ratio between income investments and equity holdings. Brent recommended individual equities that are currently low in value and could result in good long-term growth. We discussed the possible long-term opportunity of this move and Brent shared the investment strategy of Edward Jones underlying this recommendation. The board thanked him for taking time with us, his work, and will consider his recommendations. (See below.)




Counting Tithes Sign ups – In lieu of a counting schedule, Barbara will track who is scheduled to videotape the Sunday services to support Heidi in her work of coordination.


Secretary Report – Barbara shared that the April Minutes were promptly approved online by all after being shared via email.

Jeffrey will follow up with Jenny about posting minutes on the USS website and Barbara will send the March 5th and April 2nd minutes to Jeffrey.


Tithe Report – The Tithe Committee Report to the board for the month of March recommending the allocation of $1530 and Unity of Bandon in Oregon as the regional Unity church was reviewed. The recommendation was accepted.


Treasurer Report – Lisa reviewed the Balance Sheet, the Budget vs. Actual (expenses) for April and for the year-to-date. Although March was strong, we are down $4000 in Tithe receipts, The PPP (Paycheck Protection loan) put us $16,900 ahead of budget for net-operating expenses. While some categories of expenditures have increased, over all we are spending less as a result of Inslee’s Shelter-in-Place orders. We $7500 under budget in total expenses. If we can keep our expenses tight, USS will be able to sustain the financial impacts resulting from the pandemic. The board will continue to monitor USS finances.


Lisa is increasing her communication with Heidi about finances. Our insurance is paid in ten payments throughout the year and she is working to adjust our accounting to reflect actual real time payments and how this impacts our financial status. Thank you, Lisa.


Volunteer Committee Report – The Committee has not met. No report at this time. Jeffrey will check in with the team leads about touching bases with team members.


Minister Report – Rev. Jeffrey shared that


Social Media Report – Jeffrey shared the highlights from Jenny’s Social Media Report Card. She ran three different ad sets in March (Sunday service livestream, an all-around west coast engagement ad, and one that targeted women ≥ 21 years interested in spirituality). “Our engagement, views, reach, and likes are up more than 150%. Instagram interest is growing slowly even without paid ads.

The largest response to USS online is our Facebook Live Sunday Service. We had 940 (≥ 3 seconds) views, 412 people (≥ 1 minute) and 75 people stayed for more than half the service. Finally, MailChimp stats show that one-third of eblast recipients will open their email (very favorable compared with an average 15-25%).

Rev. Jeffrey asked about waiting to implement the approved text-messaging budget item. A conversation regarding the benefits of waiting and moving forward with discussed. Possible uses include Coffee with Rev. Jeffrey, the service is starting, etc. Costs were considered.

MOTION – David moved to start using the text-messaging.  Barbara seconded. The ayes have it.

Jeffrey will follow-up with Jenny. Although approved for the year, the Board will evaluate its effectiveness before the end of the year with an eye on next year’s budget.





Edward Jones – Linda shared that paperwork was sent to USS to add Lisa on the account.

The board discussed Brent’s recommendation that USS move 75% of our funds into Income stocks and retain 25% in safer markets (bonds, CDs and security-backed mortgage loans). The board considered his recommendation in light of the general financial and political volatility of our time, other possible ratios, and ultimately chose to stick with the 50/50 split between equity and income for the time being.


SBA Loan – Linda reported that we have $16,900 to disperse of which 75% must go to wages. Heidi has created a separate line item in the budget and is tracking it in accordance with the requirements and timelines. In the weekly financial reports, she sends to the board, we will see how the funds are being used. Robin O’Day inquired about “the loan” and its impact on USS finances. Rev. Jeffrey responded to her email to explain that by expending 75% of disbursement on employee wages and 25% on rent within 8 weeks, 100% of the loan will convert to a grant. If not met within the 8-week period, the loan would be repayable at 1% interest with no prepayment penalty, so the risk is low. Robin requested that this information be shared with the congregation in the next e-Blast. The board easily agreed by consensus to do so. Jeffrey will implement.


Tall Round Tables/Folding Bar Tables – Following up from last month, Lisa shared the all of the round tables spin. This is viewed as a potential safety hazard. More research will be done to see if there is a way of stopping the movement or possibly locating other tables that don’t do this.


