End-of-Year-Letter from the UCM Board

End of the 2023-24 Church Year ~ Letter from the UCM Board

As witnessed in various reports included in the FY2024 Annual Report for the Unitarian Church of Montpelier (UCM), this has been a tumultuous time for UCM. Having come to the end of that church year, we are feeling tremendous gratitude for having come through so much not only intact as a congregation, but, as seen during our June 9 Service, having flowered as a loving, supportive community still strongly committed to our Mission

The July flood’s severe impacts on UCM’s ministries and physical space; staffing transitions and unplanned vacancies (specifically the Sexton position early in the church year and the Administrator position late in the church year); the ongoing vacancy in our Treasurer position; and the initial absence of a Governing Board Chair have been just some of the significant challenges for both the Minister and Lay leadership this church year. The exceptional responses to the flood from members of the congregation and the broader community can’t possibly be adequately recognized ~ And, as is also demonstrated in the Annual Report’s committee reports, UCM continues to depend not only on our Minister, but also on the dedicated participation and leadership of dozens of congregation members and friends, to carry out its mission. The Board is so grateful for all that you have done. 

The Board expresses its deep and heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous work of our Minister, the Executive Team, the Flood Recovery Unitarian Universalist Team (FRuuT), and the entire staff, all of whose extraordinary work enabled UCM’s successful emergence from the flood and the year’s other challenges. We also want to thank specific individuals, including: Claudia Clark, who stepped up to be Board Chair; Fran Dodd, who has worked continuously to clarify the church’s finances; and Janet Poeton, who provided key leadership in re-establishing the five-day Community Lunch program shared among five city churches. While all of the members of the FRuuT were dedicated and extraordinarily hard-working, Phil Morse, Brenda Bean, and Kris Hammer were especially tireless in their efforts and leadership. The tremendous efforts of these individuals, and especially Reverend Joan, to address this year’s particular challenges, ensured that our congregation, our Mission, and our building not only survived but prevailed.

We also thank the congregation for its approval of the FY25 General and Capital Fund budgets, and for pledging to support those budgets. The Board and other stewards who were deeply involved with that essential effort are grateful for the acts of faith required to raise and commit to those pledges/funds! 

Based on the Board’s Policy-defined obligation to look and lead forward, the four Board members who will remain on the Board next church year anticipate incorporating our new Board members, creating an effective working group, and then developing a clear set of shared intentions. These may include: improving our overall funding situation; working closely with the Minister to refine the Minister’s job description; renewing our Vision statement and developing a new strategic plan based on congregation-wide input that will look forward for at least three to five years; and, within the framework of the new Vision and strategic plan, moving our climate resiliency project forward to address the long-term sustainability of our Congregation’s efforts to carry out our Mission. 

We hope for and wish all members and friends of UCM a peaceful and enjoyable summer and a joyous return to our beloved community come September. When we return, we anticipate that we will have a new elevator serving us between the Vestry and the Sanctuary, and that we will have made significant progress in reestablishing our kitchen. 

Please join us in gratitude for our out-going Board members: Claudia Clark, Fran Dodd and Hugo Liepmann. Thank you for your diligence, thoughtfulness, and commitment! 

In peace and gratitude, 

The ‘23-’24 UCM Governing Board 

(L to R) Brenda Bean, Hugo Liepmann, Steve Gold, Claudia Clark, Jen Matthews, Fran Dodd, Ansel Ploog