74 events and services have been created and the auction commences today and bidding will continue through June 30, 2022. Help for bidding will be available on the patio after worship services every Sunday through June - come and see Robie Evans or Dan Paul at the tech table after service!
If you remember your bidding number from 2019, it's the same one! And, if you've been a bidder in the past, you may have already received an email from us with a direct link to the auction website. Be sure to make sure you're registered!
IMPORTANT: Download our How To Guide for ease in registering and bidding online.
We appreciate your participation in this important fundraiser and church community-building project. If you have any questions, please email Dave Hunt or Robie Evans. Thank you and good luck in bidding on your favorite events! Register and view the catalog at our Auction website.
The Reopening Team would like to share some changes we're making. But before getting to the practical changes in our COVID policies and procedures, we’d like to take a moment to share a little of what we learned from our recent survey and frame the work that we’re doing in the context of our UU Principles and Values. We’re overjoyed to report that 292 people responded to our survey and that the responders accurately represented the demographic makeup of our congregation and both of our campuses. It is fair to say that this is the largest response and most accurate representation of any survey at First UU in recent times. Thanks to church member Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller for the masterful work done in creating it and analyzing the data! Please watch the Window for an upcoming forum to discuss survey results. Read on for a few key takeaways.
By Tony Bianca, Program Director
As we enter April, I'm mindful of the many spring holidays that celebrate new life and new beginnings. I'm also reflecting on our April theme, "Stories of Who We Are,'" and wondering what the next chapter of our story is going to be like. We'r e in a time of the year when we, your Program Staff, would normally be wrapping things up and looking toward the slower,
low-key days of summer - those months when there's less going on and more people away on vacation. But, this year, who knows? Things have been shut down for so long, it feels somehow wrong to start winding down just as we?re gearing up. So, at the risk of interfering with your summer plans, I'd like to ask you to consider committing some time to help with our Lifespan Programs. Here are some areas where we could use your help:
By Nancy Fisk, First Words Editor with Robie Evans, Director of Operations
Our system of governing policies at First UU requires we have a Lead Minister at the helm, making decisions. In the past, the Lead Minister has had the support of the Associate or Assistant Minister, the Director of Operations, and a Lay Leader. This group of people is known as the Executive Team. Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube started the team in 2010, when he was our Lead Minister, to assist him with personnel matters.
Though it's hard for me to believe, my six weeks as your Minister in Residence are already over, and this Sunday is my last one with you. It has been an honor to accompany you for this brief time, and to hear your stories, struggles, and aspirations for this beloved community. You have an interesting and challenging road ahead of you as you navigate what it means to be a religious community in the post-pandemic world. You also have ahead of you the many ways you'll find to heal past conflict and navigate disagreements, and the large decision about whether or not to move in the coming years. I hope you'll let yourselves be guided in all of what's ahead by your sense of mission, asking (in one way or another), Who are we called to be together? What difference do we want it to make, that First UU exists? You have terrific people in leadership - both as staff and as volunteers - and I have great confidence that along with them, your next Minister in Residence and then your new Lead Minister will help you gain clarity and map the path ahead. I'm grateful to have joined my life to yours for this little time, and will be eager to see how your next chapters unfold. With respect and affection, Rev. Kathleen McTigue
PROGRESS: The reopening Team met on Saturday March 5 to review together what we currently know about Covid in our area and the direction things are trending. Based on our discussion we are ready to recommend the following ...
PROGRESS: The reopening Team met on Saturday March 5 to review together what we currently know about Covid in our area and the direction things are trending. Based on our discussion we are ready to recommend the following:
We'll be back together again for in-person, outdoor worship services on the patio at our Hillcrest campus! Masked, reasonably distanced, and with a clear expectation that all who can do so will be fully vaccinated. This includes a booster.
Starting February 15, 2022, the Rev. Kathleen McTigue will begin her six-week time with us as our next Minister in Residence. You can read more about Rev. McTigue in this month’s First Words, on page 6. Our current Minister in Residence, Rev. Deanna Vandiver will be ending her time with us in this role but will continue to work with us, along with Rev. Dr. Denise Graves, in our restorative process, Unfolding Peace, throughout this calendar year.
Q. When can we all meet, in-person and outdoors?
Q. When can our choirs rehearse outdoors?
A. We're looking at the end of this month.
Risk levels in San Diego are still "Severe," but we believe a drop, even down to "High," could be enough for us to meet outdoors safely. The team will meet on February 12 to make decisions about in-person outdoor services for late Feb. and early March. Our best guess about when the Omicron wave will pass its peak is anywhere between now and March 1.
