How Our Church Works
Here is a partial listing of our committees and activity groups. As our needs change, so does the activity level of these volunteer groups.
You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.
During 2007, we began a dynamic & fascinating reorganization of our church volunteers and administration. Currently we have four Councils to assist in communication throughout the committee level: Ministry, Facilities, Programs and Finance.
These Councils are basically the committees with common interests meeting together to improve communication throughout the church volunteer force. And every meeting is bringing about a new understanding of how best to organize our activities, so expect to see more revisions on this page!
Our Councils consist of the following committees:
Ministry Council / Paul Beiter
- Preaching for Parishoners
- Ministry Committee
- Religious Education
- Music & Choir
- Sunday Support Services
- New Membership Development
- IT Steering Committee
- Caring for One Another
- Right Relations
Facilities Council / Bruce Becker
- Church Environment
- Routine Repair
- Media & Technology
- Major Repairs & Improvements
Programs Council / Barbara Kent
- Social Concerns
- Campus Ministry
- Church Life
- Denominational Affairs
- Adult Programs
- Lay Worship
- Women's Circle
- Current Events Lunch
- Men's Lunch
Finance Council / Karen Kuhn
- Church Treasurer
- Canvass/Financial Continuity
- Fund Raisers
- Endowment Fund
- Capital Campaign
A quick browse through our monthly newsletter or calendar will reveal many opportunities for newcomers to explore. One of the easiest is to join in the Coffee Hour held after Sunday Services each week. We welcome you!
This is a special area at the rear of the church on which to display works of artwhich complement the purpose of our religious community. This space can be used to enhance seasonal events, all church events, or significant community events through the dramatic use of paintings, photos, writings and other objects of art. Displays are coordinated through the chairperson.
Our choir enriches our Sunday services as well as other special events. Rehearsals are on Thursday at 7:30pm & on Sunday at 9:30am. If you enjoy singing, you are welcome to join us.
*THE DECOR COMMITTEE
The Decor Committee is concerned with the decor of the church! This includes not only making sure that the church is attractively decorated, but also that there is enough furniture that is kept in good condition, plants and flowers are fresh and neatly arranged, walls are recently painted, lighting is adequate, shelves are kept organized, and paintings, plaques, etc. are purchased and hung appropriately and attractively. Ultimately, with the help of the Decor Committee, the church rooms should reflect the varied tastes and needs of the congregation.
Church Life Committee is responsible for several church gatherings. The committee also decorates the church for the December holidays. We are always looking for new members to join us!
- Summer Picnic at the Bilh's cottage in Canada
- The Holiday Party in December with dinner and caroling
- The Spring Potluck dinners along with the Membership Committee
- An after-church cookout on the last day of church in June (This is something new we have added)
SUNDAY SUPPORT SERVICES / COFFEE MINISTRY
When formal church services are over, we congregate in the Emerson Room to discuss personal concerns or to simply be with others over a cup of coffee or tea. This is an important part of our Sunday morning experience.
The coffee committee is responsible for making, setting up, and cleaning up Sunday coffee hour. We are there to guide and assist the volunteers on Sunday morning. A new member will meet everyone by being the "coffee person" for a Sunday or two. A schedule is prepared several months in advance so you know what Sunday you would be responsible for. We are very flexible and welcome your participation!
CANVASS / FINANCIAL CONTINUITY
Special responsibility is to assure that the church can continue to operate on a firm financial footing which allows for growth - for religious education, for music, for community outreach, for social concerns, for denominational awareness and support, for building and grounds accessibility and maintenance and for competent ministry. This committee oversees the annual canvass and provides the opportunity for new members to make contributions immediately.
*CURRENT EVENTS/ DISCUSSION LUNCH
This group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in the Emerson Room at 12:30 p.m.
We bring our lunch and discuss current events on the local, state, national and international levels. We are a well-read group with varied interests and insights. We always have a lively discussion.
Keeps the congregation informed of continental, district and local meetings, conferences and functions of our denomination, and encourages attendance at these events.
As one of the newest committees, the Emergency Planning Committee is beginning to look at what needs to be done to anticipate disasters such as fire or an intruder so that UUCA is better prepared to meet these challenges.
You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.
