2012 Annual Gathering Report from the Board Chair

Transformations
2012 Annual Gathering Report of the Board of Directors

by Michael Barrett, Chair

     For those serving as members of your Board of Directors, the year since we last gathered annually at Torrey Pines Christian Church, has been one of incredible challenge and opportunity. There were three major themes that dominated the life and service of your Board members over the past twelve months. The first theme focused upon the (still ongoing) restructuring of Conference staff along with an associated realignment of resources to support the new structure. This effort was undertaken to create a more cohesive service presence at the Conference level in order to better respond to expressed congregational and conference needs.  The second theme dealt with the financial collapse of the Pilgrim Pines Camp, the imminent foreclosure upon that property, and the actions undertaken to conserve and preserve that camp as a SCNCUCC presence. The third theme related to assisting in the preliminary preparation of our Conference for hosting the 29th General Synod in Long Beach in 2013. This report will briefly address some of the Board’s major activities and actions over the past year.

Personnel

     At its November meeting, after extensive review, consideration, deliberation, discussion, and collaboration with Conference staff, your Board implemented a restructuring of the Conference staff. Emergent from this process are three ministerial positions: 1) Executive Associate Conference Minister, whose anticipated responsibilities include: assisting the Conference Minister in facilitating the implementation of the Conference’s mission statement, oversight of staff ministries, assets and budget, development and coordination of human resources, and representation of the Conference in settings outside the Conference; 2) Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations, whose anticipated responsibilities include: leadership placement and development, especially assistance with Search and Call, community life building – church vitality and inter-congregational events and programs; and financial development; and 3) Young Adults Ministry Coordinator, whose responsibility focuses on programming and planning young adult ministry activities (the Youth Ministry Coordinator is still maintained, as a separate ministry position).
This restructuring is a process in evolution. Appropriate functions and responsibilities for each, are still being evaluated and assessed and enhanced. Your voice is critical, encouraged, and welcomed as we continue in this process.

     In other actions of personnel note, your Board approved both a revised Employee Handbook and approved the appointment of an Interim Young Adults Ministry Coordinator while a search is undertaken to recruit a replacement. Additionally, at the request of Chapman University for the nomination of an SCNCUCC “Church Leader of the Year” award to be made at the University’s Founders’ Day celebrations, your Board nominated former Conference Moderator, Joan Rich; who was then honored, posthumously, at campus celebrations on March 24.

Pilgrim Pines Camp

     At its September meeting, your Board was informed of the imminent and unexpected foreclosure upon the Conference’s Pilgrim Pines Camp property due to loan payment default. Your Board immediately appointed an interim crisis team to assist the Pilgrim Pines Board in dealing with the camp situation. After discussion and review, your Board resolved to financially support all expenses and operations of the camp while the interim crisis team evaluated the situation.
Your Board also fully supported the sale of Palomar Cedars property.

     At its January meeting, your Board, meeting with members of the Pilgrim Pines Board of Directors, and after review, discussion, and consultation determined it was in the best interest of the camp and Conference to assume leadership accountability of the Pilgrim Pines Camp corporation.  The members of the Pilgrim Pines Board of Directors resigned, allowing the Conference Board of Directors to revise the Pilgrim Pines bylaws to give the Conference Board of Directors direct oversight of the camp.  Your Board then immediately acknowledged with appreciation the contributions of the former members of the Pilgrim Pines Camp Board of Directors and requested they consider serving on one or both newly formed Ad Hoc Committees: Outdoors Ministry Team and Facilities Team for the camp.

     Your Board discussed and reviewed the possibility of partnering with a camp managerial service to assist in operating the camp and requested Conference staff to investigate possibilities and present at the Board’s meeting of March 2012. In action subsequent to the Board meeting, your Board approved a feasibility study of the SCNCUCC in collaboration with the United Camps, Conferences and Retreats (UCCR). Your Board spent the next two months reviewing extensive documentation and conducting extended pre-meeting consultation by conference call and email, received, reviewed, and discussed with the President of UCCR a feasibility study for the SCNCUCC to engage UCCR to manage the Pilgrim Pines Camp.

