Former Sanctuary Guest No Longer Permitted on UUS:E Property

Dear UUS:E Members and Friends:

This is a difficult, though necessary message.

Those of you who were involved in UUSE’s congregational life in the two years prior to the pandemic will remember the challenges we encountered in hosting a sanctuary guest, known to us as Rocky, from October of 2018 to October of 2019. Rocky’s time with us created a painful conflict among members of the congregation. A report on the sanctuary conflict was released to the congregation in June of 2021. If you would like to read the report, please feel free to contact Rev. Josh at [email protected].

This past May, Rocky was arrested in New York City on multiple charges related to a sexual assault on an adult. He ultimately pled guilty to a felony sexual assault and was incarcerated for over six months on Rikers Island. During his incarceration he periodically called the UUS:E office. During his final month in prison he called the office frequently. Given Rocky’s behavior during his time at UUS:E; given that he pled guilty to felony sexual assault; given that he doesn’t appear to show understanding of why his actions were wrong; and given that he appears to take no responsibility for his role in the conflict that swirled around him during and after his stay at UUS:E, the UUS:E Policy Board, with six voting members present at a special meeting on March 6th, voted unanimously to bar him from access to UUS:E property and events. Please note that as we present this situation to the congregation, we have endeavored to be as accurate as possible and to avoid speculation about any events. We request that the congregation do likewise.

Here is the Policy Board’s motion from March 6th:

Our former sanctuary guest, known to us as Rocky, is not permitted on UUS:E property, or at any UUS:E-sponsored event, including online events. We will attempt to notify Rocky of this decision, ideally in writing. We will also notify the congregation. If Rocky does come onto UUS:E’s property or attempts to attend a UUS:E-sponsored event, we will ask him to leave. If he refuses to leave, we will ask him to leave a second time. If he refuses to leave again, we will contact police for assistance.

The Policy Board also agreed that we would notify our regular renters of this decision.

It appears that Rocky was released from prison on Friday, March 3rd. We had asked him to call the UUS:E office on Tuesday, March 7th at 3:00 PM to communicate the Policy Board’s decision to him. He did not call. We will do everything in our power to communicate our decision to him as soon as we have contact information for him.

In the meantime, while we believe it is highly unlikely Rocky will come to Manchester, we really have no idea what his intentions are. In the event that he calls the UUS:E office and asks for contact information for UUS:E members or friends, we will not share information with him. In the event that he contacts UUS:E members and friends, we respectfully ask that no contact information for any other UUS:E members or friends be shared with him, and that you report any contact to Rev. Josh or the UUS:E office. 

Please know that the Manchester Police Department has been made aware of this situation and we are currently seeking their advice on how to best handle it should it arise. Also, the Policy Board is currently developing a more elaborate set of protocols to respond to Rocky should he choose to visit UUS:E. These protocols are based on the “disruptive person” section of our Safe Congregation policy and our emergency response protocol for “unarmed, disturbed person.” These protocols will be distributed to UUS:E leaders, and anyone else who requests them, once they are completed. 

If you have any concerns about this situation or the content of this message, please do not hesitate to contact one of us for further discussion.

With love and care,

Rev. Josh Pawelek, Minister               Peggy Webbe, President         Anne Carr, Vice President


Congregational Meeting January 8, 2023: Record of Feedback

COST REDUCTION- Suggestions and Comments

  1. (1a) Is it possible to achieve a half of an FTE expense by changing building manager to half-time with some responsibilities reassigned to other staff (e.g., office manager)?   

Lynn Dove, B & G Chair: No. Since the pandemic the property manager has taken on the lead for the tech team which has increased her job responsibilities significantly.  To achieve this, some responsibilities have been shifted to Annie.  Volunteers have also stepped forward to assist in the cleaning and maintenance that Jane previously did.  A congregant has also paid for a cleaning service to assist in the weekly cleaning.  We have recently evaluated each of the property managers responsibilities and prioritized which need to be completed by the property manager and which could be completed by volunteers.  Without a significant increase of volunteers who could commit for a long term, we depend on the property manager handling projects that require a significant learning curve such as learning the various building system components and learning the technology to run hybrid services.  

Response from Personnel Chair/ Wayne Starkey:  The Building Manager has assumed other significant duties due to Covid and continues to work on technology and audio/visual tasks associated with online services.  Due to this expansion of her tasks, some of her duties have already been transferred to the church administrator.

  1. (1b) Do other churches employ a full-time building manager? Can we share one with another church? 

