Monthly Executive Report

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UUCA Long Range Plan 2011-2016

Year Five Implementation Plan:

Monthly Executive Report
October 2016

Goal #

We will be among the most Engaging and Enriching Congregations in Atlanta

Specific Implementation

Progress Report


Visitors and members are finding their place within the congregational community.

Follow-up Team in development, led by Marycallie Laxton
Expanded membership development experiences through Faith Forward programs held during middle hour starting Jan 1, 2017, with Inquirers series starting in November 2016.
Recruit Welcome Coordinator to supervise and revamp the Usher/Greeter program.

Launch and support of new covenant group in summer 2016, with more people recruited to groups throughout the year. Increased training & support for Covenant Group facilitators.

Wonderful Wednesday overhauled to be more family friendly and engaging, with other offerings including games, social opportunities, multi-gen RE, and childcare being provided.



See Appendix for proposed new directions in program together with job descriptions


8 new groups, 78 new members


Many cultures and communities are reflected in our worship services and programming.
*AVOM: Through inreach and outreach, we grow into our congregational commitment to ARAOMC

Worship Team membership is diversified to better reflect congregational diversity
Prophetic Encounters Group is developed, which will help to spread ARAOMC awareness in the congregation
Development of ARAOMC Steering Team, responsible for planning/implementing a diverse menu of training options
Continuing and deepening our use of the Beloved Conversations curriculum, including new lay leader point person for program at UUCA
Developing programming around GLBTQ issues, led by our JBI participant Bryce Thomason
Diversification of worship spaces to accommodate different preferences around how to worship
Developing a priority list of accessibility problems/solutions for older people
Programming around sexism and violence against women
Revising the Congregational Covenant in light of our ARAOMC commitment
Special programming

  • Mark Morrison Reed service

  • Purim celebration in March, in conjunction with the March 10-12 UUJA conference



First meeting was Oct 15


Oct. retreat cancelled because of insufficient sign-ups; Spring retreat is planned






Educational programs for congregants and the larger community are offered.

Faith Forward CORE courses are implemented
Senior Minister to teach an adult RE course starting January 8
Lay Ministers are trained and organized to offer ADHC (Advanced Directive for Healthcare) support


See Appendix for more information


Congregants are feeling connected to each other and supported by the larger UUCA community.

“55+ and Fine: Living Fully in the Autumn of Life” program
Safer Congregations Team in formation
Covenant Group revitalization
Wonderful Wednesday revitalization



Congregants are experiencing spiritual nurture and growth.
*AVOM: We experience the continued revitalization of our Lifespan RE programs.

Marketing materials developed and distributed for our Lifespan RE program

Engaging an RE consultant

Implementing SuperCharged Sunday

Developing intentionally designed one-hour worship

Pilgrimage to Transylvania
Outdoor Circle Worship


Video was shown during Sept. 11 service; a special blast out of the video is planned for late October

User-friendly infographic explaining SuperCharged Sunday has been developed


Goal #

We will increase our impact in the Larger World

Specific Implementation

Progress Report


An infrastructure is in place to empower congregants to perform, coordinate, & participate in peace & justice work.

Improved over-all health of UUCA justice groups (including communication among groups and between groups and congregation)
Strategic analysis of all social justice groups and restructuring as needed
Regular meetings of social justice groups with Director of Congregational Life




Policy binder for SJ leaders in process of development


Congregants are educated about peace and justice needs.

Offering a Refugee Advocate Training and an event on Family Detention (through RAICES)



UUCA supports groups outside of UUCA to do peace and justice work in the Atlanta community.

UUCA provides space and volunteers to support RAICES in its work to provide legal expertise to immigrant families
UUCA offers space and support to BLM and black organizing groups free of charge




The congregation is collectively committed to/engaged in a shared social justice mission that makes a difference in the lives of Atlantans.

Our all-congregational commitment to ARAOMC


See EE2

Goal #

We will Motivate and Inspire ourselves and others

Specific Implementation

Progress Report


A communications plan is developed on an annual basis

Work on long-range communications plan including strategy, policy, budget and appropriate staffing

Develop an annual content calendar for all communications


Communications policy is done; community conversation about communication scheduled for Oct. 23


The website serves both members and newcomers effectively.

New website
The City - continuing to utilize this platform to engage members and friends




Congregants are sharing their UU stories and inviting others to participate in the UUCA community.

Congregational Life Committee facilitates a congregational survey
UUCA History Event, facilitated by Dan Hotchkiss
New mission and ends statements for UUCA are developed
UUCA participation in the 2016 Atlanta Pride Parade




Inspirational messages and resources are made available in various venues.

