Dear UUCiL Community,

The Board held its annual retreat Saturday, 9/19/2020, at Kim and Arlen Rowes’ beautiful country property. Being outdoors made socially distancing easier but also allowed us to enjoy blue skies and sunshine. In addition to enjoying fellowship with one another we were able to examine and assess the functioning of church programs, staffing, and fiduciary responsibilities. Needless to say our community has faced unprecedented challenges over this past year. We have all felt the impact of not being able to meet in person, the challenges of connecting through Zoom, and the heightened need to minister to each other and the greater community. Despite these challenges UUCiL is fairing pretty well, as we will be able to maintain our staff, services, and overall budget for this fiscal year. We are reminded of how someone once described us from the interfaith community: “UUCiL is like the little church that can.”

We would like to highlight some of our accomplishments this year. Due to the tireless efforts of the Sunday Services, Music, and Technology committees, and our staff, we have been able to transition fairly smoothly to holding our services online. Our attendance has been fairly regular ranging from 40 – 70 people linked in on Zoom. Further, many have attended our services for the first time as people search for meaning and connection during this time of polarization and social isolation. This is probably also due to our updated website and our greater presence on social media. The Board is grateful to all who have helped manage this important aspect of our church and its connection to the surrounding community.

Speaking of service to the community have you been following the efforts of our Social Justice Committee? They have been coordinating efforts with other agencies in our community who are attending to the needs of our homeless neighbors. Currently they are putting together gift bags that are distributed once a month to those in need. If you are interested in donating goods to the project check out our newsletter or contact Jean Moran, the chair of the Social Justice Committee. To donate funds directly to the Homeless Outreach project you can use our website or send a check with “Homeless Outreach” in the memo line. We are also grateful for their efforts in organizing a series of forums exploring the connection between Black Lives Matter and our UU principles. The Social Justice Committee seems to be even more energized than usual, and we encourage anyone interested to please attend their meetings… via Zoom of course.

Our Caring and Concerns Committee has been busy reaching out to those in our church family who are in need of support. They are currently working on putting a task force together that could help our elderly congregants connect with our services. This has always been a strong committee in our church so please let them know of any situation and/or special needs that they might help with. Or, just let them know how appreciated they are. Email the Church Office ( with a concern or compliment and your message will be forwarded to Kathy Seppala, the Committee Chair.

Also, during this time of shelter in place, the Buildings and Grounds Committee has been taking this opportunity to update our facilities. Michael Cooke and his crew have been busy removing the pergola (due to structural weaknesses), updating our locks, and organizing work parties for October. They have also developed contracts for putting new flooring in the Tot Green room, stucco repair and the painting of our Buildings. They are currently imagining how to set up our outside spaces to provide for better coffee hour gatherings and other fellowship activities.  

Finally, it is worth noting that we have been able to successfully negotiate staffing transitions in the midst of COVID-19, all the while attending to the running of the church. Of course this is in large part due to you and our many volunteers that remain committed to our church. While Rev. Ellie has been on Maternity leave, our Office Manager, Bob Miess, has been working hard to build office systems and coordinate our hardworking office volunteers. We have welcomed on board Alex Haider-Winnett as a transitional Director of Religious Education that we share with the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. His job tasks are to support the ongoing RE program, and help us discern what we want our Religious Education program to be at UUCiL.We have also hired Teagan Fish as a temporary Social Media Manager to help us become more visible to the community. We are especially thankful to our Music Committee led by John Miller as they have worked hard at filling in the loss of our Choir Director Mark Brekke. And, last but not least we have retained the amazingly gifted pianist Lian Li who graces our music program and services with her talents.

Of course there is always much more to attend to in our church, the community and the world, but we are confident that UUCiL will not only survive these trying times, but continue to take care of each other and minister to others. The Board of Trustees holds deep gratitude for this church community and the values it embodies. 

The Board of Trustees at UUCiL: Emily Ranken, Kim Rowe, Eric Serdahl, Marilynn Schuyler, Jon Gerow, Karen Lincoln, and Kathy Seppala