Executive Board of Trustees Report – May 27, 2018

Executive Board Members: Ron Subber (President), Holly Gordeuk (Vice President), Clyde Bartel (Treasurer), Peggy Gallos (Secretary); Members at Large: Tim Cleary, Val Marks, and Steve Levine.

To our FUUFHC community,

Last year I started this report by saying “What a difference a year makes! The Board, as well as the entire Fellowship, had been energized by the arrival of Rev. Seth Fisher.” This year I can echo those words. Seth has continued to provide the leadership and the wisdom and the humor that we all needed in transitioning from an Interim Minister. His sermons have been meaningful, and his caring has been evident to everyone. His outreach into the community has let others know that not only does the First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County exist, but that we are an active and strong player in the religious community of Hunterdon County. Thank you, Seth, for a job well done.

And while our Minister position has stabilized, other staff positions have undergone significant changes. Sarah Ahrens now serves not only FUUFHC but also Somerset Hills in the role of the Director of Religious Exploration. That means that we now are beneficiaries of Sarah’s full-time commitment to RE. She has been pro-active and creative in dealing with the challenges of both new RE material from the UUA and the logistics of serving two congregations. We continue to benefit from her knowledge, enthusiasm, and just plain hard work. Thank you, Sarah, for your dedication to and caring for our youth.

As of the writing of this letter, our administrator, Ruth, is still on an informal medical leave, and her role is being ably filled by her daughter, Charity. We continue to receive excellent and timely service from Charity – it seems as though the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. We are anticipating Ruth’s possible return to work, but in the meantime, we are in good hands with Charity.
The one sad note regarding the staff was the departure of our Music Director, Joanna. She provided many, many wonderful Sundays of music, and we are appreciative of all that she contributed over the past many years. We now look forward to welcoming our new Director, Emily Bengels. Everyone involved in making music for us is enthused to officially welcome Emily for the upcoming year.

And speaking of all of our music contributors, I would be remiss not to thank everyone who has stepped in to fill the music gap for the last several months. Although it may have looked to be seamless to all the rest of us, the fact is that many, many musicians and singers played a herculean role in providing beautiful music for the Fellowship. A heartfelt thank you and a great deal of gratitude go out to everyone who took up the challenge of having our wonderful music continue without missing a proverbial beat.

Enclosed within this Annual Report are individual reports from each committee. The reports outline the progress and challenges of each committee, and I encourage everyone to read the reports from cover to cover. The information represents the efforts of dozens and dozens of committee members and is the best indication possible that the work of the Fellowship is shared by many, many members. If you have specific questions, you can direct them to the committee chair or any board member.

In last year’s report, I wrote the following “It should be apparent that we have been working hard to be good stewards of the Fellowship. Although I never thought that FUUFHC was run as if on auto-pilot, I nevertheless continue to be surprised (maybe even amazed) at how much effort is needed to take care of this spiritual business. There are SO many members who do SO much for the Fellowship, and listing them individually would only run the risk of possibly excluding someone who should be included. So I am going to take the safe route and just say ‘thank you’ to every single member and friend who has done something this year to benefit the Fellowship.

If you serve on any committee, thank you. If you pledged your financial support, thank you. If you bid on an auction item, thank you. If you washed coffee cups after a Sunday service, thank you. If you mowed the grass or took the trash can to the street, thank you. And if your contribution was simply to attend on Sundays when you were able, thank you. It truly does take a village to make this organization survive and thrive, and we are so fortunate to have the most wonderful village imaginable”. I could easily write those same words again, so I would now simply like to add a big “ditto” for this year.

Before closing, I would like to recognize our outgoing Board member, Tim Cleary. Tim has made invaluable contributions of time, wisdom and caring – all attributes which he is now lending to the Space Committee. Tim will be missed on the board, and as with all past board members, the Fellowship owes him a great deal of gratitude for his service.

And on a completely personal note, I could not finish this letter without thanking all of the past Presidents who have provided both counsel and inspiration to me. Barbara S., Janice P., Jennifer D., Sue H., Becky E., Andrew N., Marion M. and Ernie S. have always been willing to provide their wisdom and experience to make my task easier. I sincerely thank all of you.

As we move forward, there is no question that we have challenges to confront. We have space and budget concerns, and sometimes divergent opinions on how we go forward together into the future. But as I expressed last year, I still am confident that our greatest strengths, namely the individual and collective commitment of our members and our concern for one another, will always allow us to deal with and meet our challenges, whatever they may be.

It has been my honor to serve as your President, and I leave the position with a sense of gratitude for all you have collectively done to make the job manageable and even enjoyable.

With thanks to all of you for all that you do to make the Fellowship a special place to belong,

Ron Subber, President of the FUUFHC Board of Trustees