Messages on our new UUCA roadside sign
Shifting the paradigm in our monthly newsletter, from information to inspiration
UUCA a Poke-stop





UUCA brand promotion and consistency is insured.


Goal #

We will have the Resources to fulfill our aspirations and potential

Specific Implementation

Progress Report


UUCA has a stronger culture of generosity and stewardship.
*AVOM: UUCA sees improvement in our finance and revenue-generating processes, including progress towards multi-year budgeting and fundraising planning.

Stewardship consultation, to help us see where we are and what the gaps; to enable us to be less busy and more strategic/effective
Exploring the possibility of a part-time staff-person focusing exclusively on Development
Multi-year budget plan developed

Multi-year fundraising plan developed

Improved congregational understanding of “fair share” giving and the fair share giving guide
Recognition of major donors from 2000 capital campaign


Development Professional Linda McNay has been hired.
Example in hand from Asheville church


Current deficiencies in our facility that can be fixed are identified and prioritized.

Leadership infrastructure to support planning and implementation in this area is developed.



A facilities maintenance plan is developed, one that addresses space utilization.

Leadership infrastructure to support planning and implementation in this area is developed.



A holistic volunteer development/support program is in place.

Skills and Talents Inventory, distributed congregation-wide and the results made available to all
Five SUULE participants for 2016; SUULE re-entry
Recharge: UUCA Volunteer and Leadership Development Conference
Various other volunteer development experiences

Board Committee participation as a pipeline to Board leadership





See news about Michelle Bishop’s training video in the Appendix


Fair Compensation for all staff is achieved.

Establish an ongoing process that uses UUA and local market data



Sustainable staffing levels that meet UUCA needs are attained.



Long-term needs in mission and membership are addressed through a facilities feasibility study.



Long Range Planning on an ongoing basis has been established.

Dan Hotchkiss is hired as a consultant working with us for 2016-2018


*AVOM: “Annual Vision of Ministry.” The growth vision of the 2016-2017 Board of Trustees

Appendix 1: New Directions for Usher/Greeter System, Including Job Descriptions (from Jessica)
New Welcoming Program Proposal and Proposed Roles
UUCA’s current system of recruiting ushers and greeters is outdated and has little to no ability to bring in new volunteers, and relies too heavily on a team of already-committed people. While the current system works somewhat, many volunteers experience burnout and leaders frequently do not stay committed to the program due to the stress of not having a large enough team.
I have researched several other programs among the UU Association of Membership Professionals and the most common and successful program is a 12-month model. The congregation is divided up into 12 months (similar to our generosity model) and each member is asked to take one Sunday out of that month to commit to greeting and ushering. Over time, this model could also be expanded to other welcome ministries like the Connectors’ Kiosk, the Coffee Team, and the Bakery Table, depending on capacity.
With just our current number of members (over 600, not including pledging friends) taking just one Sunday a year, UUCA could cover every single Sunday. This model will enable volunteers to commit to less time (1 month per year for monthly coordinators, 1 Sunday per year for each member, and the overall coordinator has fewer responsibilities) and will remind members that hospitality is the role of every member of the congregation.
The model consists of two roles – an overall coordinator (role could be shared by 2 people) and 12 monthly coordinators.

The duties of the Welcoming Program Coordinator include:

  • Working with the Director of Congregational Life at the beginning of each calendar year to divide the congregation into 12 groups and maintain an updated contact list of members in each month.

  • Coordinate with monthly leaders to ensure they have contact information for their month in order to recruit ushers and provide assistance as needed. Remind each monthly coordinator when it is their time to recruit volunteers.

  • Work with Director of Congregational Life to provide ushering and greeting training 2-3 times per year on both effective welcoming and maintaining a smooth entry and exit of worship services.

  • Set up and maintain an ongoing scheduling system on the City.

  • Ensures that worship services and building offer a welcoming environment for visitors and the building is clearly labeled and easy to navigate. Recommends improvements to staff and minister as appropriate.

  • Ensures the welcome table and pamphlet areas are stocked with information about UUCA as well as forms (count forms, visitor information cards, and attendance sheets) are well-stocked as needed.

  • At the end of each month, ensures attendance information in the Greeter Binder is correct.

  • Oversee budget and expenditures for ushers & greeters.

  • Review communication materials for first-time visitors.

This role is primarily technology based and should be someone with strong attention to detail, follow up skills, and ability to navigate both the City and a calendar.

The roles of the monthly coordinator include:

  • Receives list of members for their assigned month and contacts each person to arrange a schedule for the month using the City.

  • If a special service falls during their month, recruits extra ushers as needed from their pool of volunteers.

  • Sends volunteers reminders for the upcoming week they have signed up and ensures they have all the information they need on how to complete their role.

