Chalice Lighting

For opening words, Jon read song lyrics from the musical Rent: Seasons of Love. “Let’s celebrate and remember a year in the  life of friends…measure your life in love.”

Christian welcomed our new Board members, Jen Bain, John Duggar, and Sean Golan.


  • May 31- Board Retreat ( Please be there in time for dinner, at 5:30 p.m.
  • June 2- Ethical Decision Making in Medicine, at 11:30 a.m.
  • June 9 – Book Discussion with Rev. Taryn Strauss- White Fragility: Why it is so hard for White People to Talk about Racism, at 11:30 a.m.
  • June 9- 2650 Tour, from 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. (Board members are encouraged to attend.)
  • June 15- Goodbye/Good Wishes Celebration- for Anthony 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (
  • June 19-23- General Assembly in Spokane Washington (Jennifer and Christian will attend.)
  • June 28- PRIDE Night Out- 7:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. (

Thank You Messages for the Month

Chris Martin and Christine Strain for leading the music during service. John D. and Jen B. for being born this month and for their contribution as Board members.

Circle of Connection

Board members shared their hope/dream for the Board’s work this year: hope for no emergency meetings; wildly successful capital campaign; that the Board goes the extra mile to support Taryn; that the Healthy Relations Team gets traction on the ground; hope that Travis’ job becomes easier; that a shovel goes into the ground at our new home; that humor continues to lighten the load and that we build new relationships; and that we have a consensus among congregants on what we do with new property.

Communication Strategy for the Board

In the recent two years, Board communication has not been robust; likely due to the many pressing and unusual demands on Board member’s time due to changing circumstances related to changes in ministry and building. In the past, the Board had a monthly report and then column in the newsletter “Above Board.” Especially during times of change, the congregation needs to hear from the Board and understand what is happening. Nicole recommends that the Board have more of a presence on social media and in our newsletter. We currently have the Board information on the website. The minutes and Board page are not visited often by those who go to our website. Christian will manage an Instagram account, to which Board members can post snapshots, to help congregants feel more connected. Nicole said it does not require huge news, but even smaller items. What do we think the congregation wants to hear from us? Sean said updates on Project Phoenix, or staffing changes. Travis suggested that we let the congregation know what the Board did in the past year and what we hope to do in the next year. Jen Bain (a professional communicator) feels it is better that we give the congregation what they want to hear, rather than what we think is important. Jen thinks folks would like to know about opportunities for engagement. Jen thinks that the human angle (such as, that Jon Johnson read lyrics from Rent) is more interesting than a committee report. Christian agreed that it must be a combination of personal and human, as well as important decisions and accomplishments. Sharon felt that the congregation should know about the Board covenant and how seriously the Board takes its commitment to representing the congregation. Nicole acknowledges that there is a lot of content; the challenge is to share this in an engaging way. No one wants to read minutes and documents. Travis suggested that each Board member share which part of the Board covenant is important to them. Nicole recommended that we should be clear on what the congregation needs/wants to hear from us before creating content. It is important that congregants understand that we are also congregants, and are not authority figures. Jen Bain said we should share about the “why” more than just the “what and how.” Dave said we should bifurcate the work of Project Phoenix and the Board. Sean agreed saying that there is anxiety regarding all the changes and uncertainties we are facing. The Board is the symbol of UUCA’s stability and future growth. Bryce asked how to get the message to the congregation. Instagram can reach some, Facebook might reach others, the weekly update another group. We must fix the communication tool before we send the message. John D. recommended that we make our communications faster and pithier. Maybe a quick digest of  Board meetings -not the minutes, but the highlights. Bryce thought that more people would read minutes if they could find them more easily.

Jon J. suggested we consider publishing the Board of Trustees meeting agenda each month, maybe in the Weekly Update, the week prior to the meeting. What are the goals of our communication (and how do we determine if we have been successful?) Which communication tools do we use and how can our tools be improved to convey our message? How can we make our message compelling? The Board thanked Nicole for her suggestions.

Annual Vision of Ministry (AVOM) Overview

  • Financial Health of the Congregation*
  • Next year’s Congregational Retreat will be held the weekend after Easter.
  • There are many new leaders for congregational programs this year.
  • Search committees are being formed for positions of DRE and Membership Coordinator.
  • Staff are undergoing evaluations. This year we are having 360 evaluations.
  • Month of Love: Those who were contacted loved the calls; however, it was very difficult to reach people due to the fact that many people do not answer unknown numbers. Also, the database is not up-to-date (obsolete numbers, people who only visited UUCA once, etc.).

Decisive Action

The Minutes from the April 2019 Board Meeting were approved via email.


