UCM Executive Team’s Report of Accomplishments for 2023-2024 

Church Mission & Ends ~ Report of Accomplishments for 2023-2024 Church Year

We Welcome All 

Our congregation embraces people of any age, race, culture, income or social class, learning style, physical ability, mental ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. 

  • Visitors and newcomers feel oriented and comfortable. 
  • We feel responsible for engaging with one another. We stretch our comfort zones to learn from and affirm the differences among us. 
  • We feel safe, accepted and valued. 
  • We feel invited to share our talents and energies, and we feel our presence makes a difference. 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
  • Offered hospitality & welcome for newcomers during and after each weekly service (40 Sundays plus Christmas Eve) (Membership & Hospitality Staff & Volunteers). 
  • Offered ‘New UU’ sessions in the Fall and Spring and conducted ‘New Member Sunday’ in the Spring, welcoming 5 individuals who signed the membership book in the past year (Staff and Membership & Hospitality Volunteers). 
  • Offered opportunities for children and youth to sing with the Choir, and for other musicians from the congregation to share their talents (Music Program/Committee).
  • Partnered with Farmer Ama and Salon Black Walnut to bring BIPOC poetry & dance to the UCM Vestry in February and April, 2024 (Racial Justice Group). 
  • Hosted a church-wide Talent Show in January, 2024 with multi-generational participation (Spiritual Exploration Committee plus ad-hoc volunteers). 
  • Extended our hospitality in a new space (Christ Episcopal Church) for Monday Community Lunch, continuing to welcome program volunteers and guests on a weekly basis (Community Lunch Team). 
  • Welcomed overnight shelter guests to our church building on 3-4 occasions of the coldest winter nights (Overnight Shelter team). 
  • Offered the Fireplace Room as a consistent, alternate space for participating in Sunday morning worship services. 

 

Build Loving Community 

Our loving community needs careful cultivation, so we practice kindness and cherish one another. 

  • We practice seeing the best in others and are comfortable sharing our thoughts and feelings. 
  • We celebrate and deepen our connections by sharing important transitions in our lives (such as birth, loss, coming of age, etc.). 
  • We turn to one another for support and help and notice when support is needed.
  • We take action to make our broader society more loving. 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
  • Welcome anyone caring for a spouse, child, parent, or other loved one in a Zoom meeting every two weeks (UCM CareGivers Support Group). 
  • Hosted and attended Circle Suppers in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024, as well as a Thanksgiving Leftover’s Potluck an All-Church End-of-Year Potluck Brunch (Staff, Board, Membership & Hospitality Volunteers, and ad-hoc supper hosts & participants).
  • Offered “Activities Fairs” in the Fall of 2023 and Spring, 2024, inviting church committees, teams, and groups to table during Coffee Hour, to invite members and friends to participate in various church programs and activities (Staff and Committee of Chairs leaders).
  • Hosted three Committee of Chairs meetings (November; January; and April), providing opportunities for sharing and coordinating committee accomplishments and plans (Executive Team and ad-hoc facilitators). 
  • Hosted the annual Holiday Fair, including a Friday night Cocoa Bar and youth musicians (Holiday Fair Committee). 
  • Formed a multi-church choir to perform at the Community Carol Sing in December, 2023 (Music Program/Committee). 
  • Offered a Jr. Coffee Hour for children and youth on the first Sunday of each month from March-June, 2024 (Spiritual Exploration Committee). 
  • Supported a blossoming Middle School cohort of seven young people with monthly gatherings (Spiritual Exploration Committee). 
  • Maintained a snail-mail ministry for fifteen emerging adults who have recently Bridged from our church community (Spiritual Exploration Committee). 
  • Offered special events to enhance intergenerational connections, including a Beach Day at Wrightsville Reservoir; a non-competitive kickball game, the annual Church Camping Trip at Kettle Pond, and March Mystery Madness (Spiritual Exploration Committee & Camping Committee). 
  • Sponsored social gatherings with educational aspects and supported UCM and local non-profits through fundraising efforts (Women’s Alliance). 

