Cunningham 2by John Cunningham, Coordinating Team Lay Member.

Hi everyone. I’m finishing up 4 years of service on the UUCF Coordinating Team (CT), and I’d like to tell you a bit about that.

One ethic of camping is “leave it better than you found it.” Of course you should haul your own trash out when you leave, but if people who were there before you left trash behind, haul that out too. If the fire ring needs to be rebuilt, do that. If tree branches have fallen down into the tent area, toss them back into the brush.

I like to think of service on the CT in a similar vein. It has given me and others before me an opportunity to leave UUCF better than we found it.

The CT is the operational arm of the congregation: the Board of Directors sets policy and the CT executes it. The CT is responsible for the day-to-day management of UUCF, strategic planning, assessment of programs and initial preparation of the congregation’s annual operating budget. In addition, the CT has been charged with disbursement of Reach Campaign capital funds in a manner consistent with the priorities established by the board at the start of the Reach Campaign in January 2013.

Our two ministers, David and Laura, are permanent members of the CT, and so is Rich Sider, UUCF’s Director of Administration. They are joined by two lay members of the congregation, who serve 2-year terms with an option to renew for another 2 years. I was privileged to serve with Kristin Moyer and then Kathy Smerke Hochberg.

Because the CT is the keeper of UUCF’s purse, congregants who support a cause that would cost money to achieve must approach the CT for funding. That is one of the most difficult and challenging parts of life on the CT. I’ve served in various leadership positions since I went onto the board in 1999. One fact has been a constant: UUCF never has enough money to do all the things that its members want it to do. But after all, most people don’t have enough money to do all the things they want to do, and the same is true of our social institutions. There are always going to be limits. The CT must be a good steward of UUCF’s resources, and it must say “no” or “not yet” when it has to.

But there is also joy when money is available and it is possible to do great things. During my time on the CT, the parking lot has been transformed, the Sanctuary has a new pulpit and new chalice, the Program Building has new furniture, rooms have been brightened with new paint and new technology now supports our Sunday services and brings our UU message of tolerance and understanding out into the world.

My own special responsibility on the CT has been to serve as the first chair of the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC). This is a subcommittee of the CT, which is charged with reviewing a particular UUCF program each year and, to the extent improvements need to be made, submitting appropriate recommendations. If the PEC report is approved by the CT, it goes to the board. Over 4 years, the PEC has examined fellowship, social justice, financial stewardship and, most recently, property stewardship. The PEC reports (you can access them at uucf.org/ct) were well received and have led to some major changes in how UUCF pursues its social justice ministry and how it conducts its fundraising. In doing this work, I was able to link arms with Jan Cooper, Hal Fuller, Meghan Crowley, Nancy Smith and Torie Gorges. Together, I’d like to think, we left UUCF “better than we found it.”