Talent Show Updates – Michele shared that the group was in a holding pattern and still looking forward to an event. Starr extended the sign-ups, background music has been selected, Amy is digitizing the play list, and a Treasure Hunt is in the works.  The event is 70s oriented.

The possible timing of meeting the Phases I – IV as outlined by Go. Inslee was considered. We may be able to gather (with precautions) in groups of 50 by mid-July. Michele will stay in touch with Starr and the team, and inform them of a time frame when we have one.


Second Event in the Fall – USS needs to raise another $8500. The board discussed smaller events such as Divine Dining, Zoom events, possible outdoor gatherings, online auctions, and gratitude hours. A summary of ideas follows.

•   Jeffrey will ask Stella to write a description or plan of the Divine Dining proposal. Recruiting hosts would be necessary.

•     Personal safety and physical distancing continue to be factors of paramount importance and will be incorporated into events.

•     David discussed the possibility of a drag performance as a way to host a online auction. Trips and Artwork items may be out given the format, but possible advantages to this format were considered. Lisa shared that online auctions are being successfully done in Seattle. The skill of the auctioneer was generally considered to be an important factor.

•     Teaching a class or skill via Zoom such as Cook with Me, Freeze Drying Foods, Phenomenal Photos, Flower Arranging, etc.

•     The board considered the $14K loss of Prosperity Plus. The program is a big budget item and it is a 10-week program. A full evaluation of our budget is needed and we will need to understand where are variances are. The tithes will be key.

Online Services

•     Any changes needed? – Regarding the sound concerns at the podium, Amy has done a lot of research and found a solution in the form of a program that will allow running the sound as one feed through her computer to multiple streams (Facebook, YouTube, etc.). It will cost about $20/month or $100 per year and has resulted in a substantial improvement in sound quality when watching from home. She also fixed the You Tube sound. The latency is gone. We’ve ditched the phone and warmly offer gratitude to Serni for his donation.

•     Government Assistance – Barbara had not heard back from the Pierce County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and indicated that they are looking for feet on the ground resources from those to whom they sent an inquiry.


Other ideas for increasing revenue?

•     David volunteered to update our Reader Board on the corner of the Spire’s Sanctuary entrance and research the costs and placement of a banner to increase awareness of our online services.

•     Worth noting again, last month Michele noted that the CARES Act has a charitable donation feature that allows for $300 straight off an individual’s tax return; corporations can deduct up to 25% of their donations to a 501(c)(3).

•     Adding Venmo as a way to make love offerings and tithing more convenient was discussed. This service needs a designated person who would be responsible for making the transfers.

MOTION – David moved that USS start accepting Venmo as an income conduit. Ruth seconded.

After discussion, motion passed. It was decided that Heidi is the sensible choice to be that individual. Given that there is a paper trail, that this doesn’t involve reconciling accounts, her position as an employee and USS are still protected. Lisa will come up with a process that makes it clear that all funds that were transferred are received. Lisa or Jeffrey will let Heidi know.


Do our by-laws have a provision for virtual meetings? – The board reviewed the by-laws with this question in mind and determined that virtual meetings is granted under Section 4.06 (a): “Regular Board Meetings.  The regular business meetings of the Board of Trustees will [shall] be held at the headquarters of this ministry on the first Thursday of each month, unless otherwise specified by the board…”





Second Round of Calls to Congregants – Linda put this item on the agenda and there was wide support for this effort. One board member was excused from this task and others will take on a few additional congregants. All board members need to send their updated lists to Linda who will re-assign the call lists.

Closing Prayer – Rev. Jeffrey closed the meeting with a prayer at 9:15 p.m.

Upcoming events

May 6, 13, 20, 27 and June 3rd

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

                 Note: Click the link in your eblast or on the USS website

May 31 High School Graduates Celebration – Congratulations Ukweli Bayard and Trevor Maloney!

June 4th – Next Regular Board Meeting

        The Youth Recycle Fundraiser – has been postponed in cooperation with the Governor’s Stay-at-Home directives. Please continue to collect items and stay tuned for a revised date. It may be possible to drop items off on Wednesdays during office hours and stored in our overflow room on the 3rd floor.  

        30 Days to Fearless Living – An Inspirational Reading at Noon Everyday (except Sunday) with Rev. Jeffrey or Michele featuring messages from Unity ministers.



Respectfully submitted by Barbara Bauml, Secretary

June 2, 2020


USS BOT Meeting Agenda 2020-0604