     After careful deliberation and review, your Board accepted the proposal for UCCR to manage the Pilgrim Pines Camp at its March Meeting. Of note, the accepted proposal maintains traditional benefits associated with UCC congregational participation. Camp programming and camp facility development, also, reside at Conference direction. This is important. The Conference has retained the traditional privileges associated with individual congregation use of the camp. The logistics, the legal compliance issues, the mechanics of staff human relations activities are all assumed by UCCR. We, as UCC, are allowed to focus on our true passions – programming and improving the facilities. Subsequent to this March meeting, this proposal was later accepted by UCCR.

     Your Board of Directors has subsequently appointed two representatives to the UCCR Board of Directors. Your Board has also listed three camp properties for sale and accepted an offer for one of them.  Your board is considering a separate offer from the Oak Glen Water Company for the sale of selected (partial) block parts of Camp property.

Finance

     Financials continued to be reviewed at each meeting. In response to the last General Synod’s resolution “Putting Our Money Where Our Values Are,” the Finance Committee reviewed all institutions in which Conference assets are invested, and found all institutions in compliance. A review of contributions to OCWM indicates both inconsistency of support and a seemingly inability to contribute, each of which dramatically curtail the Conference’s ability to deliver needed services. 

     Additionally, your Board assisted in the negotiation and approval of a cell tower lease agreement for one congregation involving property the Conference has title, strove to establish and implement a continuing education fund for Conference staff, and supported the planning for a New Church Restart in Barstow.

General Synod

     The General Synod Moderator submits reports for your Board members’ review and discussion at each meeting. At its September meeting, your Board accepted and approved the SCNC Financial Development Team’s recommended “Program for General Synod 2013 Fundraising”. Your Board is responding to an appeal to raise, in and of itself, $20,000.00, for General Synod. Your Board has received, reviewed, and forwarded to Annual Gathering a resolution from the Samoan Ministers Table that he Samoan Churches be recognized [by the UCC] as a historically underrepresented group, and [given] a seat at the COREM Table.

This and That

     With consultation, conversation, and consideration, your Board met with the Youth Round Table, appointed David Alicea to the Board, Class of 2014, approved a proposed budget for your consideration at Annual Gathering, and approved a request for a Luau at General Synod. Upon recommendation by the Planning & Policy Development Committee, your Board approved funding for over 20 Mission Grant applications.

What Next?


Some Thoughts:

     Continue to assess and evaluate the restructured deployment of Conference Staff, given individual talents and passions, in relation to accomplishing the mission of our Conference.

     Revisit the Conference’s last strategic plan. Start over. The priorities of our last strategic plan were: Building Community in Diversity, Church Development and Renewal, and Youth & Young Adult Ministries. Are these our same priorities, now? Are these our best avenues for transforming lives?

     Commit to making the 29th General Synod, a historical event of legend, in our denomination and the community beyond.

     Make of Pilgrim Pines, our Mount Sinai.

     Explore means of greater fellowship amongst us at the congregational level. Systematically, assess the value and need of associations as part of the Conference structure. Explore affinity groups based on individual passions.

Appreciation

     Thank you for the honor to serve on your Board of Directors. It is the honor of a lifetime. This has been a year of incredible challenge and your Board members have served you with compassion, diligence, commitment, and with dedication to Jesus and to you. I am proud to have served with each of them. Please treasure them and acknowledge them.

     Thank you to our Conference staff. Please treasure and appreciate them. They hold us to the greater vision, the more compassionate decisions, and a better sense of responsibility.

Thank you, blessings, and my best

Michael Barrett

Other Reports:

Report of the Executive Associate Conference Minister

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries

Report of the Youth Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Outdoor Ministry Team 

Report of the Joint Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ Global Ministry Committee

Report from Retirement Housing Foundation

Report from Peppermint Ridge

Report from Pilgrim Place

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