Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


Annual Meeting Highlights 2015

Author Nadine Sapirman, Written May 21, 2015

On Sunday, May 17, we held our UUCSH Annual Meeting.  Thanks to those who were able to attend to exercise their right to vote, and their voices, as Voting Members of the congregation.

If you didn’t have a chance to read the Minister’s, Director of Lifespan Faith Development’s and President’s reports, I encourage you to look through them.  They were sent in an email from the congregation on May 11.

As many of you may know, expressing gratitude is an important part of my spiritual practice.  I was able to thank both those members of UUCSH whose elected terms were ending, and the hard-working members of the UUCSH Access Committee.  It takes many volunteers to make our very active congregation run smoothly.  It has been humbling to work alongside so many dedicated volunteers.  Thanks to all who give of their time and energy to benefit our faith community!

For months, we’ve been talking about the recommended by-laws changes that would reduce the number of elected leaders at UUCSH.  At any given time, about 25% of our active adult members are serving in elected office.  That has led to some volunteer burnout, and the inability to fill positions.  At Sunday’s Annual Meeting, we had some healthy discussion about implications of the elected leader reduction.  It will mean more task forces and ad hoc groups.  It will also mean more people helping with some of the tasks that elected leaders are currently performing.
The by-laws changes, that were approved on Sunday, reduce the overall number of elected positions at UUCSH by 30%–from 23 to 15.  There will now be:
– 3 Trustees (down from 7) on the Board of Trustees, for a total of 8 members;
– 4 members of the Committee on Shared Ministry (down from 6); and
– 3 members of the Nominating/Leadership Development Committee (down from 5).
Text of the approved by-laws changes is here: Proposed bylaws text changes 18May2015

A question was raised about power and influence being concentrated in a smaller number of leaders now.  With the levels of transparency and communication that UUCSH has, it is my sincere belief that the business of the congregation will continue to transpire ethically and smoothly.  We also reminded folks of the opportunities for engagement with elected leaders.  Board Meetings are open to all (except in the rare instance of personnel matters being discussed), and questions are always welcome!

The other big vote at the Annual Meeting was approving the 2015-16 budget.  Again, this was preceded by healthy discussion, comments, and questions about the congregation’s expenses, Working Capital, lack of raises for our staff, and down-the-road implications of an austere budget like the one we had to approve this time.  Several people expressed their disappointment that the staff were not able to have pay increases next year.  The reality is that, as a self-supporting faith community, we can only spend money that members and friends contribute.   The congregation approved the proposed budget of $260,790 for 2015-16.  Thanks to our Treasurer, Peter Hansch, for his excellent explanation and management of our finances.  And thank you to all who pledge your financial support to UUCSH; every pledge is very important.

If you have further questions about what you may have missed at the UUCSH Annual Meeting, please ask!