Response from Personnel Chair/Wayne Starkey:  Due to the busy building schedule that UUSE experiences weekly,  sharing a Building Manager would be difficult and cumbersome with little benefit. 

Response from Rev. Josh: There are many models for how  this is done. Many churches of our size and larger employ a full-time building manager with various responsibilities. Other churches our size and smaller will sometimes cobble together a number of part-time jobs that add up to one full-time job. Or they have a mix of volunteer and paid-staff whose work adds up to an FTE. One of the reasons UUS:E moved to a full time building manager (sexton) 15 years ago was because we were having trouble finding a sufficient volunteer base to complete all the tasks that needed doing.

  1. (7a) Are all the employees actually working as much as we pay them for? We should not cut hours for employees who work hard, but it doesn’t seem that they all do. The employees are not all the same.

Response from Personnel Chair/ Wayne Starkey:  Josh and committee chairs meet with employees semi-annually to review work performance, schedules and goals.  Employees in professional positions, DRE and MD,  perform a great deal of their work tasks at home and very little time at the church. 

Response from Rev. Josh: Yes, in my view, all the employees are working as much as we pay them for. On the whole, the staff tend to work more hours than what we pay them for.  

  1. (11a) Decrease building costs by decreasing hours the building is open.

Building and Grounds Chair/Lynn Dove:   Many of the major building expenses continue whether the building is open or not, such as the roof, parking lot, heating systems.  We could save some on electricity by limiting hours that the building is open but this would mean we wouldn’t have someone answering phones, receiving packages, and would be asking Annie to work from home.  It would limit times when rehearsals could be done, when groups could gather.  

  1. (11b) Last resort is to decrease staff.
  2. (13a) Insurance costs are high for a small number of people. Any possibility of pooling with others? Wayne: Dental and life insurance are through the UUA. Current health insurance rate beats exchange plans. Stan: Broker provides many plans each year; try to keep increase to 10%.

Response from Personnel Chair/ Wayne Starkey:  

Our dental, life, and LTD insurance is currently in a pool with other UU churches nationwide through the UUA. The Health Insurance offered by the UUA is also in a UUA pool, but continues to be more expensive than insurance policies we purchase directly using an insurance broker, sometimes through the CT exchange.  By using a local vender we can

offer less expensive and more beneficial high-deductible plans with an HRA. The Personnel Committee searches annually for the best benefits at the least cost for our staff and the church. We begin our search in April and usually contract in May.

  1. (31a) Is $28,000 to UUA negotiable?

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  

  • We can negotiate, but we’ve gotten much valuable help recently and in the past.
  • The UUA has already asked UUSE for $2,000 less this year than last year.
  1. (35) Regardless of what amount of money comes in for the next year (plus) from any source, I would like to see UUSE to do all the cost cutting that it possibly can and start it in January. If we are serious about turning things around and changing our behavior, then some difficult choices are ahead.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  

  • We can and will identify and implement areas of savings this year where possible.
  1. (35) Reduce our contributions to the UUA by at least 50% and start today. I would think the UUA would fully support not receiving funds from congregations who need to engage in deficit spending and are about to run out of reserves.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  

  • We already paid them 75% of what is due this year. Also see #7 above.
  1. (35) Do all or most of the cost cutting noted on the Personnel possible reductions slide provided by Wayne.

Response from Personnel Chair/Wayne Starkey:  The cost cutting measures presented in the personnel slides on Jan 8th were drastic and will have a significant impact on our employees and the operation of our church.  Some or all of these cuts would only be made as a last resort and would result in a very different UUSE. 

  1. (35) Reduce Music budget.

Response from Personnel Chair/Wayne Starkey: Reducing the music program would directly affect our “music ministry”  which speaks to our members with particular music interests.  It would reduce or eliminate our choir and special music services,  reduce or eliminate our concerts and other musician activities, and could reduce or eliminate music for Sunday services.

  1. (35) Quite often there is an unhelpful emotional component to discussing personnel and benefits which quickly shuts down any real examination of the personnel budget and options. As an example, during the Jan 8th meeting, people were shouting ‘NO’ during Wayne’s presentation of Personnel’s brainstormed list without listening or understanding the implications.

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:  Personally I agree with you as calling out from the floor tends to intimidate those with differing views.  In a democratic process, everyone should have the opportunity to speak, but not to make others hesitate to share their opinions.

  1. (35) Our organization with five employees cannot fairly be compared to others who employ many more people or churches who have many more members. Benefits are not in line with what most people within our Society have. A comparison of benefits with organizations with five employees
    would be more equitable, rather than for example, using the State of CT’s benefits as a guide.

