Weaving a Tapestry

Letter From Our President

This is where the President of the Tapestry Board of Trustees reports on some of the important activities and events happening at Tapestry. Please stay tuned for periodic updates. Comments are welcome.


The State of Our Church - As presented to the congregation on May 5, 2024

by Geoff Sanders on 5/5/2024

Our church is doing great! Reverend Alisha has brought us new energy and purpose. Attendance is up following a COVID decline, and services with 40+ people are no longer uncommon.

There is new energy! We were without a President Elect on the board, but Tracy Cook volunteered to fill that position for the remainder of this fiscal year, and Eric Huckabay has volunteered to stand for election as President Elect for the coming year. Both Tracy and Erik are on the ballot for next year - Tracy to serve one year each as President and Past President, and Eric to serve one year each as President Elect, President and Past President.

If that isn’t enough, Dawn Newcomer, who has already served two terms as President, has agreed to serve as our Treasurer. And Elisa Kaplan has, it appears, agreed to be our permanent Secretary. And let’s not forget about the Third Principle Team, which does the work of recruiting and nominating our leaders. The 3PT’s current members are Dana Ashrawi, Jenn Boepple and Deborah Kent. David McCorkle has volunteered to be on the ballot to join this important team. How about a round of applause for all these dedicated leaders!

As you know, today is our Annual Congregational Meeting. I hope you will be staying and enjoying the pizza dinners that will be served. If, however, you are a member of this church and cannot stay, you can still vote on our website, if you haven’t done so already. You’ll find the link to your online ballot in the first drop-down box under the Members Area of the website. Contact any Board member if you have any difficulty. You’ll be able to vote, and change your vote, until about a half hour after our Annual Meeting begins.

In addition to voting on board members and Third Principle Team members, we will be voting on our 2024-2025 budget. The budget is the result of a lot of hard work by many of your fellow members. In particular, I want to commend our Treasurer, Erika Calderon, and Bookkeeper, Karin Gates, the Teamleaders who provided the Finance Team with their estimates of future expenditures, and the many stewards who stepped forward and made this year’s Stewardship Campaign a great success. And as a result of the increased pledges we received, we were able to offer Alisha a 2-year contract with an option to renew it for an additional 3 years, and she has accepted it!

During the Stewardship Campaign our stewards did their best to conduct one-on-one meetings with every member, and we are already using the information gathered during those meetings to improve Tapestry and its programs.

And what about those programs? I’m sure all of you have been touched in some way by one or more of our many teams and activities. I want to commend all of you for everything you have done and are continuing to do to sustain this church and our community both inside and beyond these walls. We’re living in an interesting time, and it’s critical that we share this sanctuary that is welcoming, accepting and dedicated to upholding the UU values we all share.

Now I would like to single out every one of you and thank you for each of your contributions to this church. Don’t worry! I don’t actually have the time to do that. But please know that your efforts are noticed and greatly appreciated.

I do, however, want to commend our illustrious minister who has been doing a superb job. Alisha joined us a little over a year ago, and she has made a huge difference. When we were interviewing her for the job, we said that we would like Tapestry to grow and make a positive impact on the lives of its members and our broader community. She is doing this, and I don’t think we could ask for more. Here are some details:

First and foremost, Alisha has thrown her whole self into being our minister. She has taken the lead of our Worship Team, and I don’t believe we’ve ever had a better program. At our Fall Retreat, she helped us focus on the things we deem important. And as a result of that work, we now have a three-year Worship plan.

Alisha has also brought a personal touch to her ministry. I believe she has reached out to all of our members and invited all to one-on-one meetings where she got to know you better and to understand what you want most from our church.

Lately, she played a critical role in getting our Safety Team organized. Safety is an important issue, and we are working closely with CJCN to learn and be prepared to employ their safety protocols. A safety drill is planned for this coming September.

But most important for me, Alisha is helping us focus on, dare I say it, what is holy. We are a small church in a major urban setting. We all want to do good for ourselves, our families and the broader community. These are lifelong tasks, and they take ongoing discernment about what is essential, what we truly need and want, and how we conduct ourselves in the pursuit of our goals.

I know Alisha’s focus on essentials is helping me grow as a person, a father, a husband, and as a dedicated member of this community. I hope you feel that way too.

There is much more that I could say about Alisha. Suffice it to say that she is bringing us a host of ideas; she is energetic and she has a clear vision of helping us make our church all that we want it to be.

And what is it we want? More of the same? A steadily growing and impactful church doing good works? There are many opportunities before us, but of course, we can’t do it all. This will take discernment and making choices by all of us. But we’re on the road, and I think the future looks promising.

Let us, Alisha and church leaders, know what you think. And get involved to the extent that you are able. There are many opportunities. Checkout our weekly newsletter and our church’s social media posts. See something interesting, get involved! You don’t necessarily have to be a leader, just lend a hand.

During our Annual Meeting, there will be time for you to see some exhibits and talk to people about some of the things they are doing at our church. Please take time to do so.

You are what this church is all about. Help us make our church all we want and need it to be.

Thank you.

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Stewardship 2024

by Geoff Sanders on 1/31/2024

I have been a member of Tapestry for over 27 years, and I think we’re hitting on all cylinders right now. Church attendance is up, groups are humming, new and old members are volunteering to take on important positions, the future looks bright. 

