UUFA Announcements for February 5, 2018 (includes message from UUFA President)

Good Evening UUFA Members and Friends,

While we missed seeing one another yesterday due to the snowstorm we look forward to being together again next Sunday for Rev. Don Rollins service on February 11th as well as our monthly potluck. We will also be taking our monthly special collection for the Athens Food Pantry so please donate if you can.

Here’s What’s Happening at UUFA this week

Choir Rehearsal – Tuesday, February 6th at 7:00 pm –  All voices are welcome !

Choir rehearsal is CANCELED on February 13th.

UUFA Executive Committee Retreat – Saturday, February 10th 11:30am – 4pm – in the Ploghoff Room.

Appreciative Inquiry Process –  Small group meetings planned soon.

UUFA Pledge Drive for 2018-19 – February 11 – April 9.

SAVE THE DATE – UUFA Annual Meeting 2018 – Sunday, April 8th

2018 State of The Fellowship 

by Patrick Gordon, UUFA President 

As President of the Congregation I am taking this opportunity to give you an overview of our health as a congregation, what we have been accomplishing, what we need to address, and maybe some future directions.

In the past year we have had some accomplishments that have been part of some long time work.  Most noticeable is the completion of our Fellowship Office. This now gives us a secure location to store our physical records instead of in various members homes as has been done in the past. It also provides a work space for officers to accomplish work such as membership issues and financial tasks. Thanks to Fred Snell our trusty Sexton we have also had numerous other achievements such as some required rewiring (on going), the continued removal of hazardous trees, continued work on the parking lot, and more. I sometimes think Fred spends more time at the Fellowship than at home.

Our congregational life continues to grow. Once more we have an active choir that has somehow managed to be ready to sing on more Sundays than I expected.  Our programming team has been able to locate some new resources for services, and Rev. Rollins is still happy as our quarter-time minister. Our attendance is steady, and I am always seeing new faces in the crowd.

Something else I have seen is a new generation of leadership stepping forward, slowly and timidly yes, but seemingly willing to pick up all those items we still have left on our agenda and facing what the future may bring. Thanks to Brian Richardson and Danielle Corbin, Kate Mitchell, Amber and David May, Fred Woodley, and Katie Evans for taking on the work.

In the next few months we will be starting an effort at the Fellowship called Appreciative Inquiry that will examine our past and what we want to see bringing into the future. A lot of people should be involved in this process and I am excited to see what the brings forth. We all have the ability to shape our community going forward so please join in.

Now there are still some concerns to address. We are all aware of the pressing needs of our Fellowship building – HVAC, electrical, insulation, septic. We are still kicking the can down the road as we slowly try to address it. These are very large expenditures and we are not a very wealthy congregation. The future will still continue to struggle with these needs but I feel if we all work and contribute that they can be addressed.

Second, the size of our congregation is shrinking. Our current membership is now hovering near 40 and we are seeing some dear friends move away this year. It is my belief that in order to address this we need to come down off the hill and be involved in the community at large, to sponsor events during the week – scheduling things other than Sunday morning. We also must find innovative ways to engage with the student community. The time to do this is now before our size dwindles more and we lose the ability to fund these growth strategies.

Our last big challenge is leadership. For the past several years leadership has consisted of a core group of individuals who have given service and worked tirelessly for our congregation. But is it not healthy in  a democratic institution such as ours that only a few are consistently in charge; it is also unhealthy for those same people to be so focused and dedicated to one mission until the point it is their sole activity and completely fills up their days. The members of the congregation simply must ask themselves what they themselves are willing to do, for their friends and congregation.

So that is my view of the UUFA in 2018. Your Executive Committee will be meeting for planning and looking forward on Saturday, February 10. If you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas please let us know before our meeting so that we can discuss them.