Response from Personnel Chair/Wayne Starkey:  UUSE hires professional and non-professional employees with the education and experience needed to fulfill the job duties of their positions.   The number of employees seems appropriate for the size of our congregation,  one minister, one 32 hour DRE, one 32 hour Music Director, one Office administrator, one Building Manager, and a 12 hour RE asst.  They provide the music and structure for our mission and worship services.  Our benefits do not reflect those offered by the State of Connecticut,  but rather are parallel to those offered by other UU churches nationwide and reflect our values and principles.

  1. (35) I am not saying this is good, however, the reality is that benefits everywhere have become much less generous over the last 10-15 years. This large employer contributes 2% to the employees 401k which serves as the pension contribution – not 10% as UUSE is doing. They offer only high deductible medical insurance (including $6000-$8000 deductible plans) and the company contributes $1000 to the HSA for each employee. The employee medical premium contribution is 40%, and the company pays 60%.
  2. (36) Identify discretionary spending and consider freezing immediately, until expense savings are identified for this year.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  

  • We are closely monitoring our expenses as our current fiscal year draws to a close and will implement areas of savings this year where and when necessary.

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:

We are wondering if you have something particular in mind when referring to “discretionary spending”.  Also, if desired, we can identify what the Policy Board deems to be discretionary.

  1. (36) Identify and implement expense cuts effective by March 1st or earlier, because delaying will just make the later cuts larger and more painful.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  

  • See response to #15 above.
  1. (37) Add to the appropriate chair and employee (e.g., Building Manager) job descriptions – to shop periodically for lower cost providers/products, listing the various services for each (e.g., Finance – P&C insurance, B&G – snow removal, elevator service, etc.) 

Response from Lynn Dove B&G Chair – We already shop around for providers and products that we purchase considering cost, quality, and local and minority run businesses.  

  1. (36) B&G Contracts: snow plowing, elevator service, etc. Is it time to shop around to see if we can find lower cost providers for these services? For the larger contracts is, UUSE doing an RFP or RFQ?  

Response from Lynn Dove B&G Chair – B&G does shop around yearly to get the best contracts considering cost, reliability, and minority run business.  

  1. (36) Insurance (Property & Liability): does UUS:E, or an agent we work with, shop for lower cost providers that meet our coverage needs, every couple of years? A few years back, we overpaid approximately $5,000 in one year because we did not shop this insurance on a timely basis.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Our current policies run from August 2022 to July 2023. Similar to how we done in the past, we will commit to looking at other insurers
  1. (36) UUA Annual Dues: we may have no choice but to reduce our dues paid until we can balance our budget and actuals, without reserve transfers. Have we had to do this in the past?

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • No, we have not reduced our contributions in the past. Also, the UUA has already asked UUSE for $2,000 less this year than last year. Also see #7 above.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT- Suggestions and Comments

  1. (22a) Church budget is talked about once a year at the annual meeting. We need to hear info from the Board more frequently.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • We are now including a link to the monthly financial report in the newsletter and e-blast, and we are also posting them in a publicly accessible section of Basecamp.
  1. (23 a and b) … is opposed to a Constitutional amendment not allowing deficit spending and would like to see more building rentals and expanded programming.

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:  The constitutional amendment would be written with words that allow some flexibility to address extenuating circumstances that UUS:E may encounter. 

  1. (25a) Many churches have 1% of income from endowment.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • If necessary, we plan to do this year. Up to $10K is in the current budget.
  • The 2023-2024 budget as currently proposed has $18K, representing 5% of the 12 quarter rolling average of the Endowment balance.
  • If we draw down the Endowment, it always will come from the income portion only.
  1. (35) Do not utilize the generous bequest that is coming for the operating budget or mortgage, put it into the endowment. This is a more respectful way to honor the donor as the funds would live in the Endowment in perpetuity and produce earnings for UUSE’s use each year going forward (rather than chopping up the amount to apply as a band aid cover for the past years of deficit spending).

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:  We are very aware of the importance of honoring Cliff Pelletier with UUS:E’s use of his bequest.  We have already sought advice from those who knew him best about uses of the funds that will honor him and we do believe that financial responsibility with his bequest is important. We agree that a significant donation to the endowment is proper.  At the same time, the bequest came without restrictions. The Board believes that paying off the mortgage is very important and has already voted in favor of the payoff when funds are available.   

