UUFC President’s Letter December 30, 2021

From UUFC President Hal Midgette

Dear Members and Friends:

As we say good-bye to the old year, Janus, the dual faced Roman God for whom January is named, prompts us to reflect. In 2021 our UU not only endured the pandemic but thankfully adapted and progressed.  We transitioned from a Zoom Fellowship back to an in-person Fellowship.  This transition required lots of planning and care. As a result, there is much to be proud of. The following are some of the highlights.  

  • Brenda Stevens revamped the process for bringing new members into the Fellowship and manages the Fellowship’s Greeters, a critical function of welcoming newcomers.  Also, Brenda oversaw a major upgrade to our website by a web designer. This was not a small feat, but involved her working and learning about implementing the changes with the web designer. 
  • TEN new members have chosen to join the Fellowship and several new friends have also dropped into orbit.  
  • Bill Harlan, David Rush, and Elise Leonard have formed a team that provides the improved sound system we enjoy in Grace Fellowship Hall, and the videographic capture of our services.  Not only does Bill Harlan work on procuring speakers and guiding the service leaders, he also enhances the captured video and sound to produce quality YouTube videos of our services for the world to see. I urge you to take a peek by clicking here
  • For those troubled by the isolation and constant stress of covid during these pandemic times, Joyce Hickson formed a CARE Team, consisting of professional counselors to aid and assist. If interested, there is a small stand in the library with a small blue box and instructions. Every interaction with the CARE Team is confidential.
  • Joanie Andras has restarted her Meditation and Buddhist Studies in Grace Fellowship Hall.  This is such a wonderful way to bring peace and harmony back into your life. Both activities are being held on Saturday, in GFH.
  • Thanks to a donation from Ed and Sidney Wilson, the Design Team met for many months to determine specifications for a new custom-made pulpit, which will be  presented February 6. 
  • Orm Burnham organized the storage area in the back of the Meeting House to accommodate the supplies and equipment used for the Earth-Centered Spirituality Group’s Saturday services.
  • Ron and Connie Ussery have completed organizing and cataloguing our extensive religious/spiritual book collection. Ron also brought an electrician to install a much-needed outlet in the Sound Room, new overhead LED lights and exit lights, and a new light switch by the inside entrance to the Meeting House. 
  • The iron stove in the kitchen was sold since it was rarely ever used and had a complex pilot lighting system. Without the stove, there is no need for the fire suppression system which requires costly canister replacement and a bi-annual inspection. Also in the back kitchen area, Susan Stephenson (Social Action) set up a food pantry. The pantry is open to anyone who needs a little help. Donations of non-perishable foods are welcome.
  • The Design Team (Elaine Chambless, Brenda Stevens, Michelle Midgette, Joyce Hickson, Connie Ussery) spent a lot of thought, effort and coordination to get the lettering “Justice Compassion Love” added to the wall behind the dais. We see it every Service, a reminder of who we are and what we represent.
  • We switched security systems to CornerStone Security and added six security cameras to improve our security and monitor the increased traffic to our campus.  With the new system, several people who have frequently had to respond to alert notifications can now monitor the security camera from their phones. 
  • The “UU No Wrong Turns” bike club started and now includes six to ten riders.  We ride the River Walk, various parts of Fort Benning, country roads near Buena Vista, and have even ridden parts of the Ladiga and Silver Comet Trails in Alabama and Northwestern Georgia.  We have a guiding principle:  “No one gets left behind.”  The club is about exercise, conversation, and companionship.
  • The UU Women’s Book Club continued meeting this year in the pavilion, the Meeting House or in Grace Fellowship Hall, depending on the covid situation. They read and discussed a book each month, except December.
  • Our neighbor across the street from our Fellowship asked to rent Grace Fellowship Hall May 15 for her daughter’s engagement party. We were still doing Zoom Services until May 23, so her party was scheduled. A beautiful Indian party was held with Orm Burnham assisting with setting up. The rental funds were used for cleaning service after the party and as a donation to our general fund.
  • The Board established an endowment.  Part of this endowment consists of funds sequestered for a new roof in the future.  We have a very old metal roof which has been coated and patched several times.
  • Lisa Pyburn continues to develop and beautify the Pavilion area. The Pavilion has been a respite for many in the Fellowship.  It offers shade,  natural beauty and serenity for those having lunches or meetings. For group use, please reserve a date and time with the office.
  • Four people (John Mallory Land, Ursula King, David Rush, Elise Leonard) received Service Awards, two from last year when the Fellowship was closed and we couldn’t present, and two from this year. Congratulations!
  • Whittaker Locke has continued to provide quality music to the Fellowship, and on several occasions even arranged to have singers, with special singing masks.  Tiny steps taking us back to normal.
  • Through the compassion and generosity of our members and friends, our UU donated $12,000 to charities in 2021. 

UUFC Board News

The 2022 UU Board consists of President Hal Midgette, Treasurer Ron Ussery, Secretary Connie Ussery,  Trustee Orm Burnam and recently elected Trustees Judy Barnett, Joyce Hickson and Elise Leonard. After providing several years of outstanding service, Susan Stephenson and Robbie Hinson stepped  off the Board.

At the December Board meeting, a motion was made to investigate hiring a part time minister.  We will form an exploratory committee to determine our goals for this endeavor, and if you are interested in assisting, or have input, please contact me (706.577.9242) hallas_midgette@hotmail.com for more information or attend the next Board meeting on Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 10:00 in GFH.

The UU General Assembly will be held in Portland, Oregon July 22-26, 2022. The Board has budgeted $2000 for an individual to attend this meeting, with the stipulation that the attendee must present a Service on what they learned at the Assembly.  If you are interested in attending, please contact me before the January 20 Board Meeting.   

Our UU policies promote being fully vaccinated, boosted, masked and at social distance. These policies have allowed us to gather to share our joys and concerns and enjoy a Sunday Service each week. Thank you to all our members and friends for being careful, thoughtful, and responsible in coping with the pandemic.

May 2022 be a time of more kindness, less pain and suffering, and more cooperation among peoples and nations in creating a better world for all.

In Fellowship,

Hal Midgette
UUFC Board President