Dear Congregational Representatives,
Please know that we, who serve on the Board of Trustees of the Central Midwest District, appreciate your congregation’s support of the District and our larger Unitarian Universalist movement. The resources that our congregations share with each other make it possible for the District to serve as an institutional bridge connecting congregations and their members to each other and to the other elements of our larger movement. We are grateful for your continued and generous support in these financially challenging times, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to share what we have accomplished since April, 2012.
Here I will share the broad themes that we have engaged this year. For more detail, I invite you to consult the Board meeting minutes.
If I were to try to capture the work of the year in a single word, it would be “transition.” Our largest transition has been an active and extensive process of collaboration to develop the proposal to form the MidAmerica Region. This has been an intense and occasionally challenging process, but we have found fulfillment and sometimes even joy as we have collaborated with our UUA congregational life staff, the Reverend Ian Evison and Dori Davenport Thexton, and the Boards of our partner districts, Prairie Star (to our west) and Heartland (to our east). Over the course of the year, we have worked diligently to develop the proposal to form MidAmerica, with the hope and intention that we will carry forward what is best in CMwD while making new opportunities possible. We have worked hard to be in dialogue and relationship with you and your congregation as this proposal has been developed. We hope that you are familiar with the MidAmerica proposal, which we will vote upon at District Assembly 2013.
We have also experienced transition in our more typical governance roles, as Ian and Dori have reorganized themselves into a regional staff team, joining Rev. Lisa Presley and Nancy Combs-Morgan of Heartland, and Nancy Heege and the Reverend Phil Lund from Prairie Star. We have worked with the regional staff team and with our partner Boards from the other districts in a shared governance and oversight role, learning as we have moved through the year. Each new insight has helped us envision the opportunities that might be created together in the future.
We have also navigated several transitions within the Board itself. Last summer the Reverend Brian Covell announced his intention to resign as District President in response to the needs of the congregation he serves. When the Board appointed me to complete the year as President, the Ministerial Trustee position opened. I am very pleased that the Reverend Sydney Morris was willing to accept appointment into that position in October.
In closing, again I thank you and your congregation for your generous support! And I thank each of my colleagues on your CMwD Board: Vice-President Jeff Reed (Fond du Lac, WI), Treasurer Nancy Armstrong (Normal, IL), Secretary Tracey Howe Koch (Florissant, MO), Youth Trustee Kenny Pechtl, Ministerial Trustee the Reverend Sydney Morris (Houghton, MI), UUA Trustee the Reverend Erik David Carlson (Stockton, IL), and Trustees at large Suzie DeBeers (Waupaca, WI), Vera Dowell (Oak Park, IL), and Rob Zimmerman (Wauwatosa, WI). These extraordinary folks have all given generously of their time, skills, and energy during this unusual and intense Board year!
Should you meet them during District Assembly, please thank them for their service! I certainly do!
Respectfully submitted, (signed)
President, CMwD, UUA
It has been my pleasure to serve as the treasurer of CMwD this year. Warren Thom had done such a great job as treasurer for the past 6 years, that the transition was a smooth one. I want to thank our congregations for their continuing support of the District/Region. The CMwD board and staff are committed to conscientious stewardship of the District’s resources.
The finances of the district are generally sound, but there were several factors last year that created a significant impact on our reserves and our budget. As congregations continued to recover from the drop in income precipitated by the 2008/09 recession, giving to the district lagged behind and we will not fully realize the income that we projected for FY 2013. We also approved a small, unexpected increase in staff salaries, in keeping with guidelines proposed by the UUA after our budget was approved. While we also saved some money when the technology administrator position was reorganized as a region-wide position, our operating budget deficit will be somewhat larger than we projected. We made the first payment towards our commitment for regionalization transition expenses from our reserves which reduced our reserves despite an increase in value of our market-based mutual funds. The UUA granted the transition effort $20,000 and while there are expenses still to come, the transition process may cost less than anticipated.
My efforts this year have largely focused on the future financial policies and health of the proposed Mid America Region. I continue to be inspired by the leadership and dedication of the three district boards and the regional staff.