  1. (36) Transfers from endowment may be appropriate, provided that the resulting endowment balance does not fall below the principal (sum of contributions), adjusted for inflation.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • See #3 in “Financial Management” above
  1. (36) Build a revised budget by March 1st, with the latest income and expense projections, including new information and expense cuts and income improvements that can be implemented this year.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • We are in the process of casting the 2023-2024 budget, and as part of that process we have been reviewing spending trends covering the 2019-2022 fiscal year through the current fiscal year. We have identified areas where we have not spent all of our budget on a consistent basis and reflected a lower amount in the new draft budget. In addition, we are closely monitoring our expenses as our current fiscal year draws to a close and will implement areas of savings this year where necessary.
  1. (36) Ensure that the 2023-2024 budget that is built for the annual appeal reflects identified expense savings and income improvements known at that time.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Proposed budget already has savings and income improvements built in (for example, increased interest revenue – see #12 below)
  1. (36) Add to our By-Laws, requirements for a balanced budget and ending the year without a deficit (without reserve transfers).

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:  The constitution revision would call for a balanced budget but would also permit flexibility to address extenuating circumstances that UUS:E might encounter.

  1. (36) Add to our President and Treasurer job descriptions, the requirements for a balanced budget and ending the year without a deficit (without reserve transfers).

Response from President/Peggy Webbe and Treasurer/Glenn Campellone:  Okay – but with the acknowledgement that extenuating circumstances may require flexibility.

  1. (36) Add to the Minister’s job description, influence to obtain a balanced budget and ending the year without a deficit (without reserve transfers).

Response from Rev. Josh: I fully support the goal of a yearly balanced budget. I am not convinced a change to my contract is necessary, though it would be easy enough to make the change if people want it. 

  1. (36) May be worth re-visiting the ‘useful life expectancy by item’ that were used for the B&G reserve calculation. Some appear to be too short given that we lightly use our building. For example, if the 10-15-year life of ceiling fans is based on five-day usage per week, we can reasonably expect our ceiling fans to last several more years. Also, I would be surprised if we will have to replace windows, gutters/downspouts in the stated timeframes. Revisiting the expected life of each item would help ensure we have the best estimated reserve needs that we can calculate.

Response from Lynn Dove B & G Chair: We plan to renew the Building Reserve Study on a yearly basis.  This first iteration was done quickly to get a baseline, knowing that we need to do more research to get firmer numbers for some categories.  Likely the estimates are low due to not including labor costs for some items.  We already have had to replace a number of the windows before their stated lifespan due to failing seals.  Some were still under warranty when they failed.  The warranty for the windows has now expired.  

  1. (36) Income:

Anticipated Income- what comprises this line item, which has a $2,000 budget? Perhaps a clarification could be added to this line title. Building Rental – is it time to raise rates? Have we recently surveyed
Manchester area building rental rates for similar uses and for similar space to ours?

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Anticipated Income is non-specific and is meant to reflect that reality that our planned fundraisers do better than expected or unplanned fundraisers are held which bring unanticipated income (for example, the Holiday Fair raised $5,500 more than budgeted and the unplanned Chocolate Auction raised $2,700).
  • Bob Knapp, Carrie Kocher and other members of a working group is evaluating our building rental rates

Interest Income:
Based on a review of the Oct. and Nov. balance sheets, there appears to be an opportunity to increase our interest income quickly and significantly. I suggest that FC consider the following:

1) Reduce checking account average monthly balances, which likely earn no interest. Shop for an interest-bearing business (non-profit) checking account (e.g., 2.0% available today) which waives monthly fees for an average balance of around $25k or lower.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • The Finance Committee already reviewed all commercial checking, savings and money market account options that exist at M&T today, and the decision was made to keep the existing accounts. Better options may be available at other banks, but unwinding our relationship with M&T would take an enormous effort.
  • We are watching our checking account balances closely, and we may consider keeping a lower monthly average balance if possible, with an eye towards preserving our liquidity position.

2) Replace the money market account that is paying 0.03%, with one that is currently paying 2.75% or higher. Also, consider replacing the money market account with a savings account, which often pays higher interest (3.0% available today), while offering the same liquidity.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Changes were underway prior to these suggestions.
  • We reduced our Money Market account to the minimum required amount of $10,000 (from $72,000). We may decide to close this account at a future date, but we are leaving it open for now, which will provide liquidity if we should need it in the short term. The $62,000 was invested in Fidelity CDs earning 4.35% and 4.6%. Also see response below.

