How UUFA is Organized

Governance and Ministry UUFA, a mid-size congregation, uses a ‘Governance and Ministry’ structural model developed by independent consultant Dan Hotchkiss, formerly with the Alban Institute. The Board’s primary responsibilities include setting policies, monitoring finances, stewarding buildings and grounds, and some employment oversight. The Board delegates to the Minister, Ministry Council, and Staff, responsibilities regarding programs and the daily management of the Fellowship. The Minister also serves as Chief of Staff.

Click here to learn more about this governance model directly from Dan Hotchkiss.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees serve as governors of UUFA who are the primary stewards of the Fellowship. They create and oversee global policies that guide the work performed to meet the congregation’s mission, vision and covenant. They act as general staff employer and supervise the Minister (who supervises the staff). They designate to the Minister and Ministry Council programmatic responsibilities. Click here for Job Descriptions of UUFA Board positions.

The members serving on the 2019-2020 Board of Trustees are Barbara Schell (President 2019-2020, board term 2018-2021), Thrane Jensen (Treasurer 2019-2020, board term 2017-2020), Michelle Swagler (Secretary 2019-2021, board term 2018-2021), Susan Brown (2018-2021), Scott Mason (2018-2021), Susan Curtis (2019-2022), Clela Reed (2019-2022), Lyndall Tunnell (2019-2022), Jean Bleyle (2019-2020, filling one-year position)

UUFA Board of Trustees 2019-2020


Thoughts from Board Members

  • Belonging (Community) During the fall, winter, and spring, Athens has been my home for the past thirteen years; and a cottage by Clearwater Lake in West Central Maine is my summer home where our family has roots across generations. I belong in these places. Belonging is a need that is met in various ways by all of us. Without a sense of attachment, a baby can risk developing “failure to thrive.” Living in isolation, especially as an elder, can increase the risk of depression, so a sense of belonging is critical to our human growth and development across the life span. Everywhere I have lived, I have tried to meet my need for belonging by seeking out community in religious settings, in community-based efforts, in the work place, in family-based activities, and in shared hobbies. When my late husband John and I moved to Athens, we were looking for a faith community whose principles aligned with ours. We wanted to be in a place that would embrace our family’s diversity. Two of our three children are gay. We attended the Forum and the service a few times and noticed the sincere respect for all faith traditions at UUFA, and we liked the emphasis on social justice work.  Folks from the Membership Committee invited us to a breakfast meeting, and our journey here began. This September when I return to Athens, I will be looking for ways to reconnect with all of you. I am sure you will also be looking for ways to serve our UU community and to enjoy the fellowship we share. The imagination and creativity of members is so impressive. People generously share their time and talents. An Activity Fair is planned for Sunday, September 8, when representatives will be available to answer our questions about ways to join in and to continue to build our loving community. I plan to return to the Pastoral Care Team after a year’s hiatus. This team led by Susan Ponsoldt coordinates the Care Rings and works with clergy to visit members in a times of need whether in the hospital or at home. Reverend Don Randall from the Pastoral Care Team was a huge support to John during his illness. Joining in with serving food at Our Daily Bread or cooking for Interfaith Hospitality or enjoying meals together with the dinner groups are a few ways I have increased my sense of belonging here. I also look forward to serving as a new member of the Board of Trustees. I give thanks for belonging at UUFA and for its gifted clergy and staff and for all of you who give so much to make this place a true community of faith. Jean Bleyle ——————————————————————————————-

Most Recent Board Meeting Summary

Click the headlines of the summaries below for a more reader-friendly view. For summaries from previous meetings, click "SEARCH" at the top right of this page and search for "Get On Board". (Or CLICK HERE.)

Click here to read minutes of past meetings.

  • UUFA Sponsors a Candidate for UU Ministry On behalf of the congregation, the UUFA Board of Trustees voted to become the congregational sponsor for Michelle Leebens-Mack, fulfilling just one of many requirements to her becoming an ordained UU minister. Michelle has proven herself time and again to be a valued leader of this Fellowship. Over the years she has created and organized our Small Group Ministry program, been a Lay Minister, chaired committees (Communication, Membership, and Partner Church), and participated in numerous worship services. She also joined several Fellowship members on a pilgrimage to Transylvania, and she attended an international UU conference in Nepal. A regular General Assembly attendee, Michelle also serves on the board of the UU Partner Church Council. Given this broad commitment, the Board has full confidence in her character and suitability to become a UU minister. Michelle hopes to serve Unitarian Universalism as a chaplain, perhaps in a hospital setting. Michelle currently works as a Registered Nurse and has begun coursework to complete a Masters in Divinity at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I hope you join me and the Board in wishing Michelle well in her studies and other requirements for becoming a chaplain. Each congregation has the responsibility to nurture future ministers from among its members. I am thrilled that the Fellowship will contribute in this way to our UU professional leadership. If you feel called to UU ministry or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to ask Michelle or me, Rev. Alison Eskildsen, about this. ________________________________________________________________
  • Get on Board The Board kicked off the year with a retreat at the home of Barb Schell and at the UUFA. We got to know each other a bit, oriented new members to the Board, worked on the Strategic Plan for the year, elected Jean Bleyle to a 1-year term as Vice President, and even had some fun! The Board, on behalf of the UUFA, enthusiastically agreed to be the congregational sponsor for Michelle Leebens-Mack, as a candidate for UU Ministry. The Finance Committee is looking for new members—no need to be a money wiz to get involved!  As always, congregants are welcome to attend Board meetings, and to share feedback during our guest speaker time. Respectfully submitted, Michelle Swagler, Secretary, UUFA Board of Trustees