Down the road, a further risk-level drop to some fraction of "High" could be enough for us to okay meeting indoors, though we have no guess about that timeframe. We do know that waiting to reach "Medium" could be forever, so that's not our goal.
By Nancy Fisk
Marshall Voit began working in January for First UU as the new Music Director. So far, he’s very impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the welcome he’s received. When in-person singing is allowed, he’ll be directing the Chalice Choir and the Women’s Choir. Until then, he’s collaborating with the other music staff members on our worship services. A native of San Diego, Marshall went to high school in the Poway Unified School District. He credits them with a foundation in music education that has led to his career in choral direction, singing, and playing musical instruments. Raised in the Jewish tradition, his father is a Jewish music leader, and his mother is a rabbi.
Each of us has weathered the past months of congregational changes and challenges as best we could. Without a space or place to share our feelings and what’s weighing on our hearts, remaining in covenant, connectedness, and community has been difficult. As a first step to acknowledge what we’ve experienced, we are implementing a Listening Circle program to share our feelings. Learn more and sign up at our Listening Circles page.
The staff team has worked very hard to get us to the point where we can livestream the Sunday service as it happens at 9:30 am on Sunday morning. This will mean that there will be a few important changes to how the online service will happen, and we wanted to be sure everyone is aware of what will be different.
Help First UU become more of a “happening place” and promote more multi-generational, ethnic, racial, and class diversity at First UU, including greater offerings for events - among members, attendees and families. The Board has created a new board committee to administer the Outreach and Growth Fund (OGF) that was created as part of the generous Renewal and Growth Fund donation to the church in late 2021.
By Rhiannon Roselle, BoardTrustee
October is a month of many spooky things - pumpkin lattes, bats, ghosts, and goblins. It's also time for one thing that ISN'T scary . . . a return to the Annual Pledge Drive! First UU's yearly operations are made possible by member and friend financial commitments which make up 60% of our annual operating budget. It helps keep the programs, facilities, and music you love running. This year's Pledge Drive theme is Back to Basics: Building Our Community. With everyone longing for connection, the Annual Pledge Drive Team is planning something special. By the end of the month, every member will have received an invitation for a personal phone or zoom call or, if they're comfortable, an in-person visit. These personal calls and visits will be a chance to spend time with a fellow First UU congregant and are much more than simply making your financial pledge.
The vote for the execution of the Grant of Easement and Agreement between UC Regents and First UU has passed with yes's from 98.5% of the eligible voters. Thank you for your participation in the voting process.
This year, we are going "Back to Basics: Building Our Community" with our Fall Annual Pledge Drive. With everyone longing for connection, the Annual Pledge Drive Team is planning something special. By the end of October, every member will have received an invitation for a personal phone or zoom call or, if they are comfortable, an in-person visit. These personal calls and visits will be a chance to spend time with a fellow First UU congregant and are much more than simply making your pledge or financial commitment. The Annual Fund Drive is a time to build our connections with each other and with our church. It's a time to get excited about the things we can do in the future - things that will only happen with our financial and energetic involvement! An important aspect this year is we are switching from a "year round" to a "calendar year" pledge drive and we're also moving it to the Fall from the Spring, which will make our annual budgeting process so much easier. Your Annual Pledge Drive Team includes Dave Hunt, Pam Bates, Isaac Castro, Rhiannon Rhys Roselle and Robie Evans. Please watch your home mailbox and your computer inbox for more detailed information about your own financial commitment. Pledge cards will be available every Sunday. If you would like to volunteer to be part of the fundraising outreach, please contact Dave Hunt. For more information, go to our website
Good News from your Board President. We are all looking forward to being back together again in person on our Hillcrest campus for Sunday morning worship services. An amazing donor has given us a gift to purchase and install custom made shade sails for the Hillcrest patio to provide much needed shade while providing 96% UV protection! We hope to have them installed in the next few weeks. The company, SoCal Shade Sails has been installing sail shades for over 25 years. For photos of commercial installations and more info check out their website. The exciting thing is that we have two great references - one from our very own tenant: San Diego Cooperative Preschool who just installed shade sails in their back play yards. And, Palomar UU Fellowship just installed shade sails in their outside area so they could come back together for worshipping outdoors. Both organizations raved about the service and craftsmanship they received from SoCal Shade Sails. We anticipate that this will happen in a few weeks. For more information, please contact board president Julie Forest.