3) Replace all CDs with higher yielding CDs that correspond to our liquidity needs, perhaps doing a CD ladder. For example: Replace CD 1-23-2024 earning 0.33% with a current available rate of 3.8% for a 1-year Business CD, which has roughly the same maturity date of our current CD. The interest gain will significantly exceed the interest penalty for early withdrawal for existing CDs (assuming typical penalties). Implementing the above changes could increase our average interest rate on our bank deposits from approximately from 0.2% to 3.0%, for an annual increase of roughly $7,000 of interest income. This assumes keeping funds at M&T Bank is not a condition of something like a lower mortgage rate. If that is the case, we can still increase our interest income since M&T currently pays, for example, as much as 3.5% for a one-year CD. Note: for at least Oct and Nov, our total deposits at M&T Bank exceeded the FDIC insurance limit of $250,000, by a few thousand dollars. I recommend that we move enough cash to another bank, to ensure our total at M&T remains below the FDIC cap when factoring in future interest.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Changes were underway prior to these suggestions.
  • We closed the three previous CD accounts and replaced them with two short term CDs earning 4.35% and 4.6% (Fidelity), and one 12 month CD earning 3.0% (M&T). We included a conservative estimate of interest income of about $5,000 in our 2023-2024 proposed budget; however, if the Federal Reserve continues to increase rates we could see an amount close to the $7,000 quoted above.
  • As a result of our investment changes, we have moved over $112,000 to Fidelity and invested in three FDIC insured CDs.
  1. (36) Personnel: What items account for the difference noted below?

Budget for Personnel Expenses (Nov. stmt): $399,700
Personnel Expenses on Slide on Jan 8th:       $361,301
Difference:                                                          $ 38,399

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • Wayne Starkey worked with Bob Knapp to reconcile these differences. No further response is necessary.

Response from Chair/Personnel Committee:  The difference between the total from the Treasurer and the slides from the Personnel Committee is Workman’s Comp,  FICA, HRS contributions, and the 27th payroll in FY 23.

  1. (36) Electricity: will our line budget cover the costs for this year, given the announced increase in rates across CT (from Eversource in January “A customer using 700 kWh per month will see about a 48% or $84.85 increase to your total bill compared to December’s bill.”)? If not, how much does a current projection with the higher rates exceed the budget? Does B&G or FC shop for rates at least annually? If no, consider implementing this practice.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • We are experiencing much higher than expected electricity bills than what was projected in the budget.
  • Response from Stan McMillen: Solar output reduced this winter due to excessive cloudy days.
  • The proposed budget for 2023-2024 includes an amount over twice the amount budgeted this year.

Response from Lynn Dove B&G Chair – We shop for the best rates each time our contract with the electric provider expires.  Our electric contract expired this year and unfortunately had to sign up for a new contract when the rates were high.  We signed for the shortest contract possible in hopes that the next time the rates will be more favorable.  

MARKETING- Suggestions and Comments

  1. (21a) Ramp up publicity, especially social media. Use the town calendar. Use UUS:E lobby to advertise ourselves. Bring friends.
  2. (26a) More active with social media. 

Response from Paul Cocuzzo Communications & Technology: Mary Lawrence offered a workshop so that everyone in congregation can share.

  1. (31a) Increase membership and visibility.

MEMBERSHIP- Suggestions and Comments

  1. (16a) Having information about the costs of running UUS:E is very helpful. We need to increase our base of people, i.e., membership. Stan: New building was to grow our congregation. Hasn’t happened, but we’ve maintained, not increased numbers.
  2. (20a) Increase pledge and membership, we need to talk about it to others; used

Lion’s Club analogy.
3. (21a) Bring friends.
4. (31a) Increase membership and visibility.
5. (32a) Worship outside of Sunday morning? Welcome new people.

PLEDGES- Suggestions and Comments

  1. (9a) Income brackets on pledges do not go low enough. She can afford to increase her pledge by $1 per month and challenged others: What is YOUR dollar?”
  2. (10a) She will increase her pledge by 10%.
  3. (12a) She is unable to increase her yearly pledge. She encourages newer members with larger incomes to increase their baseline pledge.
  4. (14a) High donors have stepped in. Maybe we need a special campaign to contribute beyond pledge.
  5. (20a) Increase pledge and membership, we need to talk about it to others; she used Lion’s Club analogy.
  6. (27 a and b) Capital campaigns have accomplished a lot; pledge increase won’t address building reserves.
  7. (28a) Pledge increases, then capital campaign. We need both.

