UUCA Congregational Meeting

December 13, 2020

Board Members: Jennifer Thilo, President, Sean Golan, President-Elect, Maureen McAndrews, Secretary, Jason Delaney, Finance Chair, Jen Bain, John Merkel, Allen Lee, Sha’Ron Glass, John Duggar

Welcome: Jennifer Thilo, President

Chalice Lighting:  Sean Golan, President-Elect

Introduction of the Healthy Relations Committee (HRC):  John Merkel, Erin Golan, Ines Hoster, Doug Abel. Members of the HRC read the Covenant of Healthy Relations; the HRC has a website that can be accessed for more information on the work of the committee.

Democratic Process: Jennifer Thilo, President

Today we will vote on the budget for fiscal year 2021 and whether to authorize the board to obtain a loan to be used to renovate our new home at 2650 North Druid Hills. This loan will not exceed pledged payments, and will allow us to begin construction before all funds have been received.  

Ten percent of the voting members of the Congregation constitutes a quorum for the passage of budgets; twenty percent of the voting members of the Congregation constitutes a quorum for all other business such as authorizing the board to obtain a loan. Therefore, today we must have 20% of our members in order to accomplish all business.

In order to cast a vote you must have been a member of the congregation for at least 60 days, and have a financial contribution of record that is in a form making it attributable to the member. Members of a pledging unit that have made a contribution of record shall be considered to have met this obligation. 


Parliamentarians: June Lester, George Macon

Secretary: Maureen McAndrews

Tellers and Time Keepers: Carl Pelizza, Chris Martin

Process Observer:  Sha’Ron Glass 

Determination of quorum: The nominating committee


Meeting Protocols, how votes will be cast – Jennifer Thilo (per slides)

Quorum Determination- Carl Pelizza and Chris Martin determined quorum had been achieved.

Approval of Minutes of May 2020 Congregational Meeting

Motion to postpone approval of the minutes until they have been posted – Maureen McAndrews, Second – Chris Martin. 

Vote: Approved 96%, Nay 4%.

Finance Trustee Report, Review of the Budget Process and Proposed Budget for 2021- Jason Delaney (see slide presentation of financials)

Jason moved to approve the amended 2021 budget summary as presented today (see slide).

Second by Sean Golan.


How much is the rent for the treehouse? The lease has been renegotiated since the pandemic, to approximately – $10,000 per month. 

What quorum do we have? Over 20%. 

In terms of hiring an associate minister, what is the year you referred to? Calendar year. 

So the contract year of the anticipated associate minister would start in July? Position is budgeted to start in March;  contract will cross 2 budget years; it is prorated. 


Vote to amend the budget as described in the financial report  presented today. Yes: 99%, Nay 1%.

Vote to approve the budget as amended: Yes: 100%

Capital Campaign Report- Ellen Beatie and John Guyton

See slides. 45 visitors, 302 campaign visits. $4,205,798 (284 pledges), $1,300,000 cash in hand

Stewardship $705,285 (94% of goal, 304 pledges)

Project Phoenix Update-DeAnn Peterson  (see slides)

Motion to approve a construction loan not to exceed $4,000,000: De-Ann Peterson 

Second: Carol Ann Arvan


Do we know what financial institution we will use? There is a committee looking at  several banks –  our current bank, Amaris, Citizens Trust, and one more. All the banks are impressed with us, our history, the capital campaign we have conducted.  

What is the interest rate? We don’t know yet. The loan is like a line of credit and we will only pay interest on the amount we borrow. Comment: construction loans are common, I had one for a house I built and it worked the same way. 

Why do we need a loan when we have $1.3 million (capital campaign pledges that have already come in) and $2 million (balance from sale of Cliff Valley building)? We will use those funds first, then borrow only what we need. We aren’t entirely sure what the construction costs will be yet (we have estimates, but prices have changed since the pandemic). We won’t get all the pledge money right away. This loan will allow us to have the money when we need it. 

Are we looking at institutions from banks from historically marginalized communities? Yes.

The Board unanimously approved a construction loan not to exceed $4,000,000 at its November 17th meeting.

Vote: Yes: 156 , No: 1

Senior Minister’s Report- Rev. Taryn Strauss

Every year I select a word for the year; this year that word was grace. After all that, now adding generosity, grit, great, grace, glory. I’m so proud of this congregation, I never doubted we would reach our goals.

Last year, I attended a gathering of large church ministers and asked about who they used for fundraising. Jim Klote, Inc. was the unanimous answer. They “get us” and understand how to talk about money. After interviews with him by myself, John Guyton, Ellen Beatty and other members of the Capital Campaign Committee, Klote was hired and Glenn Wagner took up residence, in Atlanta, for the run of the campaign. We made a deep connection with him, and vice versa. 

Thanks to the campaign committee, the audio-visual volunteer staff, the Worship Team and the Staff.

Annual Vision of the Ministry presentation – see slides. 

Board President’s Report: Jennifer Thilo

Our Light Shines – see slides. Thanks to Staff, Board, PP Team, etc., and all congregants who have shared their talents and energy. Capital Campaign Team has knocked it out of the park. Stewardship Team. The Board of Trustees. 

Next year, we as a congregation will be engaging on a journey to discern our goals. We will consider the powerful question: Building on our resilience, what transformations will we develop and nurture within ourselves, our congregation, and the world? 

Process Observer: Sha’Ron Glass

Observed our covenant with respectful communication… Yes on all counts. No conflict or dissent.

Remain on task? Yes absolutely. Agenda discussed ARAOMC in mention of work for Black Lives, social justice work mentioned by Taryn Strauss. High-energy moment: Report on the capital campaign and stewardship drive. Low-energy moment: Not sure there was one. Most meaningful moment: Difficult to select one of the many meaningful parts. Taryn Strauss’s expression of grace, gratitude and glory for everyone in the congregation and what it has done to realize our dreams of getting into our new home.

Closing Words: Sean Golan, President-Elect