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Become involved with a project that has caught your passion: whether it's Green Sanctuary, Gift-Based Ministry, as a worship associate, leading a covenant group, or something entirely different, your congregation needs your involvement in order to benefit from your unique talents and gifts!

Become a religious educator. Whether you are working with children, youth, young adults, or adults, this work can be deeply fulfilling and fun!

Offer to become a lay leader in your congregation. Talk to your nominating committee. If your congregation's in search for new professional leadership, think about whether you might contribute in new and exciting ways to that venture.

Witness your faith in the company of others, on behalf of your congregation. Seek out connections with other religious groups who share similar values. Help carry the message -- beyond your congregation -- that makes clear Unitarian Universalism's values and voice in this challenging world.

Become a delegate to your UUA District's meetings. You'll learn new skills, develop a sense of Unitarian Universalism that extends beyond your own congregation, and help nurture the vitality of our faith in your district.

Don't wait to be asked: contact your congregation's Nominating Committee and tell them you're willing to serve. They'll be glad to hear from you!

- from the UUA

Trustees of the Pennsylvania
Universalist Convention (TPUC)

We are one of the six remaining Universalist-heritaged churches in Pennsylvania and have been active members of the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention that was revived in the late 1970’s by a group of like minded folks including members of this church.

The Annual meeting is always held in the fall and rotates around the state with each member congregation having a turn to host the event. We last hosted the event in 2016 and will have another turn in 2022. This year the Keynote speaker was the UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray. Her most recent article in the UUWorld is entitled "Love is an essential spiritual and moral value." She writes: If our justice work does not emerge from the moral and spiritual value of love, in the end it will reinforce practices of domination and violence, just in new forms.

We are entitled to 5 voting delegates from our congregation and have our Trustee and Alternate Trustee, Fern C. and Cynthia B. We also can have one voting delegate from the church staff. Talk to the Moderator or Cynthia B. to learn more.


TPUC Business meeting, April 25, 2020

Each year the Trustees of the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention (the TPUC) meet at the end of April for a business meeting.

Each Trustee is required to submit a report about our own church. Here is the report I shared at this year’s meeting. We met using ZOOM on Saturday, April 25. It was actually a fairly good session with only a bit of technical difficulties. The two main points of business this year were the disbursement of the funds from the earnings of the endowment and the vote to approve a policy for managing the funds from individual member church’s own endowments. Our Finance Committee played a role in getting this policy delineated and will continue to work with the TPUC to further refine the policy.

Have you been wondering why the group has such a strange name? We added the T to the name because the original acronym (PUC for Pennsylvania Universalist Convention) was confusing to many as it is used here in PA for another organizational body, the Public Utility Commission!

Here is the report I shared:

TPUC Member Congregation Report
Unitarian Universalist Church
of the Restoration
Spring 2020 TPUC Meeting

Submitted by: Fern Culhane, Trustee
Date: April 16, 2020,
(with final additions, April 23)

Number of services held in past year: Reported in Oct. 2019, 54 services. That was Oct. 1 2018 to Oct. 5, 2019. From April 27, 2019 to April 25, 2020, the number would remain 54 as it still includes the August special service to commemorate the day 400 years ago when Africans were first brought to our shores in bondage, and we continue to hold a Christmas Eve service.

Number of pledging units: 62 pledging units, reported to UUA in Jan. 2020

Number of members: 86, reported to UUA in Jan. 2020

Average pledge per unit: $ 2,983.87

Annual Budget for current year: $ 238,254

Ministerial situation: Rev. McKinley Sims, has accepted our call to become our settled minister on July 1, 2020.

Number of Children in RE programming: 14 children (as of March 15, when building closed)

Content of Children’s RE programming: due to the home bound situation, our RE coordinator is adapting materials from the Tapestry of Faith materials and many other sources both from the UUA and other sites. She has established a blog for the families to participate and comment within along with packets of downloadable materials for the parents to use at home with the children. She also conducts a chat room just for the children which follows the “Story for All Ages” portion of the Sunday Worship service in which the children can share their own Joys, Sorrows, and Concerns.

What brings visitors in the door: Prior to the closing of the building, we found music and interest in the minister and our social justice work to be things that folks mentioned. Right now though, it is harder to tell. Some of our guests have been family members of our current congregation. We also see folks from years gone by who join us on a Sunday. We are focused on making sure we are connected well to all our current members and friends, and supporting them during this period of pandemic and change.