The Finance Committee develops the annual budget with input from the Board of Trustees, Committees, and the Finance Council. The budget is reviewed and approved by the board before it is presented at the annual meeting for approval by the congregation. During the year, the Finance Committee reviews the monthly report of the treasurer with the Finance Council.
GROUNDS & GARDEN
We have unusually attractive and large grounds, which require attentive and loving care. A variety of mature trees require care and maintenance as well as shrubs and perennials. The church has received Green Sanctuary status. Therefore we do not use pesticides and depend on compost as fertilizer. We are replacing water loving plants with drought resistant varieties and replacing plants liked by the deer with native varieties they like least. We encourage church members to volunteer in caring for the grounds. We meet periodically during the spring, summer and fall. Beginner gardeners are welcome.
The earth is our home. We are part of this world and its destiny is our own. The Green Sanctuary commoittee provides a framework for congregational study and reflection, plus individual and collective action. Although people sometimes disagree on specific environmental issues, we virtually all accept the call to action that affirms our seventh principle in which we "promote respect for the independent web of all existence of which we are a part". Sustainable living, concern for our environment -- these are the issues that this committee pursues. This is a profound committment to our Seventh Principle - the interdependent web of all existence.
Projects for 2009-10 include recycling, wind energy, adult education (Voluntary Simplicity: adult ed course), creating Wildlife Backyard Sanctuaries, and environmental legislation. During 2010, the church's energy audit will be discussed & addressed.
Join us to promote change in both the lifestyles of our church and in the larger world.
*NEW MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Membership: An active group of new and old members whose sole purpose is to be sure that members, visitors and friends of our congregation find warmth, friendship, and ways of becoming a part of our church and its many activities. They also coordinate an all-church pot luck dinner in area homes with the Church Life Committee, run the New UU class, facilitate new member small group ministry, host a church wide pot luck dinner and much more. Anyone interested in participating on this committee has simply to attend the meetings publicized in the church newsletter or stop by the "Welcoming Circle" any Sunday after the service to chat with us about their interest.
The Lay Worship Committee was formed approximately by 2003. This committee has been organizing the two solstice celebrations, also took over the monthly "Vespers" program (which has now evolved into "Evensong"). Basically, this committee is interested in creating spiritual or worshipful moments outside of Sunday morning church services.
This committee needs a new chairperson if it is to continue. It also needs additional individuals interested in leading small group ministry circles.
*LONG RANGE PLANNING
The long range planning committee looks at the needs of the physical plant and sets priorities for repair and replacement of items that can’t be covered under routine maintenance or funded by the annual pledge drive. Therefore, once the needs have been determined, the LRPC begins planning for a Capital Campaign to meet our long term needs..
Set in the middle of our church lawn is a beautifully landscaped Memorial Garden for the use of our members and special friends. Names of the deceased are inscribed on an interior wall in the solarium.
On the first Thursday of every month all men are invited to get together for lunch and discussion. It's a time for sharing ideas about church life, community and world events, and personal joys and concerns.
The Committee on Ministry charter directs us to serve the ministry of the church in several ways. We advise the Minister on the State of the Congregation, help develop the Minister’s ideas, conduct periodic surveys, advocate for the Ministry with the Board and Congregation, encourage conflict resolution with direct and constructive communication among members of the congregation, Minister, and staff, and we assist the Board with the general terms of the Minister’s contract and compensation.
In this regard in 2008 we conducted a survey of the congregation on Sunday Worship and in 2009 we helped the congregation to develop of a Right Relations Committee.
We seek involvement of the Congregation by completing such surveys when presented, serving on the Right Relations Committee as terms expire, and accepting annual invitations to join the Committee on Ministry for a three-year term.
NATURE PRESERVE /CHURCH ENVIRONMENT
Our property includes a large undeveloped acreage in the back of our building beyond the parking lot which responds to the work of caring hands to make it useable and accessible for church use and special outdoor activities.
Most of our regular Sunday morning services simply require that we park in the rear of the church maintaining lanes and proper distances between vehicles. Occasionally we have a need for more rigid parking. For these occasions members of this ad hoc committee make certain the maximum number of cars can be parked in the space we have.
The R.E. committee directs, in consultation with the DRE, the Religious Education program for children from nursery through high school. The committee meets once a month to set policy and plan upcoming events, such as: intergenerational services, the holiday play, Easter egg hunt, or social gatherings like the pumpkin carving, and more.
