Proposed 2021-2022 UUS:E Operating Budget

Read here: Board Approved Budget Proposal FY 22 w salaries

Treasurer’s comments on the Proposed Budget

The Policy Board is proposing a balanced budget for the upcoming  fiscal year 22.  Expected income and expected expenses are each projected to be $527,550.

Expected income includes pledges, traditional fundraisers, other income and a drawdown on Reserves.

Pledges are up 2.7%, and fundraisers are budgeted lower than historical levels due to the uncertain impact of Covid pandemic recovery.

Included in other income is a new category, Anticipated Income of $15,000.  Historically we have typically ended the fiscal year better than projected by approximately $15,000.  We receive unexpected additional donations and gifts and spend slightly less in various expense categories.  It has been difficult to project and budget these and we have presented unbalanced budgets in the past.  This year we wanted to return to balanced budgets, and so created this new line item.   While historically we have realized this amount, there is a risk it will not materialize.

We are budgeting drawdowns from reserves of $34,550, which includes $10,000 from our endowment fund.  The fund permits transfers for operating expenses, although we have only done it once before.   Withdrawals are only made from the income earned portion of the fund, never the principal.

Expenses include a 2% increase for our staff, with no new positions added.  Our goal is to compensate our staff according to UUA guidelines, and we have achieved that except for our minister.  We are approximately $20,000 below the ministerial guidelines for a church our size.  There is a $4,000 increase in this budget to begin to address the difference.

Administrative expenses are increasing $4,400; our UUA annual dues are up $2,000 to $2,780, and our telephone/internet expense is up $2,400 for improvements for Zoom services.

Building and Grounds budget is down $6,000, primarily due to mortgage expense  declining from $37,000 to $32,500 based on interest rate reduction and additional principal payments.

Program expenses are increasing by $1,500, which is our dues for the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA), and Religious Education budget remains unchanged.

 

 

Policy On Public Health Metrics to Guide Reopening UUS:E’s Meet House

Unitarian Universalist Society: East
Policy
Public Health Metrics Used to Guide Reopening the Meeting House for Indoor Events
Adopted by the Policy Board, May 6, 2021
_______________________________

Background: The UUS:E Policy Board charged the Emergency Preparedness Team to develop a procedure to safely reopen the meeting house.  This was to be done using scientific data to provide guideposts to measure and predict an acceptable level of risk to all members, staff and guests.

The Emergency Preparedness Team has recommended, and the Policy Board has accepted, the following guidance for reopening the meeting house safely.

  1. The Unitarian Universalist Society: East (UUS:E) will use the resources developed by Covid Act Now, an independent, national non-profit coalition created to provide COVID-19 predictive data analysis. This group is a consortium of multidisciplinary experts including technologists, epidemiologist, health experts and public policy leaders from Georgetown and Stanford Universities.  The data is updated daily to display real-time information.  Predictive trends are calculated for important indicators to assess the current relative risks of COVID-19.  In a word, this resource identifies the information needed, and the data required, for any group to determine when it might be safe to reopen.
  1. Covid Act Now has identified five data trends as being advisory or predictive of when a safe (or safer) environment might emerge. These data sets will be tracked by UUS:E’s Emergency Preparedness Team to monitor the reduction of the COVID-19 threat to an acceptable level of risk. Use the following URL to open the website: www.covidactnow.org. When the website first opens, click on Connecticut in the national map.  Scroll down in the Connecticut section to visualize the five graphs showing the metrics defining the disease progression.
  1. The following criteria will be used to qualify for a decision to reopen. Note: colors (yellow, green, etc.) refer to Covid Act Now’s graphs for each metric.
  • Mandatory metric 1. “Daily New Cases per 100,000 population” within the yellow -medium category at or below 5 new cases per 100,000 population (or 178 or fewer people) for 21 consecutive days (three weeks). 
  • Mandatory metric 2: “Infection Rate” within the green – low category at or below 0.9 for 21 consecutive days (3 weeks). 
  • Mandatory metric 3: “Positive Test Rate” within the green – low category at or below 3% for 21 consecutive days (3 weeks).
  • Mandatory metric 4: “ICU Capacity Used within the green – low category at or below 70% for 21 consecutive days (3 weeks). 
  • Advisory metric: “Percent Fully vaccinated.” for advisory use only without setting a threshold to guide decisions to reopen. 