 

Nurture Each Person’s Spiritual Journey 
  • Through music, words, art, and silence, in all stages of life, we each participate in opportunities for reflection, growth, and transformation. 
  • We expand our awareness and continue to discover what is ultimately important.
  • We are inspired to live our values and purposes. 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
  • Past and present UCM Choir members and other area singers joined together in late July, 2023 to rehearse and perform music written in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami; groups of singers performed outdoors at the Montpelier Farmers Market, in front of City Hall, and in front of the Statehouse, prior to the Montpelier Community Forums organized by the City of Montpelier (Music Program/Committee). 
  • Shared a diversity of music, including music from African-American musical traditions and pieces by Native American, Arabic-speaking, South African, and local composers (Music Program/Committee). 
  • Participated in a Living Legacy Pilgrimage to Civil Rights sites in Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery Alabama and shared stories from the experience during our Nov. 26, 2023 worship service, “Bent Towards Justice: Learnings from the Civil Rights Movement.” (Racial Justice Group). 
  • Conducted a four-part exploration of proposed changes to Article II of the UUA Bylaws, “Purposes and Covenant” (Rev. Joan and the Adult Spiritual Exploration Team).
  • Maintained and expanded the Chalice Circle program; supported Adult Spiritual Exploration offerings by other UCM groups; and offered faith development classes/discussions (Adult Spiritual Exploration Team). 
  • Developed partnership with The Everything Space for a study group on “My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem (Adult Spiritual Exploration Team and Racial Justice Group). 
  • Prepared and led forty Sunday morning worship services, in addition to Christmas Eve and Summer Meditation Services, that drew upon a variety of spiritual expressions to support reflection and growth (Rev. Joan and Worship and Arts Committee). 

 

Serve Human Need 
  • Our congregation knows when members, friends and neighbors are in need; respecting privacy, we respond generously. 
  • As a congregation, we seek and act upon effective strategies in our community and around the world to address the root causes of:
    • Violence
    • Poverty, and
    • Injustice
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
  • Contacted members and friends in the current church directory immediately following the July, 2023 flood, to determine their status and respond to any request for support (UCM Caring Network).
  • 44 individuals were available throughout the year, to respond to needs of the congregation (e.g., meals, rides, and other needs) and to offer referrals/suggestions for other church or community services (UCM Caring Network). 
  • Serve a weekly Community Lunch for a diverse group of guests, each of whom is warmly welcomed by UCM volunteers who serve and eat with the guests and offer information and help with other needs and questions; music is provided, and guests and volunteers are often invited to sing and sometimes even dance; provide home deliveries and take-out meals (Community Lunch Team).
  • Provide hot beverages and breakfast snacks to guests who arrive in need of warmth and companionship before the Community Lunch is ready to be served (Community Lunch Team).
  • Deliver leftover Community Lunch meals to Another Way (Community Lunch Team).
  • Contribute financial resources to local non-profit organizations aligned with UCM’s Mission (Community Pouch Team). 
  • Co-sponsored the May, 2024 Public Worship: Shine On Beautiful & Resilient People service, a fundraiser of the Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) (Racial Justice Group). 
  • Over a dozen UCM members and friends joined the March 2, 2024 Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Moral March and State House Assembly, organized by the Vermont Poor People’s Campaign (Rev. Joan and Racial Justice Group). 
  • A few UCM members participated in regular meetings and joined advocacy efforts of Vermont Interfaith Action’s affordable housing and homelessness committee. 

 

Protect the Earth, Our Home 
  • We see ourselves as one, but only one, of the precious species to be protected on our planet. 
  • We actively investigate and learn about the impact of human activity upon Earth.
  • In all our decisions as a congregation, we consider carefully what resources of the earth we are using. 
  • We work for political, economic, and cultural changes that protect biodiversity and address the causes of human over-population and climate change. 
  • We support one another to make the difficult and urgent personal changes necessary to live sustainably. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
  • Provided copies of Greta Thunberg’s “The Climate Book” to members and friends of the congregation and hosted group book discussions (Climate Action Team). 
  • Brought the 1.5-degree lifestyles initiative to the congregation’s attention (Climate Action Team). 
  • Held an open discussion on ways to take personal action to reduce carbon emissions, and asked congregants to take a personal pledge (Climate Action Team). 
  • Partner with Community Harvest of Central Vermont and The Vermont Food Bank for fresh produce and protein used in the weekly Community Lunches, building community and reducing waste (Community Lunch).
  • Hosted a lecture by Al Freeman, Climate Forester for the VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, about visible and future changes to Vermont forests, in February, 2024 (Grace Clarke Lecture Series). 

 

~ Report submitted by the UCM Executive Team, May 30, 2024 

(L to R) Donna Russo-Savage, Leslie Parr, Rev. Joan, Dawn Evans