In between meetings, we occasionally conduct business on the RE committee listserv. During the summer, we meet for an annual RE retreat, a longer meeting where we consider more general issues facing R.E. that we don’t seem to have time to discuss in our regular meetings. There are about 75 children registered in R.E., and each fall we need to recruit about 30 teachers to run the church school.
Members of the R.E. committee are usually parents with children in the program. We are fortunate right now that among our current committee members there are parents of children of all ages from babies to teenagers as that ensures that no age group is overlooked. Each of us has a unique perspective on how to enhance our program.
Volunteers interested in joining our committee should be willing to attend a monthly meeting, and may occasionally join a temporary sub-committee to plan an event or research a particular issue.
In many cases, committee members are also R.E. teachers or volunteer to organize an important event, such as the holiday play, or a social gathering such as the sledding party, but this is not required.
The R.E. Committee needs "a few good people" to join!
For those of you who may not know, this is the committee that "runs" the R.E. program in conjunction with the Director of RE and our minister. Among other duties, we set policy, help choose curriculum, plan events such as the pumpkin carving, and Christmas ornament making and tree decorating. Minimum commitment would be to attend our monthly meetings -- we meet the first Thursday of the month at 7:30pm.
If you want a bit more involvement you could join one of our subcommittees or help plan and participate in one of our events. If you would like to be involved in our R.E. program without the time commitment of teaching, joining the R.E. committee would be ideal. I'm sure you all have ideas and input, and we need "new blood". Interested? Talk to me or to Hella Jacob, chair. We welcome you! In faith ~ Ann Hibbert, Director of Religious Education
You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.
REPAIR & CLEANING Our building is actively used by ourselves and many outside groups and therefore requires attention to be sure it is properly maintained, comfortable and welcoming. This committee coordinates church volunteers with particular skills, and contracts with outside professionals when needed. Spring and Fall "Fix-up" dates are typical activities.
If you have skills in carpentry, painting, plumbing, wiring, or in organizing others, join us. All are welcome.
The Right Relations Committee was created and selected by the Ministry Council, Rev. Tim Ashton and the UUCA Board of Trustees. This team was trained by the St. Lawrence District trainer, Jeanne Crane. The current team is: Jack Howell, Kristin Kozlowski, Karen Kuhn and Jim Park. Their term is for five years.
Conflict in any community is inevitable and healthy. The team is guided by the principle that properly managed conflict between people in right relations to each other can be a positive force for creativity, growth and enrichment. The team’s task is to find appropriate ways to express and resolve conflicts.
SOCIAL CONCERNS / Economic Justice
Committee members create opportunities for active cooperation with a variety of local social agencies. This committee networks with the Western New York Peace Center, the Council of Churches and others.
This committee welcomes all who are interested in this way of expressing their religious concerns and convictions in accordance with our UU principles. Let's change the world for the better!
This committee works in conjunction with our denomination's social concerns channels through linkages with our UU-UN Office and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, (UUSC).
We have a variety of programs which include religious topics, spirituality, nature, book reviews, poetry sharing, history, politics, ethics, ecology and other topics suggested by our members.
We meet on the 1st and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. year-round in the Living Room or the Emerson Room. Four times a year the UU World publication is our focus. On the occasional 5th Tuesday, our minister Tim Ashton meets with us.
We sponsor two on-going charitable projects. The first is the OneSight Eyewear Collection which matches our used prescription eyewear to people in other countries. The second is the Boxtops & Labels for Education collection which benefits our neighbor, the Gateway-Longview Youth Facility. We also maintain the church’s lending library of books related to spirituality and religion.
Once a month, on the 3rd Tuesday, we meet to have lunch together at 12:30 p.m. On these days, there is no formal program. We simply chat and lunch together.
We are a vibrant group of women who enjoy getting together to learn and share. Come join us!
On the third Tuesday of every month all women are invited to gather for lunch and conversation. Come and share your personal joys and concerns as well as ideas about church life and the larger community.
While generally it is two people who maintain the site, congregational techies & brainiacs (as they are affectionately referred to) are often called upon to assist. We would like to do more. If you have an advanced skill set and are willing to have fun taking on a short-term project, please let us know!