REVENUE STREAMS-Suggestions and Comments

  1. (2a) Put PayPal QR code on Screen. UUS:E store (once a month)
  2. (3a) Can we rent our facilities out for outside groups? Can we increase it? We NEED to build RESERVES and STOP deficit spending! Endowment campaign.
  3. (4a) Can we rent out the kitchen for events?
  4. (6a) “Co-house” with another congregation that does not have a home so they can share our expenses.
  5. (6b) Consulting fees (e.g., Josh/UUSE model of shared ministry) and/or sale of curriculum.
  6. (6c) Online merchandise, especially message in line with UU values, available for anyone to purchase.
  7. (6d) Rental of our building/grounds as a retreat center. 
  8. (8a) Are there opportunities for building rentals to community groups? Do we get contributions from present community groups? Increased use would partially be offset by greater wear and tear. (Jane raised this question in person).
  9. (15a) Is there income from outside the congregation for building rental?

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • $2,100 comes from building rentals. Other smaller amounts are also earned from concerts, equal exchange sales, and gift card sales.

Response from President/Peggy Webbe:  We have a committee that is already working on plans to rent the building for weddings, funerals and perhaps other events.  We are interested in hearing of members/friends ideas and also having volunteers sign on to promote these activities.  We are also interested in establishing a second committee to explore and spearhead implementation of other ideas.

  1. (17a) Building is a great place for neuroscience research training. Response from President/Peggy Webbe: I’m interested in hearing more about this idea.
  2. (19a) Can we apply for grants for programs? Response from Stewardship/Stan McMillen: Need grant writers.
  3. (23b) Would like to see more building rentals and expanded programming.
  4. (24a) Would a 10% increase across the board take care of the deficit?

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • 10% would come close to covering just the deficit, but would not be sufficient to set aside funds for building reserves.
  1. (27a and b) Capital campaigns have accomplished a lot; pledge increase won’t address building reserves.
  2. (29a) UUS:E store once per month selling mugs, t-shirts, coasters, bumper stickers, masks, etc. All should buy Fair Trade coffee, tea & chocolate.
  3. (30a) Book cart offers free books; make a donation to UUS:E.
  4. (33a) Donate for coffee after service.
  5. (34a) Marketing the church for weddings and memorials.
  6. (37) Use PayPal and Venmo to take donations

Response from President, Peggy Webbe: See response above #9 under Revenue Streams.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • This has been in place for a while.
  1. (37) Sell obsolete sound equipment.

Response from Treasurer/Glenn Campellone: 

  • This recommendation was recently approved by the Policy Board and the effort is underway.

Commentary on the Proposed 2022-23 Budget

Commentary on the
UUS:E  2022-2023 FY23 Proposed Budget
Randy Kurker-Stewart and the UUS:E Finance Committee

The FY23 (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023) budget projects expenses of $537,070 and income of $481,900, a shortfall of $55,170 that will need to be covered by increased fundraising, transfers from our Endowment and Reserve accounts, and a possible second pledge drive in the fall.

Our Stewardship Campaign fell short of our goal by $18,000. Pledges are down 2% from FY22. Fundraisers are budgeted lower than historical levels due to the negative impact of COVID and the uncertainty of the pandemic recovery. Total income of $481,900 is lower than this year’s budget by $14,100 and expenses are up by $9,520.

Historically we have tended to end the fiscal year better than projected as we receive unexpected additional donations and gifts and spend slightly less in various expense categories. However, our projected deficit has never been this large. We are budgeting drawdowns from reserves of $55,170, which includes $10,000 from our endowment fund. Our reserves cannot sustain continued losses and we must creatively address increased fundraising. Again, we may need to  conduct a second pledge drive in late fall.

Expenses include a 2% increase for our staff, with no new positions added. We have achieved our goal of compensating our staff according to UUA guidelines. We are proposing to offer long term disability insurance (LTD) to our employees, which will cost us $3,660. This is a benefit offered by most congregations our size and recommended by the UUA. Currently our employees pay 100% of this important coverage. Next year includes twenty-seven pay periods, one more than typical. The individual salaries reflect twenty-seven pay periods, the HR total includes an offsetting payroll accrual for the 27th pay period.

Expenses other than Human Resources and fixed costs have increased approximately 5% to reflect projected inflation. Total administrative expenses are decreasing $1,210. Our UUA annual dues are up $660 to $28,460, offset by a reduction in Technology as our expenses relating to  improvements for Zoom services taper off.