How funds from TPUC received during past year have been/are being utilized: The funds from the TPUC continue to provide for the childcare personnel who have been a steadfast presence in the lives of our youngest members. The special grant given to Restoration last April was critical support we needed to remove a damaged portion of sidewalk and create a better foundation for the driveway that crosses the sidewalk to service the alleyway that runs parallel to our side street behind the houses on Gorgas Lane. It was originally built without taking into account the tonnage of the Philadelphia Street Department’s Trash and Recycling trucks driving across it each week. The new sidewalk section and driveway cut out to Stenton Avenue was completed last summer, as shared at the October 2019 meeting of the TPUC.

Highlights (3 – 5) of congregational life since last meeting:

  • Music Sunday in Dec. 2019 was a wonderful day with our choir and a small ensemble of guest musicians. The Restoration Bell Ringers rang and the choir performed a fascinating and musically complex piece called Nuestra Navidad, by Ariel Ramirez, an Argentine composer, pianist and music director.
He composed the piece in 1964,and used dances and songs from a variety of Argentine traditions. Ramirez used the Spanish poems by Felix Luna which tells the traditional Christmas story. The original instrumentation included piano or harpsichord, guitar, bongos, castanets, tenor and baritone solos, chorus, jingle bells or cascabeles, high drums with sticks and low drums with hands. The musicians did all of that and more: Suzette Ortiz pianist and accordion; Rene Ginett, vocalist; Patricio Acevedo, guitar, and Aruturo Stable, percussion.
  • The congregational meeting on January 19, 2020 to vote to call Rev. McKinley Sims, to become our settled minister. We had a great turnout for the meeting and voted unanimously to call him. When the results of the vote were announced at the end of the meeting, we had a grand time celebrating. Our assistant moderator made a video of our celebration. It was sent via text to McKinley’s phone.
  • Pandemic adaptations we are making to continue our congregational community with a closed building, using Live streaming of the Sunday Services with just Rev. Sims in the sanctuary, ZOOM as a platform for a more participatory type of worship including coffee hour breakout conversations following the service, and Facebook Live as a way to view the service and to revisit it or watch it later when it is posted as a video. McKinley also shares an introductory video each week called “Everyday Theology” which highlights the topic of the upcoming worship service. On Weds. he holds a ZOOM group for folks to check in with each other focused on Pastoral Care Concerns. Private conversations are always available but this is for folks to share their own concerns or to communicate about connections they have made with other parishioners in the past week (especially some of our folks who are less electronically able). Thursdays he opens a group for “Tea with the Minister” and Friday is for poetry sharing. Our Board of Trustees are actively checking in on the folks we know can’t participate easily in the Sunday programming. We are using the Google Docs platform to share information privately so that the minister can also know about these connections. Other church activities are making use of the ZOOM license as well. Our Justice Council is holding an event this Sunday evening where we will use our church’s Livestreaming capabilities to view a TV episode from the Headline News Channel called “Death Row Stories” that will document the story of our church member, Terry Williams. Following the show, which airs at 9 PM, we will engage in conversation via ZOOM.
Challenges Being Faced Currently: We began our annual Stewardship Campaign on March 15, and knew it would be difficult. The Board had already decided at the March 3 monthly meeting that we would continue to pay all employee salaries through the end of the fiscal year no matter what we were facing in the way of closures to try and fight the Corona virus.

We closed the building officially after the church service on the 15th. I already delineated the things we are currently trying to do. We remain concerned and committed to maintaining our connections with everyone in the church. This requires using lots of different people and techniques to stay in touch. This is true for all UU churches I am sure.

Currently we are taking some extra time to complete the pledge drive and will see where we stand then. The Board also decided in March that we would stand by the financial commitment we made to our new minister in the Letter of Agreement which included small increases in all his categories of income and benefits. We expect to make use of a cushion of funds that we have built up over the recent years to get us through any shortfall from the pledge drive.

This is also the start of our planned three year celebration of our 200 years of being a community here in Philadelphia. The unknowns for the city, state, nation, and world make planning these events difficult. We had hoped to use these celebrations as a kick-off for efforts to build our endowment to a healthier level. Our intentions remain and we will work to strengthen our fiscal picture while continuing to do the real work we need to do to live our 8 UU principles and embody the Universal Love that guides us through each day.
— Respectfully submitted by Fern C.,
Trustee for the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration
    04/23/2020

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