As Rev. Tom Owen-Towle reminded us recently, things around us are always changing and the best approach to life is to be an ever-changing person. Tom's words have special meaning during our current pandemic. Of course not all change is for the worse.
First UU has been selected by Project New Village to receive the Fannie Lou Hamer award at the annual celebration to honor the legacy of that great civil rights leader. The event date is to be announced and the award ceremony will take place at the San Diego Port Pavilion. We hope to purchase a number of tickets to encourage our members to attend. More information will be forthcoming soon. If you're interested in attending please contact Steve Gelb firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a part of their 10-year master plan for the Hillcrest Medical Center, UC Regents/UCSD has asked First UU to sign an Easement Agreement in conjunction with their requested Street Vacation through the City of San Diego for Arbor Drive. Negotiations continue and deadlines are coming soon. Please join us for these important discussions and updates. Download the Special Congregational Meeting Agenda. If you need more information, please email Robie Evans.
Happily we have experienced two in-person large gatherings on our campus, the Saturday evening musical event in honor of Rev. Kathleen, and the Sunday worship service in the meeting house marking the end of her ministry with us after 14 memorable years. In most ways the recommended protocols about masks and distancing were observed, and so far no negative outcomes have been reported. We are pleased to continue recommending more in-person happenings.
"I am very pleased to announce that the FUUSD Board has hired Omega Burckhardt as our assistant minister with a two-year contract. She will begin her ministry with us effective September 19. Here are some words from the soon-to-be ordained Omega Burckhardt." - Julie Forest, FUUSD Board President.
"¡Es un gran honor andar por este camino con Uds.! I am honored to serve as your Assistant Minister beginning in September. In this time of tremendous transition, I look forward to learning about this vibrant community within and beyond the walls of the church buildings, fostering relationships with ministerial and lay leaders, and working towards a shared vision of the Beloved Community of Now and the Future while honoring the traditions and complexities of the past. Juntos honramos el pasado, celebramos el presente, e imaginamos el futuro.
Our experiences with small group meetings are going well. No major issues have arisen, and we feel more confident about how other meetings may go. Any other small groups that wish to begin to meet on campus should apply for permission through Robie Evans. Church groups are free to meet off campus. Vaccinations are recommended. Mask wearing should continue. Of course anyone with symptoms should not participate. Each group leader should keep track of those who attend. Larger groups, up to about 30 people, will now be permitted to meet on campus. Please apply through Robie Evans to get the okay. The on-campus mask "mandate" continues, along with the other recommendations set out for small groups. The church has acquired a portable sound system which could help facilitate large group meetings.
We’re happy to share the very good news that Rev. Michael Brown is coming to serve as Transitional Lead Minister from September – December. He will focus on preaching, pastoral care and Board support. He looks forward to meeting members and friends of the congregation beginning on Sunday, September 5. After December, other transition ministers will come between January – June and your Board will keep you posted on this as we continue to work with the UUA’s Transition Office. We look forward to working with Rev. Brown and are excited about his arrival. Rev. Brown writes that he recently completed a 27-year ministry at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, a pre-civil war church with Universalist roots. During Rev. Brown’s tenure the church grew by nearly 250 adult members, built a new church home, played a leadership role in the community, and received the UUA’s Breakthrough Congregation award. Rev. Brown was a co-founder of the local Interfaith Alliance and received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Leadership Award. After retiring as Minister Emeritus, he and his spouse, lifelong UU Diane F. Brown, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to start a new path, but that path unexpectedly led him to First UUSD for a new chapter of ministry. He joins us with a sense of excitement, appreciation of our congregation, and readiness to serve in a time of transition and new possibilities for caring, community and transforming action.
128 voted. There were 36 absentee votes and 92 regular votes (all weighted equally).
Board Officers (elected with at least 84.38% of the votes): Vice President/Pres. Elect FY21-22 / Pres. FY22-23: Cora Pendergast. Treasurer: David Rogers (one-year term), Rosalba Ciampi (three-year term) and Rhiannon Roselle (three-year term).
Nominating Committee (elected with at least 93.75% of the votes): Sarah Ormond (one-year term) and Mindy Hochgesang (two-year term).
Budget: Passed with 93.75% of the votes.
8th Principle: Passed with 86.72% of the votes.
Statements of Conscience: All passed. #1 (93.75% of the votes), #2 (91.41%), #3 (95.31%), #4 (91.41%), #5 (94.53%), #6 (95.31%), #7 (96.09%), and #8 (92.19%).
If you missed the meeting, please watch the Annual Meeting video (membership login required).
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