In many ways it has been a difficult year with the change in the United States administration and the uncertainty generated. However, having the opportunity to share and reflect on our UU values and principles has provided important support during this period. I am grateful for that opportunity. We are steadfast in our belief that good will win over bigotry, xenophobia and sexism. We are working together to help make that happen.
Many people have volunteered and worked together during 2017 to make things happen for the Fellowship. The following are some reflections:
* Our total Sunday attendance during 2017 was 5,461, an increase of approximately 20% from 2015 and our Sunday Service collections were up approximately 43% from 2015. This is a significant increase in just two years.
* Membership from 2016 increased by approximately 35% to 130 members.
* Thanks to the work of the Sunday Services Committee, there were 51 outstanding Sunday Services with lay-led and 30 visiting minister-led services. There were 13 different visiting ministers. 198 people attended the Christmas music program.
* Thanks to the work of the Social Action Committee, approximately $27,000 USD were awarded in grant funding for eight non-profit SMA organizations to help address health and economic security for our Mexican neighbors. Special Plate Collections on four Sundays raised an additional 49,400 pesos for community organizations meeting important social needs.
* The Fellowship submitted an application to the Southern Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association for a “Chalice Lighter Call” to provide start-up funding for a SMA program to support persons involuntarily deported from the United States. The application was approved by UUA and implementation through advertising this “Call” will start in January. The UUFSMA Board of Directors is also proposing funding of $5,000 USD in the 2018 budget for this new program.
* The 30 Year Anniversary event in January was fantastic with over 240 people attending. * A Minister Search Committee was formed and it has launched a search for a part-time contract minister.
* A Sunday Children’s Program was started.
* The weekly Tuesday Discussion Group, as well as periodic minister-led discussion groups, were well attended.
* The Community Care Team has been revamped and Pastoral Care has been added. A medical resource guide has been developed for member’s use.
* The Second Annual Holiday Bazaar held in December was a success.
* The Thanksgiving Dinner was attended by over 80 people, a Christmas Day dinner was attended by 20 people and the Circle Cena dinners are regularly taking place.
* The Welcome Table, hosted by Board Members, is available during the social time after Sunday Services to provide information about the Fellowship.
* A Community Connections brochure about the Fellowship has been produced.
*A Membership Directory to facilitate member communication has been made available. Ideas and suggestions for continued improvement of the Fellowship should be made to members of the Board of Directors. We are looking forward to 2018 as we continue to develop our lay-led Fellowship and support each other in our search for truth, spiritual growth, and social justice action. Best wishes for the New Year!
John Simsarian, President, UUFSMA January 2, 2018
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