***** 

Note: the public health metrics indicated in the above policy will be used to determine when it is safe to reopen UUS:E’s meeting house. However, these metrics are not a guide to the logistics of reopening. That is, even when it is safe to reopen, we will not return immediately to “congregational life as we knew it” prior to the pandemic. The Emergency Preparedness Team is working on logistics during its May meetings and will publish guidance as soon as they have finished their deliberations. At this point we expect that our initial return to the meeting house will include mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing among other public health behaviors that have proven effective in limiting virus transmission.

Chalice Lighting Videos Needed!

You Are Invited to Be in a Video Collage of UUs Lighting Chalices for General Assembly!

Dear Members and Friends of the Universalist Church, Unitarian Society of Hartford, Unitarian Universalist Society: East:

We have exciting news share with you: the three UU congregations of Greater Hartford are creating a worship service for the UUA’s General Assembly this year about collaboration across congregations! On the Saturday morning of GA, our worship service will be offered to all GA attendees from anywhere in the world they are watching. After that, the service will remain online for folks to see for years to come!

In the spirit of collaboration, we want all of you to be a part of the service. We’re going to start the service with a video collage of people lighting chalices wherever they are—because we have all been worshipping in lots of places for the past year. Using smartphones and tablets, we’d like you to record yourselves and/or your families lighting a chalice and then send them in so that we can create a collage from all of us to music improvised by Mary Bopp from UUS:E.

Your video can be just of your hands or include your faces. It can be one person or an entire family. The videos don’t need to be any more than 30 seconds long and will likely be a little shorter. Please upload them by 5pm on Sunday, May 9th so we can create the collage.

We’ll ask you to sign a video release form—particularly if children are on the video—but we won’t be including names or anything else that identifies participants.

It’s not often that we have an opportunity to support our common denominational life like this. The staff of the congregations is excited to make this happen. We hope you will be, too! Please reach out to Rev. Adam ([email protected]) from the Universalist Church of West Hartford with any questions.

Faithfully,

Rev. Adam

(on behalf of the ministers and staff of the Unitarian Society of Hartford, Unitarian Universalist Society: East, and the Universalist Church of West Hartford)

VIDEO UPLOAD INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take a short chalice lighting video on your smart phone and save it to your phone.
  2. Go to the “Chalice Lighting Videos” link in your email or here: http://bit.ly/ChaliceVideo.
  3. Click the “+” or the 3 menu lines to view your uploading options.
  4. Choose “Upload Video” and choose your video.
  5. If anyone is recognizable in the video, please sign the attached UUA Permission Waiver.

     You may take a picture of it and upload your waiver to the http://bit.ly/ChaliceVideo link.

2021 Slate of Officers and Outgoing Officers

UUS:E 2021-2022 Slate of Officers

President Peggy Webbe
Member-at-Large [One-Year Term] Ellen Williams
Communications and Technology Chair Patrick Eaton-Robb
Denominational Affairs Chair Carrie Kocher
Music Committee Chair (2-year term) Dorothy Bognar
Membership Committee Co-chair Sheila Foran
Social Justice and Anti-Oppression Co-chair* Azucena Minaya Llantoy will assume Jim Adams’ remaining one-year term
Social Justice and Anti-Oppression Co-chair Jim Adams will take a two-year term
RE Chair Desiree Holian-Borgnis
Sunday Services Co-chair Marsha Howland will serve a second two-year term
Stewardship Committee Chair Adam Bender will serve a second two-year term
Sustainable Living Co-Chair Mary Lawrence will serve a second two-year term
Adult Religious Education Chair Lynn Dove
NLDC Rhona Cohen will serve a third two-year term
NLDC Peter Marotto will serve a fourth two-year term

*Information only; she’s not being elected

Completing their terms or stepping down

Bill Graver – Denominational Affairs

Lorry King – Adult Religious Education

Tammy Stolzman – RE Chair

Anne Carr – Communications and Technology Chair

Rob Stolzman – President

Peggy Webbe – Music Chair

Monica van Beusekom – Member-at-Large

Jennifer Klee – Communications and Technology Chair [appointed to fill remaining term of Anne Carr]

Carolyn Gimbrone – Membership Committee Co-chair

What is Prayer? UUS:E Virtual Worship, April 25, 2021

Revised Policy for Holding Outdoor Gatherings

Policy Board

April 8, 2021

Outdoor meetings on the UUS:E’s grounds can be allowed with the following provisions:

