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  • 01/20/2016 3:54 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    Dec. 21, 2015

     

     

    Present: Marianne Calvanese, Patrick Datorre, Jan Gauvain, Tommy Potts, Ellen Debenport, John Lichtenberger, Andrea Ballentine, Tim Aldermen, Scott Price 

     

    Absent : Coleen Hilton

     

    Guests: Susan Drews, Kit Holmes, Susan Cranshaw

     

    Budget presenter: Cherie Conway

     

    Budget Review

    Cherie Conway presented the budget for 2016 with the following being some of the highlights:

     

    •   $325,246 total budgeted income
    •   $332,986 projected expenses
    •   Net income $7740 per month
    •   Base tithe $2710

    See attached spreadsheet for more detail and explanation on last year's and this year's budgets. Everyone voted in favor of approving the new budget.

     

    During the budget discussion when the topic of Howling Moon fundraiser came up and the question was asked as to why it didn't earn more money, Tommy proposed that perhaps it wasn't held on the best possible date. He volunteered to look into finding a possible new date for next year. Patrick offered to help him explore/evaluate if there are competing fundraisers and/or events, i.e., Formula One on the current date.

     

    Ellen's contract

    Tim proposed changing the new computer allowance from $1200 every 5 years to every 3-5 years. With that change being made everyone voted in favor of approving Ellen's updated contract.

     

    Vision and Mission statements

    Marianne reported on the committee's progress on reworking the vision statement. All agreed that we need vision and mission statements that reflect who we are now. What the group presented so far:  "We are an open hearted, spiritual community, powerfully transforming our world by knowing/ honoring/respecting/realizing the sacred in all".  Everyone was excited about changing the current "us" to "all".

     

    We decided not to call a HUG meeting to introduce the new statements. Scott offered the idea of the committee presenting the new mission a few weeks ahead at a Sunday service as part of the announcements highlighting the contrast between old and new in order to vote on it at the January 24th annual meeting.

     

    Treasurer’s report

    After tithing to Unity, UWM and the Bring it Home Fund, we are left with $1560 to disperse:

    •   Jason Marion $520
    •   Serenity Garden $520
    •   Jeff Richardson  $520

     

    Staff reports

    •   Trinity Groundwater is being asked to increase our water draw 
    •   Church will be looking into providing hearing impaired assistance in sanctuary
    •   Water well repair totaled $7000; 450 feet deep with the water level at 290 feet
    •   Drainage work around front door is complete
    •   Labyrinth complete
    •  Tommy and Jon made a new path down to labyrinth 
    •  Christmas party at Judith and Ralph Ruth's was a success; next year it will be held at Jeff and Cindy Anderson's
    •  Men's turkey dinner was a success 
    •  Christmas Eve and Burning Bowl/White Stone celebrations are coming up
    •  Memorial service for Jill Honer set for December 30th
    •  Annual meeting on January 24th
    •  Jeff Anderson will be Howling Moon auctioneer next year
    •  Lori Gosnell will manage Howling Moon’s Silent Auction
    •  Ellen will be using more of her PTO this year to be gone to promote/speak about her new book
    •  Chaplains want more training
    •  Barnabas Connection Christmas Store was a success and resulted in a greater awareness of Unity
    • Jason Marion has mentioned again that after 5 years he would like to find a replacement

     

    Nominating Committee 

    Marianne Calvanese and Tommy Potts are the candidates for the 2016 board election

     

    Beyond the Walls

    Marilyn Van Hoozer has a relationship with social workers working with elder population on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where we donated money for blankets. Tim would like to get more information from Marilyn on how we can help. Some of us expressed our appreciation that we have an opportunity to address the needs of the aged as well as the children.

     

    Website change

    Tim addressed the opportunity for us to convert our website to the UWM website. There are grants to help pay for the conversion. The advantage is for us to streamline our access to Unity information and resources.  Ellen will check in to how much IT work is involved and what other church's experiences have been with the conversion (including Karen Tudor at New Braunfels Unity).  

     

    Finally, Tim introduced a desire to post tithe recipient thank you notes for church members to see. Possibly on the Unity of Wimberley Facebook page?

     

    Tim prayed us out. Next meeting set for January 18th.

     

     

     

  • 12/22/2015 10:14 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    Nov. 16, 2015

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Tim Aldermen, Andrea Ballentine, Tommy Potts, Marianne Calvenese, Coleen Hilton

    Absent: Patrick Dattore, Jan Gauvain, John Lichtenberger, Scott Price

    Abundance

    In John's absence, Ellen and Tim stated that we are in "great shape". Tithe: $842 to WWM and Bring it Home Fund, leaving $2527 to disperse.  For their service to Howling moon, $1200 to Cherie Conway and $300 to Lawry Ross; $500 to Capital Area Food Bank; $500 to purchase a stove for the St. Bonaventure Navajo School; leaving $27 to Heifer International for a flock of chickens.

    Staff Reports

    Staff changes: Caroline Harper is no longer on the church staff because of work obligations, but will continue as a volunteer. Jason will continue to work 5-6 hours on maintenance and repairs while Lori Gosnell will spend 10 hours a week as property manager and 5 hours as an administrator with a focus on learning how to back up Cherie on CFO, real estate etc. John Falcon is the house manager with Don Thompson as his back up.

    Additionally:

                  the front porch will be jack hammered to connect the culverts on each side to facilitate greater drainage; $1500 was anonymously donated for this project.

                  Cynthia Millonzi is ready to get back on track with her labyrinth team

                  The possibility of paying Susan Drews $100 a month as a consultant for her work on our wildlife exemption is being considered

                  Annual Christmas party will be on Dec 11 at Ralph and Judith Ruth's house; a Martin Driscoll painting will be raffled

                  Dec 6 potluck will be the annual men's group turkey dinner

                  Dec 1 youth group setting up and running Christmas store 

    Reworking Vision and Mission Statement

    Marianne reported on the brainstorming ideas from the committee formed to address this topic. Committee members are Marianne, Scott Price, Jan Gauvain and youth member Dylan Ebbs. Tim suggested we have a HUG meeting in January in order to involve the congregation in reworking our mission and exploring how we can go "beyond the walls".  Perhaps present the base mission and then have the members break into groups.

    Beyond the walls

    Coleen suggested we address the mental health needs of the Lakota people. They have a very high rate of suicide among their youth. The Lakota tribe is known for being spiritually connected to the earth and not political.  We also discussed donating money to provide blankets to Indians in South Dakota and decided to wait until after the Christmas store to introduce it to the congregation.  

    Ellen's contract

    Ellen's contract hasn't been touched or amended since 2011. She presented us with copies with a few proposed changes to review. Ellen will continue to work on it and bring it back for approval at the next board meeting on December 21.


  • 12/22/2015 10:13 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    Oct. 26, 2015

    Present: Rev. Ellen Debenport, Tim Alderman, Scott Price, Tommy Potts, Marianne Calvanese, Coleen Hilton, Jan Gauvain, John Lichtenberger

    Absent: Andrea Ballentine, Patrick Dattore

    Also: Kit Holmes, Cindy Millonzi

    6:32 pm – John prays in

    Check-in

    September minutes approved as amended

    6:50 pm – Financials (John)

    Note we have about $5,000 more in income than budgeted for this point in the year, but we’ve also spent about $5,000 more than budgeted. So we’re fine.

    Tithing – base amount of $2600

    10 percent to UWM’s Bring It Home Fund

    10 percent to Unity World Headquarters

    20 percent to Unity Worldwide Ministries

    $1,560 split three ways ($520 each):

    Southwest Indian Foundation

    Carebox program at Color Cancer in Austin

    Crisis Breadbasket

    7:00 pm – Minister and Staff Reports

    Visitor Table -- The board decided to discontinue its schedule for staffing the visitor table in the foyer, because that area is usually so crowded with greeters. Instead, board members will gravitate to the bookstore after the service. The board also wants to reinstate a 20 percent discount in the bookstore when visitors’ blue cards are returned.

    Ellen will let Jean Newsum know about the visitor table change.

    Ellen also reported:

    • §  15 people in the Lessons in Truth Class
    • §  We have an ad in the Wimberley Newcomers Guide
    • §  Judy Bradbury was chosen as the fourth member for the Nominating Committee, and candidate packets will be available Nov. 8
    • §  Ellen is speaking in El Paso on Nov. 1, and Kit will speak at the service and offer a vision workshop after the potluck.

    7:10 pm -- Howling Moon

    The board debriefed the Howling Moon event on Oct. 23, and Rev. Ellen offered preliminary fund-raising numbers.

    Gross profit $24,805

    Expenses $6,743

    Net income $18,062

    Percentage to Operation Good Shepherd $4,515

    Which leaves $13,547 for the church. That's a smaller number than last year, but we are grateful! Expenses were also lower than last year, thanks to the church members who underwrote some of the big ticket items.

    Rev. Ellen said organizers Cherie Conway and Lawry Ross were discouraged by the results and were already talking about ideas to change parts of Howling Moon for next year. The board is amenable to changes.

    7:28 pm – Drum Kit

    Kit Holmes mentioned that she would like to have a drum kit that can stay at the church, as well as a bass amp. That way, guest musicians won’t have to carry so much equipment with them. Drummer Ric Furley is looking for a used drum kit that might run about $500, and Jason Marion will bring an amp.

    7:30 pm – Beyond Our Walls (Tim)

    The board had a lengthy discussion about how we might reach outside the church to do good in the world, working with organizations and also finding programs our youth could connect with.

    Tim likes Native Americans, and said a woman in the church has a daughter working with a tribe to help kids read in the summer and to provide blankets in winter. The Southwest Indian Foundation asks for help buying wood stoves every year.

            

    Other Unity churches have built beds for children in Central America. There’s no shortage of good causes, but how to decide?

    Marianne suggested we revise our 2008 Vision and Mission statements to reflect better who we are now and how we want to show up in the world, recognizing the sacredness of all beings. Our goal should be to help with real transformation, not just giving money, she said, although the board agreed our tithing has made a real difference to some organizations.

    (As an aside, the board agreed we should share with the congregation the thank-you notes we receive for tithes, via the newsletter, announcements or bulletin board.)

    Tim also noted that a new Unity Connect program allows churches to share information about their projects online, so that several small churches can work together, if they choose.

    Coleen suggested we find a way to involve younger kids, not just the teens.

    At the end, Tim asked Marianne to lead a subgroup with Jan Gauvain and Scott Price, along with 11-year-old Dylan Ebbs, to talk about the Vision and Mission statements and possible projects. Other board members were also asked to bring ideas for projects to the next meeting, as long as it’s someplace close enough that we could travel there.

    The goal is to present ideas to the congregation at the annual meeting on Jan. 24, 2016, then schedule a HUG meeting to talk about which project is most appealing to everyone. Pulling together for one cause seems like the next step in our church’s growth, and Ellen said she is asked more and more often by new members what the church is doing beyond its walls.

    Pray Out – John


  • 12/22/2015 10:11 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    Sept. 29, 2015

    Present:  Ellen Debenport, Andrea Ballentine, Tommy Potts, Patrick Dattori, Tim Alderman, Marianne Calvanese, Coleen Hilton, John Lichtenberger, Jan Gauvain 

    Absent: Scott Price

    Abundance  

    John reported on Cherie's financial reports. Accounts are healthy and tithes/giving is up.

    Tithing Discussion

    Marianne compiled and shared an extensive list of past tithe recipients, and we discussed how to utilize this list and how to move forward with it in the future.  Ultimately, we decided that we would be grateful to Cherie for continuing to update this list and to add a place on her spreadsheet explaining why we chose each recipient.

    The conversation went on to discuss more on how our tithes are distributed. We decided to include in our monthly giving the UWM Bring it Home Fund (established to pay for the transfer of the seminary from Unity World Headquarters to UWM.) We decided from now on we will give 10% to World Headquarters and 10% to Bring It Home Fund, while continuing 20% to Unity Worldwide Ministries, leaving a base of $1,560 to disperse each month.

    For this month:

    $520 will go to the Carebox cancer support program

    $1,060 to the Bring it Home fund (in addition to 10%)

    YOU fundraiser

    Who decides where they will tithe on the proceeds from their fundraisers? They do, providing they have been educated on the requirement that tithes go to organizations that spiritually feed us and/or demonstrate Unity principals in action.

    Nominating committee board representative

    Each year before board member elections, a committee is formed to decide on candidates. This committee is made up of the minister, a board member, and a congregant. Colleen Hilton will join Jason Jones and Ellen to determine this year's ticket. 

    Staff report - Ellen 

                  Susan Drews is determined to address the wild hog problem. Cherie is investigating hiring trappers.

                  Jason painted Ellen's bedroom

                  Texas Disposal is our new trash service

                  Many volunteers have been maintaining our grounds

                  Jeff did his "big mow"

                  The pool is $5,000 in the black; enough to cover our expenses for the rest of the year

                  Lisa Cole's inquiry into solar heating proved that the cost is astronomical 

                  Wildlife inspection set for October 7 (question of paying Susan a monthly stipend for the work she does to prepare for this - to be discussed at a later time)

                  Jason consulted with an architect regarding knocking out the wall and reconfiguring the space between the Fireside Room, the bookstore and the Little Chaparral room.

    Ellen's report

                  Prayer workshops showed there is a demand for more of these

                  Lessons in Truth book discussion starting October 21 for 5 weeks

                  Seven or eight potential new members

                  Ralph and Judith Ruth will host annual Christmas party on December 11

                  Ellen will be replacing Lawry Ross as a board member to the Barnabas Connection

                  Santa's hours increased from 10 to 15 hours a week

    Peace pole lights

    Kimberly Kruger will pay approximately $150 to have 4 solar powered lights aimed at the Peace Pole. The youth group will be in charge of the upkeep of the Peace Pole Park, and Santa is hoping families will take turns caring for it. She and Matt will be in charge of organizing volunteers.

    Howling Moon

                  147 tickets out of 500 have been sold. 

                  $6,330 out of a projected $9,000 income has been reached

                  Live auction items include 2 time shares, helicopter and airplane rides, and a mountain bike

                  Silent auction items are trickling in

                  48 people recruited and assigned jobs

                  Lawry Ross is hoping to find a car to borrow while she's in town helping prepare for the event.

    And my notes ended with:

    This is a HEALTHY CHURCH! Don't take it for Granted!!


  • 12/22/2015 10:10 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    Aug. 17, 2015

    Present: Tommy Potts, Ellen Debenport, John Lichtenberger, Jan Gauvain, Coleen Hilton, Andrea Ballentine, Marianne Calvanese 

    Absent:  Patrick Dattore, Tim Alderman, Scott Price

    Visiting: Kit Holmes

    Tithe discussion. We explored options for how to choose the monthly tithe recipient. Marianne offered to compile a list of possibilities for the future. This month we chose the SIMS foundation and HAMM, organizations that provide for local musicians medical and mental health needs.

    Ellen provided us with a handout spelling out the different functions of Unity World Headquarters, Unity Worldwide Ministries and Unity South Central Region.

    Ellen's report

                  Wildlife inspection on October 7

                  All ACs are working

                  Pool awning almost complete 

                  Lisa Cole is looking into heating the pool with solar

                  10 people attended chaplain training and will be announced on September 6

                  28 people came to strengths workshop

                  On September 20 the teens will lead a celebration at the peace pole for International Day of Peace, followed by burgers on the patio and a pool party

                  Howling Moon preparation will kick off first Sunday of September 

                  Introducing a song request auction- 4 top bidders get to choose songs for Kit and the band to play

                  6 youths attended a rally in New Braunfels

                  Teens will be taking over "ownership" of Peace Park (peace pole)

                  Santa would like to be paid for 5 additional hours a week. Everyone agreed to this but also wanted to make sure Santa asks for help when needed. Ellen agreed to talk to her about making clear and specific requests for help from the board.

                  Kit requested that she have an office at the church. Cherie Conway offered hers up. Ellen, without any objection from the board, said Kit can have said office.

    Preview of Board nominees

    Tommy and Marianne, having agreed to serving one-year terms, are eligible to run again on this next cycle. New nominees will start to be recruited in October.


  • 12/22/2015 10:09 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    July 20, 2015

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Jan Gauvain, Andrea Ballentine, Scott Price, Tommy Potts, Coleen Hilton, Tim Alderman, Patrick Dattore 

     

    Absent: John Lichtenberger, Marianne Calvanese

     

    Revisions were requested by Ellen to the June 15 meeting minutes. With those made, the minutes are approved and ready for posting on the website.

     

     

     

    Special Guest with a request

     

    David Conway presented a potential sun shade project for the pool. He described, with schematic drawing, a structure made out of cedar and shade cloth. Materials are estimated around $1000, and Jason Hilton will head up the team of volunteer laborers. The board approved the structure and gave the go ahead to find funding for the project by asking pool members. Board members suggested setting up a Go Fund Me account.

     

     

    Monthly Tithe: how and why do we decide on the amount and recipient?

     

    Tommy Potts brought some questions, concerns and feedback to the group regarding this topic. His feeling is that we could better serve our church and community if we either gave less to Unity Worldwide Ministries and Unity World Headquarters or gave more tithe money locally. This concern gave Tim and Ellen the opportunity to further educate and inform the board on the purpose, history and rationale behind our monthly giving. A few highlights:

     

    • Tithe is never spent on facility or property maintenance or repairs

    • We are committed to the advancement of the Unity movement through education

    • The base tithe on our monthly income (from all unrestricted revenue) is $2600.

    • Of this, 20% goes to Unity headquarters and 20% goes to Unity Worldwide Ministries ($520 each)

    • Leaving the balance to be distributed as the board decides to an individual or organization -- local, national or international -- that either feeds us spiritually or where we see spiritual principles in action.

    We agreed as a group that we would revisit this topic next month with the intention of exploring whether what we have done in the past is how we wish to continue into the future.

     

    The board voted to send this month's tithe balance ($1627) to pay down the debt on the sculpture we donated to Unity Village.

     

     

    Mobile phone/text giving

     

    Coleen Hilton made her final report on her ongoing investigation into electronic giving with the recommendation that it is too expensive and cumbersome and does not suit our needs. Cherie Conway, our business manager, is happy with our existing options. ( Ellen brought a list explaining 10 ways to give to the church. Attached.)

     

     

    Staff reports

     

    • There is a CFO investor wishing to divest, opening the door for a new individual to join the group.

    • The Hays County appraiser will come to review our wildlife exemption by touring the property in September.

    • Ellen's apartment ceiling was damaged during the air conditioning repair necessitating patching and painting

    • Windows to Ellen's apartment were caulked, solving the leak problem.

    • Hays County ok with water usage amount (per newly installed meter).

    • Cosimiro is no longer tending our grounds. This position will be filled; in the meantime volunteers are being used.

    • Labyrinth project on hold until Cindy Millonzi returns.

    • Pool is breaking even with the membership income of $7000.

    • Jason Hilton will be recaulking the pool deck and not repointing the tiles in the pool. We will hire a professional for this task next year.

    • Unity resource page is up and running, a private group for our congregation on Facebook.

    • Trail Walk and Picnic event last month was a big success.

    • Basic prayer workshop this weekend with chaplain training scheduled for August 1st.

    • Molly Steel and Ellen will be leading Discover the Power Within You book discussion group for six weeks starting August 4th.

    • StrengthsFinder Workshop with Marj Barlow on August 15th.

    • Youth group fundraiser: will be selling new YOU logo paraphernalia. Santa, et al, have developed a new "brand" for our specific group.

    • September 20th will be the start of the next four-week membership class, and it will be held after the service.

     

    New Sign Project

    Tommy investigated possible updated sign options, and the project has been turned over to Cherie Conway. Bill Baily sign company has been chosen to provide and install a sandblasted cedar sign at the gate for a cost of $800. We will make an announcement from the podium asking for contributions, with the hope that it will be underwritten.

     

    "Board Projects"

    Ellen presented on the topic of what is expected when a board member takes on a project on behalf of the board with the following points highlighted:

     Plan on presenting your findings at the next board meeting.

     Consider 2 or 3 options, not just one.

     Talk to business manager Cherie Conway. She will help you package your presentation for the board. (See attached).

     


  • 12/22/2015 10:08 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Emergency Board Meeting Minutes

    Sunday June 21, 2015

    John Lichtenberger, Jan Gauvain, Tommy Potts, Tim Alderman and Marianne Calvanese gathered after the Sunday service to vote to approve spending an additional $3000 on replacing the air conditioning unit in the sanctuary.


  • 12/22/2015 10:05 AM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)


    Board Meeting Minutes

    June 15, 2015

    Present: Tommy Potts, Tim Alderman, Jan Gauvain, John Lichtenberger, Coleen Hilton, Marianne Calvanese, Andrea Ballentine

    Also present: Kit Holmes, Cherie Conway

    Absent: Rev. Ellen Debenport (sabbatical), Patrick Dattore, Scott Price


    Financials

    •      John and Cherie reported that we have $15,000 in the general fund. Cherie said her response to seeing this was "where is all of this money coming from? We have never been here before!" 
    •      Monthly tithe: Ellen made the motion and we voted through email to send our June tithe of $1,560 to the Barnabas Connection flood relief early. Tonight we decided to send our additional tithe income of $458 to the new Unity of Lake Travis.

    A motion was made, and approved, to:

    Update Ozona Bank Checking Accounts signature authorization as follows

    ACCOUNTS

    General Fund 1004-0909

    Sinking Fund 1005-1864

    AUTHORIZED SIGNATORIES

    Board President—Tim Dean Alderman

    Board Treasurer—John Lichtenberger

    Business Manager—Cheryl G. Conway

     

    EFFECTIVE DATE

    as soon a possible

    Electronic Giving

    Coleen reported on her investigation into tithing via texting and learned that it is much more complicated and expensive than we had initially hoped for. Tim asked her to explore one more avenue, Unity Online Radio's method, pull it all together and make a recommendation at the next board meeting.

    Business Report - Cherie

    •      CFO is completed.
    •      John Falcone has been hired as back up house manager when Stephan is gone.
    •      When Jason Marion takes his second Sunday off in 2 years of service, Stephan will cover for him.
    •      Caroline has been in charge of Sunday welcoming and is getting a lot of people plugged in to help out.
    •      Carole Moody will be trained on slides.
    •      Unity of El Paso sent us $561 for flood relief, bringing what we have received from outside individuals and organizations to a total of $1100. All has been turned over to the Barnabas Connection.

    Facilities - Cherie Conway 

    •      Arroyo project is 95% complete, with just some clean up and guttering needed at a total cost of $4800.
    •      Culvert under front entryway needs to be done at a cost of between $1200 and $1500. Coincidentally and happily, a check from an anonymous donor arrived today to cover it.
    •      Labyrinth project stalled because of rain.
    •      Jeff Richardson weeded and beautified the space between the arroyo and Ellen's apartment.
    •      Jason Hilton scraped and painted the pump house.
    •      The sanctuary AC keeps freezing up. The board approved the $3000 expenditure to replace it if Jim Bishop is not successful at repairing it.
    •      Pool memberships - there are a total of 60 with a revenue of $10,500, up from $9000 last year at this time.
    •      Jason will be repointing the tile in the pool - he is one busy, efficient guy!

    Additionally,

    •      Unity of Wimberley Resource Page is a closed Facebook group only for Unity of Wimberley members to use like a community bulletin board. This was a brainstorm of Santa's.
    •      Cherie and Susan Drews met to revamp the property management organization as follows: Tommy Potts in charge of Serenity Garden; Jon Clayton, trails; Cindy Millonzi, labyrinth; and Susan Drews, wildlife compliance.
    •      Scott resigned from heading up the Sunday morning Health Forum. The group agreed to pass responsibility around for the time being.
    •      This Saturday is the trail walk and picnic.

    Events

    All individuals or groups wishing to use the facility or property must fill out an event proposal and submit it to the business office. For the pool, waivers are also required. Tommy requested that he be contacted before the Serenity Garden is used so he can tidy it up first. We talked about safety precautions when using this area, also.

    Howling Moon

    Cherie presented us with a schematic of the building with duties/committees/activities designated for each area. Some committees have heads, some need people to step up.  Kit reported that the music will be party band-Motown cover-like this year.

    Sign project - Tommy 

    Tommy identified a sign company to provide signage for the entry gate and the south side of the facility. The board approved for Tommy to move forward on this project by first identifying if the proposed cost of $254 and $328 includes installation.  

    Additionally, Jan agreed to begin investigating having a txdot sign installed on 3237 identifying our presence. 


  • 07/06/2015 4:56 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    May 18, 2015

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Andrea Ballentine, Coleen Hilton, Marianne Calvanese, Tommy Potts, John Lichtenberger, Jan Gauvain, Tim Alderman 

    Absent: Scott Price, Patrick Dattore


    FINANCIALS

    Monthly tithe - After giving to UWM and Unity Headquarters, $1889 was left to disperse. We agreed to give to Camp Good Samaritan, an academic summer camp type program here in Wimberley that includes free lunch.


    ABUNDANCE REPORT

    Coleen reported on her discussion with Cherie Conway regarding various options for electronic giving including texting from our phones during the service. Tim and Ellen liked having members pick up a laminated card to drop in the collection bowl to signify that they already gave electronically. Ellen will get with Cherie to design the card. Coleen will look further into the texting option and Andrea will bring example card.


    ELLEN’S AND STAFF REPORTS

    • §  CFO closings are done, thanks to the Conways.
    • §  Arroyo on north side of building still not complete due to weather.
    • §  Jason Hilton has been painting throughout the building.
    • §  Bob Macgregor replaced air conditioning compressor in kitchen that was hit by lightning at his expense.
    • §  Cosimiro and Lawry Ross have been making plans for areas of the grounds to be worked on.
    • §  Pool membership revenue is at $5920 so far, up from $3690. Andrea suggested this may be more due to the increase in cost of each membership and not increased memberships.
    • §  Susan Drews has signs and brochures ready for trail walk and picnic.
    • §  There are 19 new members, most are already plugged in to volunteering.
    • §  Staff had a discussion about what has to be done in the event of possible flooding: we always have church; watch for emails and Facebook regarding whether to take the alternate route through White Wings; volunteers will be on the road directing traffic.
    • §  Chaplain training with Jan Gauvain, Kit Holmes and Susan Cranshaw will be held on May 30th and June 6th.
    • §  Ellen will be leaving for her sabbatical after the service on June 7th. Cherie Conway will represent her at the board meetings.
    • §  June 20th is the new date for the Trail Walk and Picnic.
    • §  Santa is looking into having fundraising opportunities for the YOU during other events. They have two fundraisers a year to raise money to attend rallies.

    ARE WE A CHURCH OR A CENTER?

    Jan Gauvain presented an article advocating not calling our organization a church because the word "church" has a negative connotation for some people. We discussed the need for a new language to describe ourselves. Ellen pointed out that church has already been dropped from our moniker, per UWM. Possibilities suggested were: "a praying community", the "center" and "fellowship of excitement". (During this discussion, it was difficult to talk about ourselves without using the word church).

    This led to concern over the sign by the gate that says Unity Church of Wimberley. Talk about replacing that led to the possibility of having a sign on FM 3237 announcing our presence. Tim said this has come up with previous boards but nobody wanted to take it on. In order for this to happen, we need to deal with Hays County, investigate making and funding a sign and look into Unity branding. Tim suggested that Jan head this project up and Tommy look at the Unity branding book.


    UWM REPORT

    The UWM board was impressed with our tithe to their education fund last month.

    Ellen suggested we all sign up for "The Path" email newsletter to learn more about UWM happenings. It was suggested that we consider carving out a percentage of our monthly tithe to go towards this fund.


    ALCOHOL

    Finally, Ellen bought up a question/request that periodically comes up about whether our facility can be used for gatherings that serve alcohol.  The board decided that the answer is no, because of the liability on the property as well as driving away from the property.

    Howling Moon is an exception because we get a TABC license for special gatherings and members of the board are present to monitor the amount being served.


  • 07/06/2015 4:52 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    April 20, 2015

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Marianne Calvinese, Tommy Potts, Patrick Dattore, John Lichtenberger, Tim Alderman, Jan Gauvain, Andrea Ballentine, Coleen Hilton

    Absent: Scott Price

    Jan Gauvain prayed us in

    Minutes from March were approved.


    FINANCIALS

    John reported that we show a ytd profit of $4000. Last year at this time we showed a negative $9000.

    Tithe: $694 each to Unity Worldwide ministries and Unity Headquarters, leaving $2081 to distribute. Tim suggested we alter our giving to help UWM because they will be hiring new staff to handle the acquisition of Unity Institute. After a short discussion regarding where money goes in these two organizations and how generous we’ve been toward scholarship funds, we voted to give this month’s $2,081 to UWM.


    STAFF REPORTS

    • ·       CFO exchanges are done – 4 cashed out and 3 or 4 bought in.
    • ·       Caroline Harper will be in on Wednesdays instead of Mondays, due to a schedule change at her other job. This will give us the benefit of having more coverage in the office during the week.
    • ·       Hays Central Appraisal District approved our wildlife exemption until 2019.
    • ·       The replacement of the north gables and some additional work cost $7837.
    • ·       The arroyo project has been stalled by wet weather. Seven tons of limestone has been dumped and is ready to go.
    • ·       Hays Trinity Groundwater District reimbursed us $100 for the flow meter required for our water well.
    • ·       Eight breaker boxes were located inside and out, charted and written down
    • ·       Cosimiro will be working on the grounds three Saturdays a month until it gets hot
    • ·       Pool membership will be handled by volunteers Stephany Hamrell and Gabi Sommers out of the bookstore on Sundays and the church office on Mondays.
    • ·       Fifty people participated at the all church workday – the most ever!
    • ·       Labyrinth project: gabions have been completed and blessed. Bench tops will probably be made out of Trex, to cut down on maintenance
    • ·       Wildlife team will be out measuring trails in preparation for trail walk and picnic event next month. Roberto Guerra will create signs with trail names. Tommy is stripping and varnishing the poles.


    ELLEN’S REPORT

    • ·       Approximately 75 people, including non-members, came on April 8 to hear Suzanne Giesmann talk about being an evidential medium.
    • ·       Prosperity class ending this week. It was the most prosperous class yet. Nearly half of the total tithe was from one donor.
    • ·       New member class has 21 participants!
    • ·       May 3 will be pool celebration day, and church attendees are welcome to wear flipflops and beachwear because it will be opening day for selling pool memberships. Also, it’s a potluck Sunday.
    • ·       On May 16 a trail walk and picnic will be held for fellowship and to inspire more use and involvement in caring for the trails. We will not scramble to improve trails to add to the inspiration. Hoping to get a Gazebo trail owner.
    • ·       June 7 will be Ellen’s last Sunday before her sabbatical leave. Kit will be here throughout and Cherie Conway will platform each Sunday. Ellen will be back before the July 19 Sunday service.


    VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION DINNER DEBRIEF

    Everyone agreed to make the VAD more simple in the future. It was stressful not having someone in charge. Board members weren’t happy because they didn’t get to interact with their friends. Everyone agreed that the formality wasn’t worth the extra effort – people would have been just as happy with less.  Hors d’oeuvres on the porch or barbeque on the veranda are two potential ideas.


    SUGGESTED LOVE OFFERING

    At the request of trustee Andrea Ballentine, Ellen did some research and explained what the term “suggested love offering: means and why it is necessary for the church to use it. It means, “Here’s what we think this is worth, but we won’t turn anyone away.” Bruce Verkruyse, the CFO for UWM, advised it’s the safest way to claim that an event is in line with the church’s mission. A love offering also is tax deductible for the individual. But a fee is okay, too, such as our admission fee for Howling Moon, which clearly supports the church. See handout from Rev. Ellen attached below.

     

    TERMS OF OFFICE

    Because a large number of our trustees started at the same time (6 out of 9) it is necessary to stagger the length of their terms so we don’t lose more than half our board at one time. Marianne and Tommy volunteered to serve 1 year and Patrick volunteered to serve 2 years, rather than the usual 3 years.

    ADJOURN


    Board Handout from Rev. Ellen

    SUGGESTED LOVE OFFERING v. FEES

    Suggested love offering means this is what we think it’s worth, but we won’t turn someone away if they give less.

    It’s the safest way for churches to charge because it’s easier to claim the event is in alignment with the church’s mission. It is also tax deductible for the individual, as a gift to the church.

    But a fee is okay, too. For Howling Moon, which clearly supports the church, it’s find to have a firm ticket price. For a speaker, if we have a fee, we need a written agreement about how the money will be split. And if we turn someone away because they can’t pay the fee, it could trigger a more stringent look at our practice and whether the event served the church’s mission.

     

    SILENT AUCTION

    Legally, we should have everyone who donates something tell us what they think it’s worth. Then keep track of what it sells for and report both to them on their year-end statements.

    If it sells for more, they can deduct the difference on their taxes. If it sells for less, none of it is deductible

    FUND RAISERS FOR INDIVIDUALS                 

    This is the quickest way for a church to lose its non-profit status. For instance, having a fund-raiser for someone in the congregation who is sick to help with medical costs. We are not supposed to support just one individual, unless we have a separate department with policies about how we will distribute benevolent funds.

    Any funds raised this way also would not be tax deductible to individuals because it’s not a gift to the church.


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