Of course, I give our illustrious minister most of the credit. Our ministerial search committee thought Alisha would be a good fit, but I think she has far surpassed our expectations. Her drive and commitment to our church inspires us all. And although we only hired Alisha for 100 hours per month, she finds time beyond her usual duties to generate new ideas and programs, enhance Tapestry’s profile in the community, and even meet with many members one on one as needed. She might even be giving us more than 100 hours per month, which bothers me.

We pride ourselves on trying to ensure that we pay our minister fair compensation. And as a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association, our church has access to minister compensation guidelines that take into account churches of our size, resources, and the demographic market we are in. I’m afraid the salary we’re paying comes up a little short.

We certainly want our minister to be properly compensated, but to do so we’ll need to increase revenue next year. That’s where our Stewardship Campaign comes in. Don’t worry. As I’ve said before, Stewardship isn’t anything you need to stress about. We will only be asking members to pledge an amount that they feel good about. As for the process, see my October letter below in this Blog. A steward will be asking to meet with you soon.

Thanks for all you do!

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Welcome to Our New Members!

by Geoff Sanders on 12/18/2023

I am proud and pleased that 19 people (13 adults, 6 youth & children) joined our church on Sunday, 12/17/23. Our church is definitely doing some things right.

First, I want to commend our minister. Alisha only joined us last April, but she’s already having a significant impact on our programs. I think our membership growth is testimony to her hard work and commitment to our church.

As for our new members, I encourage you to become fully participating members of our community. This will, of course, mean different things to each of you, depending on your interests and availability, and Tapestry has a lot to offer as our weekly newsletter shows.

For me, the most important part of membership is showing up, and the best place to show up is at our Sunday services. Church services give us a lot, but the time we spend together after each service is also important. This is where many lifelong friendships develop. Most of my friends are members or former members of our church. And these friendships strengthen and sustain our community.

Building community is important, and together we are constantly striving to maintain a healthy, welcoming, open minded, diverse congregation serving people of all ages and descriptions. And many come to church seeking a higher purpose. For some, that higher purpose is spiritual growth; for others it is working towards social, economic or environmental justice. The good news is that our church serves all these goals, and we appreciate everyone’s contributions.

Ready to get more involved? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Fill in the Interests and Skills survey under the Members Portal on our website at: https://uutapestry.org/survey.
  2. Checkout our weekly newsletter. It’s full of information about what your fellow members are up to, and they are usually looking for people to join them in some group or activity.
  3. Contact the Third Principle Team, 3pt@uutapestry.org. These are folx who are actively seeking to help members find their niche and ways to grow.
  4. Attend Program Council meetings where church programs are discussed and decisions are made.
  5. Want to have fun? I think all of our groups are fun, and you have many activities to consider, e.g., Monthly Potluck & Game Night, Karaoke Night at Dragon’s Lair, Brew Crew, Disc Golf, etc. See our newsletter.
  6. Want to go deeper? Join us in Corner Forum or join the Tapestry Book Club or a Covenant Group like Big Questions, Deep Listening.
  7. Want to participate in a social justice or community support project. Contact our Social, Environmental, and Economic Justice Team at seejustice@uutapestry.org.
  8. Can’t find what you want? Start a new group. You just need a couple of other members to get started.

Whatever you do, have fun doing it. Thanks for all you do!

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Letter From the President

by Geoff Sanders on 10/14/2023

I’m excited! Alisha became our minister in April, and she’s an inspiration. Sunday attendance is up, new people are coming in, and more importantly, many of them are returning. New ideas and suggested programs are being discussed. It feels like we are growing into the kind of church many of us have been yearning for. Keep up the good work and the welcoming spirit we are famous for!

But to keep our momentum going, we need your help. A church must depend on the time, talents and treasure of its members and friends. So let me tell you about our upcoming Stewardship Campaign. Although it won’t officially kickoff until next year, here’s what you can expect.

“Stewardship is not just about money — everyone in the congregation should receive a stewardship call, whether or not it is perceived that they have the capacity or the desire to make a financial commitment….

The stewardship call is that one time during the year that people receive a visit and have the opportunity to express their feelings about how they perceive the past year.” — Asking Makes a Difference by UUA Consultant Jerald King.

I will be calling on experienced members of our church to become stewards. After appropriate preparations and training, stewards will begin scheduling informal meetings with all members and pledging friends of the church. Preferably these meetings will occur in person in people’s homes or other suitable places. It should be a friendly, no pressure conversation, and the steward will answer all questions, or promise to get back with an answer when he or she doesn’t know something. Everyone should come away better informed, and perhaps even motivated to become more involved.

As for the money part, you’ll be requested to fill in an online pledge card for the coming fiscal year (beginning 7/1/24), which will only be seen by Tapestry’s Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will then build next year’s budget, which will cover our minister’s salary, rental of our beautiful church space, UUA dues, and the various other costs necessary to effectively maintain our church. If you are a member of Tapestry, you can see our current budget on our website by navigating to the Tapestry Document Repository under Leadership > Financials > 2023-2024 > Tapestry Budget 2023-2024.pdf.

Please let me know at president@uutapestry.org if you have any questions, suggestions or other concerns. And stay tuned for more information.

Thanks for all you do!

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