  1. Such gatherings will be limited to UUS:E activities. No outside groups will be authorized to use the grounds for their meetings.
  2. The maximum number of attendees for any meeting will be 75 people, including staff.
  3. Arrangements for using the grounds must be approved and scheduled with the minister or the office administrator to avoid duplicate meetings, and to allow staff to know that any group meeting outside the building is authorized.
  4. While at the gathering, everyone will wear a face mask at all times.
  5. Social distancing of 6 feet between people will always be observed, with the following exception: Anyone who is fully vaccinated can sit closer with one or more others who live together in one household.
  6. If seating is provided, chairs must be set up 6 feet apart in rows 6 feet apart.  (Chalk can be used to mark these locations.)  Family members who live together in one household can move their chairs closer together as a group.
  7. In advance, attendees for an outdoor gathering should be urged to use their bathrooms before leaving home.  If an emergency occurs at the gathering, a staff member should be contacted.  The staff person will then open the building and escort the person to the designated bathroom.
  8. Evening meetings must end before dark.  Leaders might define this as ending by sundown allowing about 30 minutes to safely store the chairs, clean the area and leave the property well before dusk turns to dark.
  9. Leaders of these meetings might consider asking those planning to attend to register with them in the event more than 75 people show up.  

* This policy update was originally drafted by UUS:E’s Emergency Preparedness Team, beginning at its April 1st meeting. The Team discussed the current changes in state and federal guidelines for gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Team also considered the current risks from in-person meetings. Team members include Cressy Goodwin, facilitator, Christina Bailey, Bill Graver, Sue McMillen, Gina Campellone, Jane Osborn, Annie Gentile, and Rev. Josh Pawelek.

 

 

Template for Letter to the Governor

Governor Ned Lamont

State of Connecticut

 

My name is [Your Name] and I am a constituent of [City/Town]. I am reaching out to encourage you to lead progressively and aggressively in the State of Connecticut by declaring racism a public health crisis by executive order.

Systemic and structural racism play a large role in determining the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and affects people’s access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, political power, and other social determinants of health. Racism also has negative mental and physical health consequences such as, depression, anxiety, hypertension, preterm birth, shortened life span and poor quality of life. Understanding and addressing racism from this public health perspective is crucial to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities, and to improving opportunity and well-being across communities.

[Add personal story]

Racism has been declared a public health crisis in 6 states, 182 municipalities, entities, and organizations, including 20 municipalities in Connecticut. Governor Lamont while legislators and community members work together to create transformative legislation to advance racial justice in our state, we need your leadership. Our state, particularly communities of color need to receive this declaration from your hand.

Governor Lamont, I ask that you declare racism a public health crisis in the state of Connecticut by executive order.

 

Learn about Zoom Closed Captioning

Closed Captioning (CC) for Sunday Services is now here!

Live captions show up directly in the Zoom window and caption the speakers in real time. Attendees can decide whether or not to see captions in their own Zoom windows, change the size or turn off the captions.

Modifying Closed Caption Options

When enabled by the host, closed captions are automatically generated and capture the speakers in real time. And while the captioning is not always perfectly accurate, subtitles enhance the viewers ability to understand the speaker.

Changing the Caption Font Size

  1. Select Closed Captions.
  2. Click Subtitle Settings.
  3. Drag the slider next to Select Closed Caption Font Size to Normal, Medium, or Large.
  4. Close the window.

Turn Subtitles Off

  1. Select Closed Captions.
  2. Click Hide Subtitle.

Note: To turn subtitles on, go to Closed Captions > Show Subtitle.

Viewing a Full Transcript

Occasionally the captions will lag behind the speaker or disappear too fast for easy reading. The full transcript view allows the attendee to follow along at their own speed.

  1. Select Closed Captions.
  2. Click View Full Transcript.
  3. The transcript is viewed in a panel to the right.

Note: To turn off the transcript view, go to Closed Captions > Hide Full Transcript.

Saving a Transcript

  1. Go to the bottom of the transcript panel and select Save Transcript.
  2. Navigate to the desired folder and click Save.