First Unitarian Church of Alton, IL Federated Church of Avon of Avon, IL Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal of Bloomington, IL Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship of Carbondale, IL All Souls Free Religious Fellowship of Chicago, IL First Unitarian Society of Chicago of Chicago, IL Peoples Church of Chicago of Chicago, IL Beverly Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL Third Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decatur of Decatur, IL North Shore Unitarian Church of Deerfield, IL Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb of DeKalb, IL Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin of Elgin, IL Unitarian Church of Evanston of Evanston, IL Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva of Geneva, IL Prairie Circle Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grayslake, IL Unitarian Church of Hinsdale of Hinsdale, IL Prairyerth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hinsdale, IL Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet of Joliet, IL Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Macomb of Macomb, IL Unitarian Universalist Congregation, McHenry, IL (formerly in Woodstock) Mt. Vernon Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Mt. Vernon, IL DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church of Naperville, IL Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oak Park, IL Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist of Palatine, IL Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Park Forest, IL Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria of Peoria, IL Unitarian Church of Quincy of Quincy, IL The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, IL Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rock Valley of Rockton, IL Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Springfield, IL Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, IL The Federated Church of Sycamore, IL Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign of Urbana, IL Lake Shore Unitarian Society of Winnetka, IL Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart of Elkhart, IN First Unitarian Church of Hobart of Hobart, IN First Unitarian Church of South Bend of South Bend, IN Bay de Noc Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Escanaba, MI Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Houghton, MI Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marquette, MI Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Saint Joseph, MI Cape Girardeau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Cape Girardeau, MO Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia of Columbia, MO Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel of Ellisville, MO Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Jefferson City of Jefferson City, MO Kirksville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Kirksville, MO Eliot Unitarian Chapel of Kirkwood, MO Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Rolla of Rolla, MO First Unitarian Church of St. Louis of St. Louis, MO West Plains Unitarian Universalist, West Plains, MO Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Appleton, WI Unitarian Universalist Church West of Brookfield, WI Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lakes of Elkhorn, WI Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fond du Lac, WI Green Bay Area UU Fellowship of Green Bay, WI Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church of Hartland, WI Unitarian Congregation of Rock County, Janesville, WI Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist of Kenosha, WI James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Madison, WI First Unitarian Society of Madison of Madison, WI Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison, WI Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Manitowoc, WI Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marshfield of Marshfield, WI Unitarian Church North of Mequon, WI First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee of Milwaukee, WI Unitarian Fellowship of Milwaukee of Milwaukee, WI Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church of Racine, WI Prairie Lakes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ripon, WI Free Congregation of Sauk County of Sauk City, WI Sheboygan Area Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Sheboygan, WI Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County of Sister Bay, WI Stevens Point Unitarian Universalist Association Fellowship of Stevens Point, WI United Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Waukesha, WI First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, WI Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Woodruff, WI
It's Coming! Besides the usual tasks managing financial, regulatory and corporate requirements for the District, the big focus this past year has been on moving toward consolidating administrations of the three districts in the MidAmerica area into a single working group.
Preliminary organizational work has been done (see the article on the Deep Generalists by Nancy Heege explaining the new operations). In addition, in the new organization there will be a full-time Regional Administrator I, Sarah Greene, now District Administrator at Prairie Star District; a half-time Regional Administrator II, Peggy, now District Administrator at Central Midwest District; and in charge of coordinating all technical issues, Gretchen, who is doing the job now. We are in the process of working out specifics of the operations even now. We've begun work on a consolidated accounting Chart of Accounts; vehicles for regular Communications with you, our constituent congregations; what kind and how we'll be holding large meetings (district assemblies, a regional assembly, area assemblies - All to be worked out.)
In the meantime, please be making plans to have full representation for your congregation at this year's District Assembly as we will be voting on whether to consolidate not just administrative operations, but the organizational existance of the Central Midwest District, the Prairie Star District to our west and Heartland District to our east into a new and vibrant MidAmerica Region. We'll be meeting April 26 to 28 at the Marriott Milwaukee West in Waukesha WI. Check out the DA page HERE.
The single largest change this year was the establishment of a new position of Tech Coordinator for the MidAmerica Region. I applied for and got the new job. As of July first the Tech coordinator became responsible for the websites and online programs of the Heartland and Prairie Star districts along with CMwD. The nascent MidAmericaUUA.org website quickly became more active.
Event registration has been a large area of focus, as we began to add Webinars and other smaller events to the online system on the MidAmerica site. So far we've also managed to switch two of the three District Assemblies to that system.
Collaborating with the three District Administrators, we've also worked on consolidating the District online calendars and establishing a central spot for committee, board and staff communications about the Regionalization process.
If it seams that things have been proceeding a bit piecemeal, they have. Once we began the process we determined that changing systems one block at a time allowed us to assimilate the new features in manageable chunks.
Changes and improvements are being made as we go along, and will probably continue for another year as we all adjust to new ways of working together to serve congregations.
Technology Coordinator, MidAmerica Region UUA