Letter from Board President Janell Weaver, September 2020
Hello from my home office, a place I’ve become very familiar with in the last six months—like many of you.
I was asked to start doing some regular posts on the website since we can’t meet in person to talk about what’s happening and how we are all doing. I guess you could call it a blog, if anyone even uses that word anymore.
As communication goes, writing a column on a website leaves something to be desired. I’d much rather be talking to you in person in the Fellowship Hall on a Sunday morning.
On the other hand, you all have my email address, so you have every opportunity to tell me what you think. And many of you have definitely done so!
Going forward, I’m going to use this space to talk about how to join the Board and what we do, and answer any questions you send me about the Board. Or about anything else you want to know about the church. What I don’t know, I’ll try to find out for you.
How to Become a Board member.
I’ve always thought we should make it easier for new members, especially those new to UU, to know how the whole Board process works.
I remember how confused I used to be, and how much I had to ask for clarification from folks like Tom Woods and Reed Bilz, who always seemed to have the answers.
So below is the short version of the answer, but if you want to read the details for yourself, the applicable Westside policy is here, under Article 6 of the Bylaws.
1. Who is eligible to be on the Board? Anyone who:
a. Has been a member of Westside for at least 30 days
b. Is 18 or older
c. Has been voted in as a Board member (whom we call Directors) by the congregation at the Annual Meeting
2. How do you get on the ballot at the Annual Meeting? There are two ways:
1) The most common is that the Board will reach out to the Nominating and Leadership committee to ask them to search for new board members as old member’s terms expire. The committee will tend to seek out members who have expressed an interest in leadership by, for example, chairing a committee. If those members agree to run for the Board, their name will go on the ballot at the Annual Meeting.
2) However, you may also simply submit your name for consideration to the Board before the Annual Meeting and be added to the ballot. You can always contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. What about being a Board Officer? Like Directors, Officers are nominated by the Nominating and Leadership Committee, often from among the existing Directors. They are also then voted on at the Annual Meeting. The Officers are the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. There are some restrictions on who can be an Officer that are laid out in Section 6.1 of the bylaws; they are mostly there to prevent conflicts of interest or concerns about favoritism.
A Personal Note
Now that I’ve talked about church stuff, I wanted to say something more personal.
Westside has been a home to me and my daughter Rachel for many years. It’s been our place of stability and acceptance when our lives were going through upheavals, like job changes and divorce. And now the whole world is going through an epic upheaval, and all of us at Westside find ourselves clinging on, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
I can tell you, there is nothing in our bylaws about how to run a church during a pandemic lockdown! Or what to do if you fear that your country’s democracy is being undermined. Since February, I’ve had times when things were basically fine, and times when the thought of all that is happening was just completely overwhelming.
I know a lot of you are feeling the same, because you’ve told me so.
And on top of that, well, we have the worries we always have: about the budget, saying goodbye to our minister and starting the transition process all over. It’s been a lot for all of us to deal with, whether we were on the Board or not. A lot of logistics and a lot of emotion. Some members have had to step away, others have had to take on fewer responsibilities. Some things we wanted to do couldn’t happen yet, or could only get partially done. Some things, like seeing each other in person and comforting each other, we’ve just had to learn to do without for now, and it’s hard.
But we’ve also rallied. Thanks to a concerted effort led by Nicci Kennedy and supported by the Worship Team, the Choir, Yuki Kamumoto and the AV Team, we’ve managed to keep having live services, week after week. None of us were experts at this kind of virtual setup before, but we learned and we pitched in and we made it happen.
We also pitched in and found Reverend Frieda to be our interim minister and now she can be here to help us chart our course, pandemic or not.
We’re holding on and making it work, and it’s been awe-inspiring to watch.
When I think of Westside right now, I think of it as a little island of light in a dark ocean. We can’t control the waves or whatever storms might come up, but we are still keeping the fire lit and the light shining. That’s work worth doing, and it’s beautiful to see.
Summary of Board Meeting Minutes