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

  1. Risk assessment: a functional way to plan for the future – and the holidays…  

          Q. I’m confused matching CDC and state guidelines to actions needed during the current COVID-19 surge. Can someone help?

          A.  If you haven’t recently watched TV or read the newspapers, the number of COVID-19 cases has been dramatically increasing!  Here are some recent Connecticut headlines:

  • “Experts: Surge could last at least another month”1
  • “As surge increases, hospital cases spike”1
  • “UConn places entire Storrs campus under quarantine”[1]
  • “Virus case sends state’s top Dems into isolation”1
  • “Outbreaks stem from dining, worship, homes”1

 

There really is surge in cases, and each day the number of new cases increases exponentially.  Over time, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is rapidly growing.

But what do we do about it?  Guidelines exist from the CDC, and the State of Connecticut:

  • Three basic actions are advised when outside and people other than within your household are present:
    • Keep socially distant – at least 6 feet away from other people.
    • Wear a cloth face covering – a mask.
    • Wash hands frequently for 20 or more seconds or when this isn’t possible, use hand sanitizer.
  • Indoor gatherings have guidelines that limit the number of people present. For example, here are a few: 
    • Commercial venues for meetings, parties, – 25 people.
    • Private residences – 10 people.
    • Religious gatherings – 50% of capacity up to 100 people.
    • Fairs &, festivals – maximum = 25% of previous year.

These guidelines are based on the situations where people gather, and primarily serve to assist sponsors of events and investigating agencies to determine compliance.  But they are conflicting and confusing for individuals trying to remember as they move from location to location.  And they change as each sequential phase is reached.

When someone rationally decides to go to their church service with 90 people present and no one there becomes infected, it is easy to consider going to a banquet hall for a 50th wedding anniversary party with 50 people attending, which guidelines indicate is “unsafe.”  Who can remember what the limits are for each kind of event?

Risk management recognizes that risk is variable.  There is no interaction with another person that is 100% COVID-19 safe.  Likewise, there is no way that one can predict with certainty that they will become infected.  Between these extremes, risk can increase or decrease depending on the actions one takes.

If risk is variable, then risk management should not be based on a memorized list of dozens of different situations.  Instead, safe procedures should be based on a foundation of habitual actions, like always putting on a seat belt when getting into a car.  Then vigilance is needed to adapt to different circumstances.  While driving wearing a seatbelt, one slows down when an erratic driver is spotted ahead, or when the roads are icy.  Regarding coronavirus-19, a person becomes infected when a concentration of virus enters their mouth, nose or eyes.  The three basic measures – social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene – should become habitual whenever one is outside of the home.  Vigilance over the surroundings can then  lead to additional adaptive behavior.  With an upsurge in the number of cases, the chance of contacting someone with the disease increases.  One can then be more vigilant reducing the number of people that are present in various activities.  For upcoming holiday celebrations, limiting the number of friends and families who come will not only consider the increased risk of loved ones becoming infected, it also reduces the possibility that the one person who is infectious without showing symptoms will not be there.  If continued vigilance shows that community surge presents a greater risk, one can take other actions, remembering to always use the three basic habits whenever possible: masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.

  • Provide for air exchange allowing outside air to flow in:
    • Open windows and use fans to exchange air
    • Use a tent with side flaps open enough to allow air exchange
  • Using Plexiglas shields where people are required to be less than 6 feet apart
    • Serving food or tending a bar
  • Purchasing an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
    • Must have a High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing (HEPA) filter
    • Ultraviolet light systems are not deemed as effective
    • Different levels of room sizes are available
    • Check for the frequency of complete room air exchange over time
  • Limiting attendance to members of the household living at the site

Perhaps we’re not really having “pandemic fatigue,” but rather “vigilance fatigue.”

  1. WREN Laboratory based in Branford Connecticut has a new saliva-based test.

          Q: Is there a COVID-19 test that I can use at home?

          A:  WREN Laboratory has just received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its self-administered PCR diagnostic saliva test. This is the first approved test of its kind that provides a collection system, a color coding indicating the collection has been completed and stabilized, and then does the actual analysis.  It takes about a teaspoonful equivalent of saliva spit into a tube.  This does not require medical worker assistance.   It is being marketed to schools, sports teams and other groups that need continuous testing.  It has a reported accuracy of 99%, and is designed to stay “on a shelf” for up to 12 months.  The test results are usually available electronically within 24 hours.  The cost is reported to be $150 per test.  Further information is available at https://www.wrenlaboratories.com

154. Commercial mink farms are hit hard because COVID-19 infects this animal.

          Q:  Is there any more information about pets and other animals contracting COVID-19?