This role is largely remote and requires someone with excellent communication, scheduling, and follow up skills. This could be filled with some of our “veteran” head ushers or former experienced ushers.

The roles of an usher include:

  • Greet members and guests.

  • Direct or lead visitors to their desired destination.

  • Ensure children and families are properly directed to religious exploration.

  • Introduce visitors to church staff, teachers and members of similar age when possible.

  • Open doors for/assist older people or people with disabilities

  • Distribute Orders of Service at the door of the sanctuary

  • Collect the offering and return to finance volunteers

  • Record the attendance each week in the Greeter binder

  • Create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors and members by being a warm and inviting presence on Sunday morning and responding to member questions, interests, and concerns

Appendix 2: Senior Minister’s RE class
Listen to these words from church consultant Bruce Epperly: 
In a time in which many assert that post-modernism privileges experience over doctrine, open-ended theological reflection has become more essential in the pulpit and the congregational classroom.  Congregants need to nurture the mind as well as the spirit and heart to creatively face the challenges of our pluralistic age.  They need safe places in which to explore their faith questions and challenge childhood ideas about God and humankind.
Rev. Epperly hits the nail on the head. People hear about religion from all sorts of sources and it is imperative that UUCA add its voice to the mix. It is furthermore imperative that UUCA does more than just provide top notch worship experiences; it must also provide spaces where open-ended theological reflection can take place. That's Religious Exploration (RE), for all ages. 
I'm excited about Supercharged Sunday. It's a huge change for us. In all my 9+ years here, we've never changed worship times before. But we are risking significant change because the stakes are so high. Hearts, minds, and souls need feeding, and worship (no matter how great) is just not enough. Open-ended exploration/discussion of theological issues is also needed. Adults need it as much as kids and teens. But because schedules are so packed, it's very hard for adults to take RE classes. 
Adults are missing out. 
So we are making major changes to the look of Sunday morning. We are taking a risk in service to an important purpose: to make sure RE is easily available to ALL ages, even in this age of rush-and-gush. 
Starting January 8, 2017, we will be offering a variety of RE experiences to adults, and one of those offerings comes from me. Some of you know that, before I became a minister,  I was a college philosophy professor. I did that for eight years. I simply love teaching. At UUCA, I taught any number of adult RE classes on Wednesday nights (when they were usually offered) but dwindling numbers discouraged me. 
So I'm excited about the new year coming up. Here's information about the course I'm teaching: 
Socrates, one of the founders of Western philosophy, said that "The unexamined life is not worth living." This course is an adventure of intellect and imagination as we examine nine areas of life: the nature of philosophy, human nature, reality & being, God, sources of knowledge, truth, ethics, social philosophy, and art & meaning. The course will combine open-ended conversation in small group and large group contexts, together with presentations from the instructor. Your instructor is enthusiastic and will encourage participation from all. Drop-ins welcome--you need not attend all classes to feel engaged! 
Schedule (all classes are from 10:10am to 11:10am, room TBD)
January 8: Nature of Philosophy

January 15: Human Nature

January 22: no class

January 29: Reality & Being

February 5: God

February 12: Sources of Knowledge

February 19: no class (Rev. Makar's 50th birthday!)

February 26: Ethics 

March 5: Social Philosophy

March 12: Art &  Meaning 
All readings will be supplied in class. 
What if I took philosophy before and hated it?
Ah, but your professor was never Rev. Makar!
Your Instructor
Rev. Anthony Makar grew up in Alberta, Canada and moved to Texas when he was 12. He’s a former college professor of philosophy (at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas) and his lifelong passion is figure skating. Ordained in 2004, Rev. Makar‘s first ministry involved planting a new kind of Unitarian Universalist church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, called Pathways. Since 2007, he has been the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.
Great things are ahead for us, UUCA! I hope you are as excited as I am! 
Love and Courage,

Appendix 3: News About Michelle Bishop’s Training Video
From: LREDA-L [] On Behalf Of Susan Lawrence via LREDA-L

Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2016 10:19 AM


Subject: [LREDA-L] Video for volunteer training - new Call & Response blog post


Dear Colleagues,

We’ve just published Michelle Bishop’s blog post on using a simple, free video program to produce a training tool that has helped prepare RE volunteers.


If you haven’t yet subscribed to Call & Response, now is a great time to do so. You can look forward to 2, sometimes 3, blog posts each month from your professional peers and special guests sharing wisdom, stories, and inspiration with us.


We have just moved into the website. Visit our landing page to subscribe!



Susan Dana Lawrence  |  Managing Editor, Faith Development Office

Phone (617) 948-4363  |  Call and Response

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