President’s Column by Gaye Webb


At its February meeting, the Board began its preparation for the Annual Congregational Meeting in May – save the date for this important event, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 23, 2021 at noon. As is our usual custom, we will ask you to approve our budget for our new fiscal year beginning June 1, elect new Board members (President-Elect, Treasurer, and two at-large members) and two members for our nominating committee. The Board may also present other items for your approval depending on our deliberations over the next couple of months.

We will soon begin our annual stewardship drive to ask you to commit a portion of your financial resources to our new annual operating budget. While the Board is still gathering information to develop and recommend a budget for your consideration and approval, we hope to present to you a balanced budget. You might recall that last year, you approved a deficit budget of more than $10,000 with faith that we would not realize that deficit. The good news is that your faith just might turn into reality. The bad news is that a reduction in paid staff via resignations is the reason why we may end the year with equal income and expenses.

With a lean staff now, it’s the perfect time for the minister and Board to evaluate our paid staff needs not only for next fiscal year but for the foreseeable future. We will consider the ministry priorities you identified during the Mission and Vision process and which of these ministries might need professional paid leadership.

Other budget considerations the Board is undertaking relate to:

· Completion of our building construction – which will incur operating expenses for some portion of the fiscal year – phone, internet, security, utilities, insurance, property and land maintenance, etc.

· Determination of when it will be safe to return to in-person gatherings and the relationship of the “safe” time to the “building completion” time

· Determination of the best time to enter into a search for a settled ministry and the related expenses

The Board members volunteered to pair up to work, along with others in the congregation, on each of these themes and will provide a status report at the March board meeting. Some of you may be asked to join one of the working groups; if you are, I urge you to say “yes.” If you aren’t, the Board still wants and needs your input. I will ask the Board to schedule one or two town hall meetings in March to share our “findings” with you and to ask for your suggestions and feedback. At its April meeting, the Board will consolidate and consider all your input to create and recommend an operating budget for 2021-2022.

Regardless of the amount of the total expenses, the future of our congregation depends on YOU – the members and friends of Brazos UU. Your financial commitments provide 85-90% of our annual budget. As you consider your pledge to our annual operating budget, we encourage you to look into your hearts to see how much love, generosity, faith, and gratitude you hold there for our beloved church community – and make a pledge to our annual operating budget that represents your commitment to our future.

As a reminder, our building fundraising drive kicked off in February. Your donation and pledges for our new building will help us realize our dreams for our future home. Your donation and pledges to our annual operating budget help us provide services to our members, friends, visitors and the larger communities no matter our physical or virtual location. Give to the level that makes you feel good and proud to be a UU.

I encourage you to reach out to me at any time – I welcome your questions, your suggestions, and your concerns.

Blessings,

Gaye

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Meet Our Minister

The Rev. Christian Schmidt is our interim minister, and first became a Unitarian Universalist in this congregation where he was an active member from 2006-2009. He has since served congregations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. His interests include his family (including four little boys he and his wife are raising), sports, and theology.    minister@brazos-uu.org

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