          A: There are about a dozen mink farms in the US, mostly in Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Approximately 15,000 of the furry creatures have been killed by COVID-19, including 10,700 mink at just 9 American farms.  Research has shown that the mink probably had been infected initially by a human being.  Mink are raised in farms where the animals are in very close contact with each other causing the disease to spread rapidly.  Workers have then become infected by contact with the animals.  The problem is not limited to the U.S.  A study conducted in the Netherlands showed that 68% of the workers and their close associates on mink farms became infected.  Fear had been expressed over the possibility of mutations of the virus in the mink population and that this may have caused a surge in the number of human cases. However, it was later found that the disease has not yet spread this way.  Large scale mink farming also exists in Denmark.  The Danish government had announced it would kill all of its 17 million animals to help curtail a potential surge in human COVID-19 cases. The economic impact of this led to a very strong reaction.  Denmark later retracted this idea and research continues.

+++++++++++++++

 Ideas for future bumper stickers:

“We isolate now so when we gather again, no one will be missing.” 

“If vigilance becomes a habit, it will be easy to remember good actions.”

“It is better to be patient than to be a patient.”

 

[1] Hartford Courant, November 11-15, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

  “Shared expectations lead to predictability.

Note: with the elections Tuesday and the expected delay in learning the actual results, it is expected everyone’s focus will be on the political aspects of the pandemic.  As a result, this column has been limited to a single issue – the wearing of cloth facial coverings – masks.

 

146. Wearing masks protects the public from contracting COVID-19.

          Q:  My neighbor refuses to wear a mask when we meet outside. Do masks really affect the spread of this disease? 

          A:  Vanderbilt University researchers observed that several counties in Tennessee had different regulations concerning wearing of masks when in public.  The University conducted a study to take advantage of this circumstance.  On October 28, they reported their findings.  Melissa McPheeters, PhD, a research professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center stated, “All of Tennessee has experienced an upsurge and an increase in those hospitalizations, but it’s hitting the hardest those hospitals that are drawing their patients from non-masked mandated counties.”

The growth in hospitalizations based on the percentage of patients they treated from counties with mask requirements between July 1 and October 20. 2020.

Hospitals with 1% – 25%           Hospitals with 26% – 50%
of patients from counties            of patients from counties
with mask requirements             with mask requirements

Growth in hospitalizations
relative to July 1, 2020

 

Hospitals with 51% – 75%              Hospitals with >75%
      of patients from counties                of patients from counties
with mask requirement                   with mask requirements

 

Growth in hospitalizations
relative to July 1, 2020

 

The study found that in Tennessee, hospitals where less than 25% of patients came from counties with a mask mandate, hospitalizations rose more than 200% between July 1 and October 20.

Hospitals in which 26%-59% of the patients were from counties with mask mandates saw hospitalizations rise by about 100% from July 1.

In hospitals where patients came from more than 75% of patients were under mask mandates, there were virtually no change in level of hospitalizations in the study period.

The conclusion:  Masks significantly contribute to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19.

147.  In Hartford, a judge will rule this week on a request to block the decision to require school children to wear masks

          Q: I read that Connecticut is in court defending the decision to require students attending school to wear masks.  Is this true?

          A:  On October 31, the Hartford Courant reported that a day-long hearing had just been conducted before the Hartford District Court in Connecticut.  Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher heard testimony to determine if masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Weeks before, a group of parents and the Connecticut Freedom Alliance had sued the Connecticut Education Department asking that the requirement that children attending classes in schools wear a face mask.  The claim was made that children wearing face masks are harmed both mentally and physically.  The plaintiffs called on a Los Angeles psychiatrist who said masks can inhibit development, cause stress and lead to other complications for children.  Also cited was the risk of oxygen depravation that can lead to permanent neurological damage in children.  The state presented the conclusion of the CDC that masks provide “source control,” reducing the chance that the wearer can spread the disease to others.  Also cited in the hearing was that not wearing masks is a strategy of “herd immunity,” where everyone is encouraged to become infected to gain immunity – a discredited program that Connecticut is not following.  The state also stated they have issued individual waivers of this rule when parents have made requests; therefore, an injunction is not required.

Judge Moukawsher stated that by early this week, he would announce if he made the decision to issue an injunction to stop the requirement for children wearing masks in schools.