Bryce asked the Board to approve the financials from January through April 2019. Dave moved that we accept the report as of April 30 and Sean seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Bryce said he feels very confident about the figures and understanding our finances. The committee decided to ask our CPA firm, Brooks, McGinnis, and Company, to continue consulting with us for a short while longer and retain them for the next budget year. The Finance Committee (FinCom) asked them for a proposal to handle all of the financials, just to see what it would look like. Travis supported using Brooks, McGinnis, if our budget allows. The FinComm will lose Jon Johnson, Carol Ann Arvan and Bill Kramer; and will gain Jennifer Thilo. The committee needs two more Board members. It meets the third Monday of the month and more often, as needed. John D. asked about the transfers from PP to operations. Bryce clarified that although the allocation had been authorized previously, $365,000. was allocated to be distributed over three years. However, we have not needed to use it for operations since our pledge dollars have covered our expenses thus far. We lost a month on the feasibility study due to the need (from Coxe Curry and architect) for more detail on certain planned projects such as do we want a day care or a pre-school, or do we plan to have a soup kitchen, etc. Volunteers are meeting and fleshing out visions, but it is time consuming. We are also conducting a demographic survey of the congregation. We want to be sure that the survey is well thought through. A consultant and Board members vetted it and offered their revisions. We will be meeting with Anthony to learn as much as possible before he leaves, particularly related to potential donors.

Project Phoenix

Deann’s Mom passed away. PP is focussing on community engagement while the feasibility study is being conducted. There will be a “tagging party” to spray paint on the back building that will be torn down, an open house will be held on June 9, to show the new building again, garden activities are planned. The public phase of the capital campaign will likely be held in January. We will be fortunate to be in our new building by late 2020. We have our current location (Tree house)  through October 31 2021.


The Board read and edited the Board Covenant in anticipation of signing and fully embracing it at our Board Retreat.

Home Learning for next Month (June):

UUCA Bylaws and UUCA Board Policies

Christian asked all Board members to read the Board Bylaws and Board Policies, so as to be familiar with them by the retreat. A follow-up exercise will be held at the next Board meeting.

Board Needs: 

Donuts and Discussion- June 30, with the Feasibility Study as the topic.

* Secretary- Sean Golan

* Nominating Committee –Jon Johnson will serve as the Board Liaison on this committee

* FinCom- Jennifer Thilo and  Jen Bain

* Capital Campaign Steering Committee- The Board will seek advice from Coxe Curry regarding this.

Open Question- What is the woundedness in Atlanta we want to heal?

Jon said this process has evolved over the year. He hopes to discuss this more at the retreat. He will look to the leadership of Rev. Strauss and seek buy-in from congregants, in a way similar to gaining affirmation for ARAOMC, by holding town hall  meetings.

Board Committees Overview to Support New Members: (2 min. max)

Healthy Relationships Discernment (Jennifer)

Jennifer described the work of the team last year (developing a way forward) and the goals for the team next year (implementing it.)

ARAOMC Discernment & Way Forward Team (Sharon)

Tony Stringer, Kevin Stephenson, and Anthony served with Sharon. Taryn will join the committee next year and is hoping for one other Board member to join the committee. Tony recommended that we form an ARAOMC advisory council to consult with ministers, Board, and committees upon the request.

Bylaw Committee (Sharon)

Reviews and revises any bylaws that may no longer serve our congregation. The committee met once last season, due to other pressing concerns; however, several past UUCA presidents, including Carol Ann, have volunteered to serve on this committee. Perhaps the Board will have suggestions for the committee.

PEM (Christian)

This is how Jennifer and Christian monitor the performance of the Executive (Taryn)

Board Meeting Roles and Details

Christian explained the Board responsibilities for each meeting and asked that each Board member sign up for at least one of the volunteer opportunities and consider filling in extra shifts as needed.

Board Retreat Items

* Carpool- Does everyone have a way to get to the retreat? Yes, everyone is prepared.

* Snacks- bring snacks for the social. Bring your beverages of choice.

* Reading- The Illusion of Congregational Happiness

Christian asked everyone to select a sentence, a phrase and a word from this reading to use during an exercise during the retreat.

* Open Question and Annual Vision of Ministry

* Agenda- Please read prior to the retreat

Process Observation

Yes, we observed our covenant and maintained good will and good humor. We fell down some rabbit holes, but Christian guided us back onto the track and we are closing on time. We did honor our ARAOMC covenant. The high moment was when we discussed bringing beverages to the retreat and the low moment was when we were trying to discuss and understand our communication objectives. The opening words were the most meaningful moment.

Extinguishing the Chalice

Jon’s Closing Words were lyrics from the song Ragtime: Make them Hear You!