News – November 26, 2021
Dear Beloved Community:
The Board voted unanimously to officially endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or H.R. 2307. It is a plan to reduce America’s carbon pollution to net zero by 2050 through charging a carbon fee for all coal, oil, or natural gas products that enter the US economy. The money from the carbon fees will be “recycled” to the American people through monthly carbon dividends. You can read all about it here: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/laser-talks/energy-innovation-and-carbon-dividend-act/.
Supporting such creative efforts to fight global warming through equitable means is consistent with our UU values of honoring the earth and the interconnected web of living things, as well as honoring the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and working to build a better world.
The final installation of the HVAC units was a success. Hooray! We are now fully prepared to handle the next heat wave, whenever it may occur. Unfortunately, the kitchen is not. On the same day that our fabulous new stove was installed, the freezer quit working. The necessary parts are on backorder, so we don’t know how long we will be without it. In what appears to be a gesture of appliance solidarity, the fridge has also been acting wonky lately – although it has not completely stopped working. We are hoping that it can be repaired with parts that are more readily available.
thoreau campus UPDATE
We are happy to share that The Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Bend County has been accepted as a Covenanting Community by the UUA. As described by the UUA: “Covenanting communities” are alternative Unitarian Universalist spiritual communities that take many forms and maintain formal ties to the Unitarian Universalist Association. They include artist collectives, small meeting groups, campus ministries, housing cooperatives, community centers, and more. Being a covenanting community allows a group to stay rooted in Unitarian Universalism even if it looks and works differently from a traditional congregation. Becoming a recognized Covenanting Community can be a first step towards becoming a recognized congregation. This link provides more information: https://www.uua.org/files/pdf/c/covenanting_communities_faq_7.11.17.docx.pdf
It is not yet clear how this development affects our ability to return to negotiations regarding the property at Clayhead Road. First UU’s agreement with the UUA regarding negotiations is that we will not proceed until we are notified directly that we have been cleared to do so. As of now, we have not received such notice. Reverend Bossen and I have reached out to the UUA to request clarification and await a response. In the meantime, the committee that was formed to gather information about the options for possible disposition of the property has been hard at work, and is on track to have a full report ready for the December 20th Board meeting.
DEVELOPMENTAL MINISTRY UPDATE
Identity – Mission/Vision/Covenant
“What kind of a church do we want to become?”
Members of the Committee on Mission, Vision, and Covenant are reading the book Unlocking the Power of Covenant and will begin working with Rev. Bossen when he returns from study leave. It is a UUA publication, available through this link: https://www.uuabookstore.org/Unlocking-the-Power-of-Covenant-P19008.aspx
Governance, Ministry and Administration:
“How can we have a healthy relationship with our Senior Minister and with the UUA?”
Implement and refine our new Principles of Governance, including our new management and administrative structure.
The Board adopted new Rules for Conduct of Activities of the Board of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, which can be found on the web site under the Governance tab. This document outlines the basic operating procedures to be followed at Board meetings, including the handling of minutes.
Multiculturalism, Anti-racism, and Inclusion:
“How can we increase diversity in our church and work to dismantle white supremacy?”
Reverend Scott participated with several members of FUUCH as well as others from across Houston in a TMO meeting with the new police chief to “respectfully demand” that a civilian oversight committee be formed to monitor the HPD. Chief Finner was receptive and said he would not stand in the way of the work to create this much-needed avenue for providing accountability and transparency in policing.
The Transformation Committee continues to meet regularly and
will begin gathering initial input from the congregation in the coming weeks.
“What is our vision for multi-site?
Two meetings are scheduled to provide opportunities for members to process the multi-site chapter of our FUUCH story. The first will be in person on December 1 at 7:00 pm, and the second will be by Zoom December 8 at 7:00. These meetings will be a time to address questions and feelings that members have about how we began multi-site ministry in the first place, what it meant, and how and why it ended. Watch the newsletter for more details about these meetings.
Growth and Membership Engagement:
“More people should be here with us – how do we engage them?”
The next Spanish language service will be held Christmas Eve at 5:00. Given the amazing success of the first one, we are expecting good things!
After seeing the success of our virtual pandemic services and the considerable number of people who continue to attend online, we have decided to continue broadcasting services for the time being. In addition, the popular Minister’s Forum — originally intended to be a “Lockdown Special” — will return on a bi-monthly basis, starting in January.
Together, we have much to be thankful for, as well as much more to do. It has always been so. As we enter the holiday season, may we be mindful of both these truths in our work and our celebrations.
President of the Board of Directors
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston