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Board Minutes

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  • 01/22/2015 8:46 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    December 15, 2014

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Tim Alderman, Scott Price, Rodger Marion, MarjBarlow, Judy Davoust and Andrea Ballentine

    2015 Board candidates present: Tommy Potts, John Lichtenberger, Marianne Calvanese, Coleen Hilton, Jan Gauvain (Absent: Patrick Datorre)

    Also present: Stanley Tartakov, Kit Holmes, Cherie Conway, Leslie Howe 

    November minutes approved with no corrections or changes.

    Financials

    Judy reported that our ytd statement shows that we were $21,000 in the black in November as compared to $7,400 in the red same time last year. Our attendance is up, but giving is exceptionally up, by 88% since 2010.

    Tithes

    $2,507 to tithe. We agreed to give $500 each to Unity and Unity Worldwide Ministries, $1,200 to Kit's trip to Sound Connections, and the remaining $304 to Richard Newsum for tirelessly counting the collection plates nearly every Sunday throughout the year. It was suggested that we tithe to Cindy and Jeff Anderson soon for their generously hosting the annual (we hope) Christmas party.

    Staff and ministry report 

    A couple of church members want to sell their CFO notes, worth approximately $50,000. The member database will soon label all CFO participants, enabling mass mailings. Our preference is only to open the CFO program to new participants or exchanges every 5 years, but private exchanges may be made.

    Big news: Lawry Ross has resigned her position as property manager and has been replaced by Jason Hilton. We will need to find someone to fill her Howling Moon function, however, which was HUGE.

    Abel Garcia is ready to turn the drainage ditches into arroyos on the north side of the building by lining them with rock. This will cost $2000, which was approved at the November meeting.

    Jason Hilton will start examining the exterior repairs that need to be made and figure out what will be best hired out.  Remote dimmers have been installed in the sanctuary. (Jason's first big accomplishment!)

    Sanctuary has been adjusted to make room for 118 chairs.

    Jan Gauvain will put away and label Christmas decorations and discard old ones after the holiday.

    Caroline Harper wants to train the congregation on how to use the church online database. 

     Christmas party at the Anderson's brought in over $3,000. Next fundraiser is Downton Abbey at Tim and Baxter's. Church members are encouraged to host these fundraising events throughout the year.

    The annual meeting will be on January 5th. We’ll buy pizza for lunch beforehand.

    Santa is hoping to send some of our youth to the YOU rally in Fort Worth in January. In February, Unity Church of the Hills will hold a rally for youth and training for youth sponsors.

    Nominating Committee Report

    Rodger spoke on behalf of Ellen, Leslie, Maggie Wagner and himself regarding the board nominees and the process for identifying and approving them. He is pleased that we reached our goal of bringing on 6 new members, all with exceptional strengths. They are: Tommy Potts, Jan Gauvain, John Lichtenberg, Marianne Calvanese, Coleen Hilton and Patrick Dattore.

     

    Budget preview

    Cherie Conway reported, explained and educated everyone on how our budget works and what the actual numbers mean. 

     A few of the main highlights:  

                   In 2014, 79% or our income came from tithing, 21% came from fundraising and special classes/events.

                   Total income projected for 2015 is $311,869.

                   45% of our budget will go towards paying our staff, $140,000 or $11,700/month for salaries.

                   The pool costs about $13,100 to run per year, with membership income at around $13,700 if we bump up prices $10.

                   Howling Moon earned about $32,000, netting $18,000. Kept the same figures for 2015.

                   Utilities, services, materials, insurance, programs, supplies, salaries (including 1099s), equipment, guest speakers and guest musicians will add up to a total yearly expense of $307,545...

                   Leaving us with a projected net operating income of $4,324.

                   Additionally: we do not budget for capital projects; we pay as we go through fundraising, special gifts and "asking".  

    Judy made a motion, and Scott seconded, that we approve the budget as presented. All voted in agreement. Marj moved that we continue the practice of tithing on the budget (as a minimum) and not on actual income. All approved.

    Finally, Judy brought up the idea she and Tim discussed regarding year-endbonuses to "people in the background", i.e., Jeff  Richardson, Jason Marion, Santa Heinemann and Baxter Lawrence. Rodger moved, and we all voted in favor of, giving $500 to each of them. 

    The February meeting has been moved to February 25th in order to accommodate Tim’s being out of town and a federal holiday. It will be the first meeting for new board members. 

    A half-day board orientation is scheduled for January 31. 

  • 01/22/2015 8:38 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    Nov. 17, 2014

    Present: Tim Alderman, Judy Davoust, Marj Barlow, Rodger Marion, Scott Price, Rev. Ellen Debenport

    Absent: Andrea Ballentine

    6:30 pm - Tim prayed in

    Check in

    Rodger meditation

    Approved minutes for Sept and Oct meetings

    Financial report – Judy Davoust

    Howling Moon poured money into our bank account. Net income is $19,861 to the good this year with higher expenses but even higher revenue. Compared to $9,732 in the red at the end of October 2013.

    • §  20 percent each to Unity World Headquarters and Unity Worldwide Ministries
    • §  $2,514 to be divided five ways with $502.80 to the Howling Moon team: Cherie Conway, Lawry Ross, Caroline Harper, John and Carla Lichtenberger (a check for each)

    The board also agreed to tithe $1,200 in December to send Kit Holmes to the Sound Connections conference next year.

    Budget Review

    Set Dec. 15 as the date for budget review and next board meeting. The board and board candidates will gather at 5 pm for a potluck and short board meeting, then the budget review will begin at 6:30 pm, open to all.

    Rodger Marion, chair of the Nominating Committee, will send a special invitation to everyone who has asked for a board application packet.

    Staff and Minister Reports

    • §  $55,000 in CFO notes are available. Buyers are found by word of mouth.
    • §  Stephan Buchanan’s job as house manager has been cut to Sundays only and some of his duties assigned to the cleaning crew. Hill Country Spring Water hired for deliveries to prevent running out.
    • §  Perry Marlow of Advanced Water Well Technologies looked at our two water wells. The pumps are working in both but will need to be lowered as the water table decreases.
    • §  Lawry Ross has hired Casimiro Gonzales to work Mondays for routine chores and close-in grounds maintenance. $13 an hour for 10 hours a week until the grounds are under control, then hours may be reduced. Casimiro has a helper, his own truck and uses his own equipment.
    • §  AC drip pipe moved, chimneys swept, kitchen vent hood to be removed and roof leak fixed
    • §  Thank you notes to Howling Moon volunteers and local donors going out.
    • §  Lori Gosnell will take over as flowerbed keeper, working twice a month.
    • §  Jean Newsum is retiring from the Care Team. Betty Potts will take over with Judy Bradbury. Judy Davoust is still in charge of sending notes and cards.
    • §  Christmas party with 125 people should raise $3,125
    • §  Private dinner party at the Andersons’ raised $450
    • §  Downton Abbey house party in January should yield $1,000.
    • §  Ellen briefly reported on the suicide of Rick LaBuhn, who had been attending the church with his wife and daughters. Memorial service is Wednesday at San Marcos High School Performing Arts Center.

    2015 Dates Set

    Howling Moon on Friday, Oct 23, 2015

    Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Friday, April 17, 2015

    All-Church workday to be set a few weeks before

    Drainage Project

    Marj Barlow moved to authorize spending up to $2,000 to create stone arroyos in the drainage ditches on the north and west sides of the building. Tim and Rodger both seconded. Approved.

    Abel Garcia, who has done other stonework for the church, says this will be a three-day project using stone gathered from the property. He will build two footbridges and also seal the north wall at the foundation to prevent leaks and dampness in Ellen’s apartment.

    Kiosk

    Judy researched donation kiosks and talked to Unity of the Hills, who had glowing reports. The first year they put in a kiosk, 30% of the congregation used it, and giving went up. UCOH used a company called SecureGive, which also serves a couple of mega-churches in Dallas.

    On sale right now, the kiosk machine would be $1,700 with an activation fee of $199 and monthly fees of $59. Each transaction is 20 cents plus 2.19 percent if a credit card, a little less for debit. Kiosk giving can be integrated with church management systems and credited to the donors’ accounts.

    After discussion, the board decided this isn’t the right time. Our wifi is spotty, we’re not sure the church is really big enough to use this, and we don’t want a long line with only one kiosk.

    Tim Alderman suggested keeping it in mind, however, because it has worked so well at other churches. More people no longer carry cash or checkbooks. He suggested a survey in January to assess interest in a kiosk.

    The board also discussed strengthening wifi at the church, where the metal roof often blocks reception. Judy Davoust agreed to check with David Conway about a booster router for the bookstore.

    • §  Marj Barlow will attend Unity’s Mid-Winter Meetings in February to help UWM with its changes.
    • §  Tim Alderman is hosting the officers of the UWM board and the CEO at his home this week to discuss the ongoing turnaround.

  • 01/22/2015 8:36 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    Oct. 20, 2014

    Present: Tim Alderman, Marj Barlow, Ellen Debenport, Andrea Ballentine, and Judy Davoust on speakerphone

    Absent: Scott Price, Rodger Marion

    September minutes will be submitted and approved at the November meeting.

    Financial report

    Judy gave a brief report on our financial status and together we decide to put our discretionary tithe towards our sculpture at Unity Village.

    Minister's report

    • §  The nominating committee for new board member elections has been formed: Maggie Wagner, Leslie Howe, Rodger Marion, and Ellen. Possible candidates are John Lichtenberger, Patrick Dattore, Jan Gauvain, and Tommy Potts. We are looking for up to 6 new trustees.
    • §  Ellen attended the Unity South Central Regional Conference in Houston. 
    • §  Next week Ellen will be on Dallas making a video with Mindy Audlin on The Five Principles for Mindy's small group subscription series.

    Facility report

                   Chimney sweep is on the calendar

                   Stone mason (Abel) fixed the crumbling mortar on the stairs leading to the platform

                   We discussed hiring Abel to turn the drainage ditch on the north side of the building into an arroyo. This would cost around $1,200 and would include sealing the wall outside Ellen's apt to alleviate damp smell and leaking. Tim suggested tithing to the land/property occasionally, which would fund projects like this. We all agreed the land fits the criteria of spiritually feeding us.

    Howling Moon

    Cherie Conway has 50 volunteers on for Howling Moon, with detailed plans and a cashiers' rehearsal scheduled for Wednesday morning. All 250 advance tickets have been sold, totaling $6,125, which covers expenses and the $2,000 door prize, leaving everything else earned at the event as profit for us and Operation Good Shepherd.  Our "cushion" has been spent, and we are looking forward to replenishing it with this fund raiser.

    Two other upcoming fund raisers are a $75 a plate dinner party hosted by Cindy Anderson, and the holiday party, also hosted by Cindy and Jeff Anderson. One hundred and twenty five $25 tickets will be sold for that event.

    Budget preview

    Kit Holmes has asked for a one month sabbatical next summer. This will be her first and will cost the church around $800. All agreed it is well-deserved. Tim asked that we try to avoid having 4 different people filling in to provide continuity. He also made the request that the same opening song be used each week.

    Kit has also made a request to attend the Sound Connections conference next year. Rather than conduct a small fund raiser, we agreed to use a monthly tithe to send her, which will cover the $1,200 registration fee and travel expenses.

    Finally

    Tim asked Judy to look into installing a swipe kiosk in the church in order to facilitate Sunday giving. Many churches are having success with this concept, including Unity of the Hills in Austin.

    Meeting was concluded with Tim praying us out.

  • 01/22/2015 8:34 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    September 15, 2014

    Present: Tim Alderman, Ellen Debenport, Rodger Marion, Andrea Ballentine, Kit Holmes 

    Absent: Judy Davoust, Marj Barlow, Scott Price

    Financial/facility report

                   It was a "glorious, complaint free" summer regarding the pool (according to Cherie Conway)

                   A volunteer overseer of the pool is still needed

                   Pool service costs $530/month

                   Monthly expense for electricity equals $1000 for the church, including $250 for the pool

                   Pool memberships made $2,400 profit, minus upcoming maintenance expense rest of the year. We agreed that the price for pool membership is priced right, based on number sold and high attendance

                   Cash flow is down to a trickle, as is expected for this time of year

    New Speaker Series

    Roberto Guerra has given an $18,000 gift to the church to honor his parents. He chose to use it for a speaker/musician series, to be called the "Guerra Series".

    Tithe

    From the $18,000 gift we have $1875 to tithe. The board agreed to set it aside for future use to give tp guest musicians/speakers who particularly feed the church (whether they are part of the series or not). Rev. Ellen dubbed it the Knock Your Socks Off Tithe Fund. She moved the creation of the fund, Rodger seconded, all approved.

    Meanwhile, the regular tithe this month goes to Unity World Headquarters, Unity Worldwide Ministries, and the rest to Rev. Paulette Pipe, who is creating a meditation retreat day at Unity Village for the caregivers at Operation Breakthrough in Kansas City.

    Staff reports

                   Chaparral Room AC finally died. A split unit and/or ducting from existing unit will be installed at some point.

                   David Conway got the wifi routers working

                   Septic system will be serviced

                   Peace park soaker hose installed

                   Building exterior porches/eaves need attention

                   Abel Garcia will repair and re-mortar platform in sanctuary before Howling Moon. Later we hope he can create stone arroyos in the drainage ditches on north side of building

    Miscellaneous 

                    A reunion pool party for the kids who attended the New Braunfels rally is scheduled

                   The Unity of Wimberley website has brought in $1,000 in unsolicited donations from online listeners.

                   New membership class with 8 participants is under way

                   "Hiring the Heavens" book group on the scheduled with Rev. Ellen

                   Nominating committee will be needed for upcoming board election. Hoping for as many as 6 new trustees. Rodger Marion volunteered to represent the board on the committee.

    Howling Moon

    Ellen moved to approve a $2,000 door prize ($25 ticket enters name in raffle). Rodger seconded, all approved.

  • 01/22/2015 8:32 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    August 18, 2014

    It was agreed upon by trustees to forgo a meeting this month. A vote was conducted via email to tithe to Unity, UWM and David Conway.

  • 01/22/2015 8:28 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    July 21, 2014

    Present: Marj Barlow, Judy Davoust, Scott Price, Andrea Ballentine, tim Alderman, Ellen Debenport 

    Financial Report

                   Tithing is up

                   Gross profit is higher than last year at this time ($9000)

                   Bridge expense of $5700 has been raised and paid

                   The pool is making money - not a profit, but enough to cover expenses for the year.

                   Prosperity class brought in $21,000

                   This month's tithe is being divided between Capital Area Food Bank ($700) and a "reverse tithe".  That is, giving $1000 back to the congregation ($10 per person) to show our appreciation and how we're spiritual fed by our members

    Staff Report

                   New furniture has been donated by Pat Pattison and set up in the Chaparral Room

                   The pool guy, Richard Kay, donned scuba gear to examine the spots that are flaking off the bottom of the pool. He is fairly confident they are only surface and can be patched with putty.

                   We're still looking for an "owner of pool administration", one person that will oversee clerical and financial administration. Lawry Ross will continue to manage the vendors.

                   Patrick Dattore is taking over the lead of the welcome team and John Lichtenberg is joining the team

                   Howling moon preparations are underway. Cherri Burrows is in charge of corporate donations

    Dam/Road Repair Report

                   Slated to start on August 1st

                   Fifteen volunteers showed up to clean, clear and repair the road leading to White Wings 

                   Tony Mangaro, head of HOA expressed appreciation 

                   Tim Alderman attended White Wings HOA meeting, but it was a "non-event": gates will be left open, we will post traffic directors on Sunday am, and we will cancel all extracurricular activities for the month of August.

                   Temporary stop signs will be installed. A proposal was brought up to install a permanent stop sign at the bottom of the steep hill.

    Other Business

    Labyrinth - Cindy Millonzi offered to head up (donate materials and labor?) building a labyrinth on decking to alleviate the wild hog destruction.  Most of the members of the board expressed a preference for it remaining on the ground and either fencing it in or moving it to the Serenity Garden.

    Peace Pole maintenance discussion: who is going to oversee mowing the grass and caring for the flags?

  • 01/22/2015 8:26 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    June 16, 2014

    Present:  Ellen Debenport, Scott Price, Andrea Ballentine, Marj Barlow, Rodger Marion, Kit Holmes, Judy Davoust, Tim Alderman

    Minutes from May board meeting were clarified, corrected, amended and approved. (See May 19 minutes for corrections).

    Financial report

                  43% increase in gifts and tithing

                  $ 5000 commission to Ellen for income from prosperity class

                  June tithe: $1400 to Good Samaritan children's food program

    Staff reports (combined news from Cherie, Lawry, Ellen, etc.)

                  Our share of the dam repair has been sent, now we wait for the water to go down so construction can begin.

                  Lee Maxwell and David Conway have been brainstorming the front entrance beautification project.

                  Next big project will be replacing the wall and eave siding on the north side of building. Lawry will be getting estimates. 

                  Tommy Potts and Jon Clayton rebuilt and refurbished the brick grill on the rock patio and it was used to cook meat for the men's breakfast.

                  Ellen's privacy gates have been replaced.

                  Howling moon preparations underway. Music act is booked: Ken Fowler and his son Dustin.
Corporate donation team has been formed: Cherie Conway, Lawry Ross, Caroline Harper and Gabi have already started gearing up.

    Pool report

    Fresh paint is peeling off in a few places. Richard Kay from Backyard Escapes believes it is a cosmetic issue but will don scuba equipment and assess the situation closer to determine if it's just paint and not plaster that is flaking. Will also determine if it can be repaired with underwater epoxy paint. There is no warranty for the work done because it's a 30-yr old pool.

    Go-Chemless is working beautifully; Keith, the pool service guy reports using significantly less chemicals.

    Pool memberships stand at 53 with half being church members, half not. Still looking for a pool administrator.

    Youth program update:

    Kids will be brought on stage and blessed at the end of the service and then have the option of returning to paid child care until 12:30 so parents can visit.

    Tim talked to other ministers regarding the continuing challenge of managing children post-service and learned that all congregations share these issues and have tried various solutions. Unity of Richmond minister, Vickie Bunch has authored a booklet offering suggestions on helping churches address topics related to Sunday school and parents. We're looking forward to looking at and perhaps using this material.

    At this point, board members took a few minutes to discuss the topic of bullying, including determining what can be considered bullying and what is normal child behavior. Also, what constitutes a church issue and ways that they can be addressed.

  • 01/22/2015 8:22 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    May 19, 2014

    Present: Ellen Debenport, Kit Holmes, Tim Alderman, Scott Price, Cherie Conway, Andrea Ballentine, Rodger Marion

    Staff/Facility Report(Ellen)

    Red Hawk Rd bridge repairs due to start in the next 45 days. Our share of the cost is $5200. $2500 has already been donated by an anonymous giver. Tim will attend an information meeting on Saturday, May 24th.

    Beautification of the front of the church is coming along nicely, but slowly. Flood control proved effective after the last major rain, thanks to the new gutter and the digging out.

    Pool: still a little more unplanned work on valves to be completed. We're happy with our new pool service guy.  Memberships are steadily being purchased, up to 34. Still looking for a pool administrator. We're grateful for the volunteers who have been coming in on Mondays to help sell memberships.

    • looking for another slide operator to join the Sunday am team.
    • also a pot luck coordinator
    • Howling Moon preparations are on track

    From the staff meeting: we will bring kids in only once a month, on potluck Sunday, to alleviate the problem of them "crashing" the snack table.

    Treasurer’s report

    A concern was expressed  that we have a $19,000 negative balance. It was pointed out that except for the Stanley Steemer fee, all of the expenses for the past year were capital investments -- we have something to show for the money spent.  Also, we are seeing the investment in staff paying off with smoother running of the church, with less responsibility falling on the board members or one person (business manager).  It was agreed that we have been spending more than taking in, but that we started with a healthy cushion. There was talk of reducing the capital expense/reserve fund and it was decided we would revisit this.

    Tithe: Good Samaritan Day Camp held here in Wimberley at Jacobs Well Elementary, plus Unity and Unity Worldwide Ministries

    Miscellaneous 

                   HUG Meeting planned for after the June potluck to educate the congregation and ask for donations

                   Talk about a pool party fundraiser, maybe scheduled for the solstice weekend

                   Also, a Wildlife Fun day rather than workday to get congregants excited about what our property offers.

                   Rodger has been assigned/willingly volunteered to search for more adequate coffee pots.

  • 01/22/2015 8:21 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    April 21, 2014

    Present:Tim, Ellen, Rodger, Marj, Judy, Andrea

    Andrea prayed us in.

    Financial/Treasure's report: we are enjoying increased giving and less debt; increased expenses, but always able to meet them.  We agreed to split our monthly tithe between the Blanco County Good Samaratin Food Bank and Diane Venzara. Diane is a Unity minister currently dedicating her time and resources to writing YOU curriculum. This is a topic dear to our hearts and we wish to support her in this endeavor.

    Judy reported on the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  It was generally agreed that it was a success, financially and otherwise. Because of donations of time and money, we actually ended up with a $50 balance. Attendees reported having a wonderful time and expressed feeling very appreciated. Board members were recognized for their hard work. A few details were mentioned for tweaking next year. 

    Ministers report: Ellen reported on upcoming guest speakers, on the new house manager (Stephen Buchanan), and that our statue at Unity Village is nearly half paid off (5164 balance).  She also initiated discussion on our policy for youth members. We discussed at length what their status is after completing the membership class with their parents. This is a new phenomenon. A motion was made (by Tim?) to recognize them as non voting members, automatically becoming full members upon their 18th birthdays. It was agreed that this needs to be presented as a proposed bylaw change. Rodger seconded, all approved.

    UWM report: Tim informed us about some proposed changes for UWM board meeting locations. He is hoping to host a meeting here in wimberley August 11-14. A preliminary discussion was held on what this would entail for us. 

    Andrea prayed us out.

  • 01/22/2015 8:17 PM | Ellen Debenport (Administrator)

    Board Meeting Minutes

    March 17, 2014

    Present: Ellen, Tim, Judy, Marj, Rodger, Scott, and Andrea

    Tim prayed us in and invited us to consider which of our strengths we anticipated bringing to the meeting tonight.

    Rodger and Judy approved the February minutes.

    Ellen presented the facility report, highlighting item #3, a plan for eradicating the bird mess from the porch (but not the birds), by spraying WD40 on the rafters to deter nest making. All agreed it was a humane solution.  Also, item #5, utilizing Tommy Potts for various projects in and around the church. All agreed we are grateful for his presence.

    Church member Roberto Guerra would like to dedicate a significant sum of money to build some type of memorial to his father that would benefit the church. A drainage system to solve the rain runoff in front of the church was proposed.

    This provoked a discussion whether we need a policy regarding memorials for family members on the church grounds. Yes, only if:  there is no cost to church, no ongoing maintenance by the church, and it passes the walk away test. That is, if the person who started it walks away, how would it be maintained? Rodger suggested we consider this in further detail and come up with a wish list.

    The pool has incurred further expenses to which we voted and approved to spend up to $22,000. (Marj motioned, Rodger seconded). 

    Treasurer’s report: summed up that we are very prosperous and always able to pay our bills. Tim expressed displeasure that South Central Region Youth Consultants have money in the bank and are doing very little to provide services to its members. We agreed to hold off on our routine tithe to them for 6 months and then revisit.

    Minister’s report. Ellen reported that her staff expressed the desire to have monthly staff meetings. They will be held at 1:30 on the third Mondays.

    Prosperity class going very well. Mary Morrissey fans like this curriculum even more than the previous.

    Prayer workshop with Kit is next on the program agenda.

    10th anniversary celebration set for Sunday, April 6th. Invitations will be made to founders and previous members. Guest speakers, pass the mic and potluck among the anticipated highlights.

    Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Judy Davoust in charge; assignments passed out to all board members; menu set. 

    Tim prayed us out.

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