Message from the Board & Rev. Joan, July 21, 2023

Message from the Board

Dear UCM community,

Our hearts go out to our whole community in the wake of the disastrous flood that has upended our lives and led to so much damage and loss.

Thank you to the many dozens of volunteers who have been able to assist with the initial stages of cleaning up our dear building. Others have reached out to church friends and neighbors, shared food and meals, and supported our broader community in countless ways. We are so grateful to be part of this loving and caring congregation.

With initial clean up of the building having taken place over the past week and a half, we have now established a Flood Recovery Team made up of members of the Board and Executive Team as well as the Property and Finance Committees and key staff. They are moving forward with the next steps in repairing and restoring the building including making plans for mold remediation and for the replacement of essential infrastructure such as our water heater. They are also investigating all possible avenues of funding our recovery needs.

While almost everything in the basement was lost due to flooding, we are thankful that our new heating system, which had been installed at 2 feet above the 100 year floodplain, as part of our AQP project, appears to have survived the flood.  The old heating systems would not have survived the flooding. Also, the new ventilation system is intact.

We are working to ensure that we are following the necessary bylaws and policies of the church while we engage in this unanticipated work. You are likely to hear more from us about how the congregation may need to be engaged in this process, so stay tuned.

Some of you have asked how you can support the church financially during this time. First and foremost, please continue to fulfill your pledge to the church budget as you are able or make a pledge if you have not already done so. Pledge donations can be made online, and mailed checks will also be received.

We have also established a UCM Flood Recovery Fund. If it is within your means, please consider making a donation and inviting friends and family to donate as well. While we are still estimating the total costs to repair and restore the building for normal operations, we know that the costs will be significant. You can give to the flood recovery fund in the following ways:

  1. Go to and select “Give to Flood Recovery Fund” in the first drop-down menu.
  2. Text donation amount and the word “flood” (e.g. $50 flood) to (802) 266-4848.
  3. Mail a check to Unitarian Church of Montpelier, 130 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602 with “Flood Recovery” in the memo line.

All donations are tax deductible.

In the days ahead, we will be considering how this flood disaster impacts our understanding of our church mission and our vision for our congregation in the coming years as we all collectively face the impacts of the climate crisis. This is a moment to both come together to care for one another and also to more thoughtfully and deeply live our Unitarian Universalist values of interdependence, justice and equity, and transformation with Love at the center.

If you would like to be in touch with the Board, you can email Claudia Clark, newly appointed Board President.


UCM Governing Board
Ansel Ploog (Vice-President), Brenda Bean (Secretary), Claudia Clark (President), Fran Dodd (Financial Officer), Hugo Liepmann, and Steve Gold

Message from the Minister

Beloved UCM Community,

My heart is with you as we continue to respond to the flood disaster that has so profoundly impacted our congregation and community. With much of the adrenaline of the first few days of crisis response beginning to wear off, I am starting to feel more deeply the lasting impacts of this traumatic event. I imagine you are as well.

There is still much to do to clean, repair, and restore our building, and many in our community will be facing practical and existential questions of what comes next in the days, weeks, and months ahead. With more distance from the immediacy of the crisis, many of us are also starting to grapple with the causes of the extreme rainfall and flooding and wondering what we can do to meaningfully address the climate crisis and adapt to a climate-changed world. It is a lot to take in.

At the same time, it has been nurturing to my spirit to witness so many people helping one another in this time of need. While there are still mounds of refuse lining the streets, roads in disrepair, and even mud still in basements and driveways, there are also so many people doing what they can to be of service and support. Summer is also still a glorious season. How delightful to see butterflies and hummingbirds flitting about and to hear the sounds of children splashing in the city pool and fans cheering on the Mountaineers.

We will all continue to feel emotional ups and downs as time passes from the initial days of this crisis. I found it helpful to review this video of the Rev. Aaron Payson explaining the life-cycle of a disaster. (The first 17 minutes go over the basics of the life-cycle, and I also recommend the entire video for your viewing.)

The UU Trauma Response Ministry team has been in touch with me since last week to offer their support. Members of the UUTRM will be available this coming Wednesday, July 26 at 10:30am on Zoom for a Listening Circle. This is an opportunity to share your thoughts, cares, and concerns following the flooding that has impacted so many of us since last week. Feel free to join as we gather to support each other during this time. Register here to receive the Zoom meeting information. Another listening circle is being scheduled that will take place in person in the next couple of weeks. The exact date, time, and location are being determined, so stay tuned.

There will also be other opportunities in the coming weeks to gather with the UCM community. Summer meditation services will be held at Beth Jacob Synagogue. The bimonthly morning meditation group continues and is open to all. This Sunday, in lieu of the weekend camping trip, anyone is welcome to join in a day at Boulder Beach State Park in Groton with an outdoor worship service at 11am. And, there will be an Evening Service for Healing and Connection this Wednesday at 6:30pm at the Capital City Grange. You can read this week’s e-newsletter for more details on all of those events.

More than anything, I hope that you will be gentle with yourself and others as we proceed into the days and weeks ahead. Our spiritual wholeness and connection with others are at the heart of our strength, courage, and resilience. Make space for your own processing and rest and offer your presence to others. With hearts open wide and grounded in love, we can reach out to help and to be helped. We can make the way of a thriving, just, and sustainable present and future.

In faith and hope,
Rev. Joan