Transition Update, as Seen by Two Presidents
Sandy McFeeley, UU Fellowship of Lake Norman Board of Trustees President
Lee Elliott Carnes, Piedmont UU Church Board of Trustees President
Sandy McFeeley, UU Fellowship of Lake Norman: Nearly a year ago Rev. Robin Tanner proposed to the UU Fellowship of Lake Norman that we consider the possibility of becoming a Gathering of Piedmont. For several months we asked questions, listened, met with Piedmont leaders and members, shared budget information, and hoped for the best. In August, Lake Norman’s congregation voted to ask Piedmont’s board to consider our becoming a gathering, and the board responded with ‘yes.’
Since then, LKN stopped its monthly newsletter and began making contributions to Piedmont’s and receiving the finished product. We also began making announcements for the Wednesday update of activities, and having Ali Allen create our orders of service each week. So far, so good!
Beginning January 1, LKN began sending its pledge and other revenues to Piedmont each week. In turn, most of our employees began receiving their paychecks from Piedmont and beginning with the February payment, LKN’s rent to Coddle Creek Elementary is also paid by Piedmont.
That’s a whole lot of sharing to get used to, and the process feels as if it’s successful so far. We are all still learning about one another’s ways and still discovering whole categories of things we don’t know much about. The budget process and managing finance are two examples.
At a recent meeting of the transition team, we agreed on two major items. One is to postpone for a few months any final vote or decision on the merger. There is still much to share and to learn from each other. The end of March 2017 was a wee bit ambitious for reaching a final decision. It would be a perfect time, however, for a more detailed assessment and update. The LKN leadership will be making one for our congregation.
The other big agreement of the transition team is that we need and want to get to know each other’s members and leadership better. Lake Norman folks want to work with and learn from the more formally established teams and committees at Piedmont. We hope to have some Sunday morning exchanges among the gatherings. And we want to plan some joint activities, whether social action, fundraising, educational or purely social. Like most important undertakings, planning for a merger has turned out to take more time and thought than we expected. Luckily, we have the time and everyone is willing to put in the work and thought to make the outcome a success.
Lee Elliott Carnes, Piedmont UU Church: On Thursday, February 9th the Lake Norman/Piedmont Transition Team met at the University Gathering sanctuary. Those team members in attendance (Sandra McFeeley, Amy Hartman, Sandra Woolsey, Jeff Pender, Teresa Rowell, Reverend Leland Bond-Upson, and Lee Elliott Carnes) agreed to extending the transition time for several months. Since November 2016, the Team has seen several successes in integrating our gatherings, E.G., orders of service, email announcements, newsletters, youth from three gatherings attending the Mountain CONs; and members visiting each other’s gatherings.
The process of combining our membership in leadership experiences is well on its way. Sandy McFeeley started the process by attending the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 13th and the Piedmont UU Board meeting on Thursday, February 16th. Amy Hartman is actively involved in the Social Justice Team. In addition, Nicole Gantz, Sandy McFeeley, and Marilin Campbell attended the Saturday, February 18th Piedmont UU Board Workshop. There are two other opportunities for Lake Norman members to be involved in leadership: Lead Minister Search Committee and the Communications Committee. If you are interested in serving on committee or team, please contact Sandy or me.
To ensure the success of this transition the Transition Team is encouraging congregants to join and plan some mutual events. Amy Hartman had a good suggestion about bowling, as there is more of an opportunity for interaction among participants. The Team believes that these activities will develop naturally as we become more closely associated with each other.
For me, I have learned a new best practice as result my participation in the Transition Team. Lay leaders have the option of using the Piedmont conference call number, which allows for volunteers to attend meetings without fighting traffic at rush hour.
It is my firm belief that the additional time allows the Team to act in a fiscally responsible manner and is it is essential to ensure a successful process.
Lee Elliott Carnes