The Building and Grounds budget is flat, as a vendor change has reduced elevator maintenance, offsetting the inflation adjustment.

Program expenses are increasing by $745, based on increased music license fees for streaming services. The Religious Education budget is increasing by $1,550 as we provide additional funds for recognition of the critically important, numerous dedicated volunteers that make our RE program so successful.

UUS:E 2022-2023 Slate of Officers and Leaders

UUS:E 2022-2023 Slate of Officers

Vice President: Anne Carr

Treasurer: Jerry Myers

Clerk of the Policy Board: Jean Mamonas (second term)

Personnel Committee Chair: David Luchetti

Member-at-Large [One-Year Term]: Laurel Hennebury

Member-at-Large [Two-Year Term]: Peg Darrah (second term)

Member-at-Large [Two-Year Term]: Ellen Williams

Communications and Technology Chair: OPEN

Building and Grounds Committee Chair: Lynn Dove

Social Justice and Anti-Oppression Co-chair: Maureen Flannigan

Membership Committee Chair: Sylvia Ounpuu (second term)

Sunday Services Co-chair: Sandy Karosi

Stewardship Committee Chair: OPEN

Adult RE Committee Chair: OPEN

Program Council Clerk: Nancy Thompson (second term)

NLDC: Beth Hudson-Hankins (third term)

NLDC: Stan McMillen (fifth term)

NLDC: Kristal Kallenberg

NLDC:Sid Soderholm

NLDC: Kate Kimmerle (third term)

NLDC: Gail Crook

Completing their terms or stepping down

Randy Kurker-Stewart as Treasurer

Pat Eaton-Robb as Communications and Technology Committee Chair

Vivian Carlson as Personnel Committee Chair

Kevin Holian-Borgnis as Vice President

Ellen Williams – Member-at-Large (moving from one-year term to two-year term)

David Luchetti – Member-at-Large (moving to Personnel Chair)

Azucena Minaya Llantoy as Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee Chair

Martha Larson as Sunday Services Chair

Lynn Dove as Adult RE Chair and member of NLDC (moving to Building and Grounds Chair)

Cressy Goodwin, NLDC

Deb Gould as Building and Grounds Chair

Leaders Continuing their Terms

Peggy Webbe as President

Carrie Kocher as Chari of Denominational Affairs

Dorothy Bognar as Chair of the Music Committee

Jim Adams as Co-chair of the Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee

Desiree Holian-Borgnis as Chair of the Religious Education Committee

Marsha Howland as Co-chair of the Sunday Services Committee

Sheila Foran as Co-chair of the Membership Committee

Mary Lawrence as Chair of the Sustainable Living Committee

Rhona Cohen as Member of the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee


Proxy designation Form

Proxy Designation Form
Unitarian Universalist Society: East
153 West Vernon Street
Manchester, CT 06042

I, ________________________, hereby designate  __________________________

                                                                                           (print name of proxy voter*)

to vote as my proxy at the UUS:E congregational meeting scheduled for 12 Noon on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

Signature: ___________________________     Date: ____________________________

                   (signature of voting member)

* Proxy voter must be a member of UUS:E


Mail/Email Voting Form

Mail / E-Mail Voting Form
UUS:E Annual Meeting
May 15, 2022


1) Do you approve the budget as presented – yes or no  (circle, write or type your answer)


2) Do you approve the slate of officers/leaders as presented – yes or no (circle, write or type your answer)



             Signature (may be typed if sent by email)


Say Yes to Syrian Refugees

Join us for a rally in support of Syrian refugees!Say Yes Syria

Saturday, November 28th,

10:00 AM

North side of the State Capitol (overlooking Bushnell Park)

Hartford, CT

This rally was originally organized in response to an anti-refugee rally taking place at the same time. It is now clear that our pro-Syrian refugee rally will be far larger, attracting more than 1,000 people from across the state. We cannot let fear and misunderstanding force us to compromise our principles and to turn our backs on people who are suffering immesley due to war and terrorism. It is time to stand on the side of love. For more information or to arrange car pools, contact Rev. Josh Pawelek at (860) 652-8961 or [email protected]

Say Yes to Syria 2

UUS:E Launches Feasibility Study for Capital Campaign

UUS:E in late summerDear UUS:E Members and Friends:

Many of you will remember that at our annual meeting last May, the congregation voted to conduct a capital campaign feasibility study.

The purpose of a capital campaign at this time is to pay off a portion of the principal on our mortgage and thereby reduce the amount of our annual debt payment. Paying off $200,000 of our mortgage principal would enable us to reduce our annual debt payment by approximately $15,000. If we can reduce our annual debt payment by $15,000, we can finally stop drawing on our limited reserves to balance our budget. If we can reduce our annual debt payment by more than $15,000, we can start expanding our programming to meet our strategic goals and further build our beloved spiritual community.

The purpose of the feasibility study is to help us determine whether a successful campaign is likely. It’s time to conduct the feasibility study. If you would like to volunteer to participate in the UUSE Sanctuaryfeasibility study, please contact Stacey Wyatt, the project coordinator, at [email protected]. Other members and friends will be asked directly to participate in order to ensure a diverse sample from the congregation. Once names have been gathered, a final group of UUS:E members and friends will be asked to participate in a brief, 30 minute interview. Interviews will take place on Saturdays, October 17th and 24th at UUS:E. If you are contacted, please respond with your availability as soon as you can. If you have questions about the study, feel free to contact Stacey Wyatt or me at [email protected]



Alan Ayers, UUS:E President


Walking for Education Justice

Walking for Education Justice

Rally and Forum with Professor Jesse Turner

Sunday, June 14th, 2:30 PM.

Jesse Turner AKA "The Walking Man"

Jesse Turner AKA “The Walking Man”

Jesse Turner, AKA “The Walking Man,” is a professor of Reading and Language Arts and the Director of the Literacy Center at Central Connecticut State University. He is a long-time antiracism activist and a staunch opponent of educational testing. In recent years he has been walking from CT to Washington, DC every spring and summer to raise awareness about the flaws in federal education programs. This year he will be stopping at UUS:E on his way to DC! He arrives at UUS:E, Sunday, June 14th at 2:30 PM. Don’t miss it!

Obituary for Therna Sturgis Curtis

The following obituary for Therna Curtis appeared in the Hartford Courant on March 25, 2015. Therna, a long time member of UUS:E, died at the age of 91 at her home in Columbia, Connecticut, March 22, 2015.

* * *

Therna CurtisAs her rescued kitties, Billy and YoYo, will tell you, Therna  Sturgis Curtis, Columbia Connecticut, 91, was one of the best things that happened to them and to everyone  else who met her. This sparkling, energetic and vibrant lady, brightened the path of all she encountered, often singing her way into their hearts.

Therna was the 3rd of 7 children of Hazel Mower and Alfred Sturgis, of Auburn, Maine.  She was the drum major, leading the marching band at Edward Little High School , where she also met her future husband, Harold O. Curtis (a tuba player).  During the war, she attended Farmington State Normal School (now University of Maine, Farmington) and became a teacher. Harold and Therna married soon after the war and were married for 55 years at the time of Harold’s death.  They lived in Cambridge, Mass; Clinton, New York; Waltham, Mass; Honolulu, Hawaii; Robbinsville, New Jersey; and retired in Columbia, Connecticut.  Their children, Kathy, John, Michael, Cynthia and Beth, (and Bez, Leah, the incredible Peg and Charles); grandchildren Abby, Anne, Josh, Tim, Nick, Chris, Greg, Kyle and great grandson Sammy are proud to claim Therna as Mumm, Grandma and Great Grandma.

With teaching as a foundation, Therna lived a life of leadership, devoted to equality, tolerance, peace and service. Her gentle spirit, coupled with her curiosity and genuine interest in others touched many hearts. After years of voluntary service, she took a bold step into entrepreneurship, opening a franchise of Diet Workshop and helping hundreds of women and men to make healthier lifestyle choices.  As a deaf person for much of her life, Therna became the President of the local chapter of SHHH (Self Help for Hard of Hearing.)  Her advocacy convinced churches and community organizations to install technology to enable deaf and hard of hearing members to fully participate.  In her senior years, she became a volunteer for the Friendly Visitor program and was active in the development of many programs at the Beckish Senior Center in Columbia, Connecticut.

Therna treasured the splendor of the outdoor world and reached her goal of seeing many of the national parks. She was a skilled seamstress, quilter and rug braider.  Her home crafts adorn the houses of all her knew her.  She cherished her friends Gert, Pete, Norine and Alberta, adored her kitties and marveled at the visiting birds and wild turkeys outside her window.  Her final lessons for us centered around compassion, strength and love.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Columbia Seniors Organization, Inc, Beckish Senior Center, 188 Rte 66, Columbia, CT 06237.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 4th at 11:00 AM at the Beckish Senior Center, 188 Rte 66, Columbia, CT  (860)-228-0759.