September 2016 Open Meeting Minutes

Minutes for Open Meeting

September 12, 2016

Board Members Present:

Mary Hilsabeck-Huber (President)                                           Simone Hite (Vice-President)

Jim Kaatz (Treasurer)                                                                     Paula Armknecht (Secretary)

Tom Long (Director)                                                                        Kari Brashers (Director)

Jon Anfinson (Director)                                                                 Amy Burnett (Director)

Sue Baggett-Spears (Spiritual Leader)                                     Dee Richardson (Administrator)

Norma Vinson (Emeritus)


The meeting was called to order by Mary Hilsabeck-Huber at 6:00 pm, and opened with prayer by Sue Baggett-Spears.  Mary Hilsabeck-Huber explained the overall purpose of the open meeting.  Financial reports were passed out to congregants, of which there were seven in attendance.  Treasurer Jim Kaatz explained the format of the financial reports and how to read each item with emphasis on the year-to date column and the shortages in income.

JoLynn Higgins (congregant) questioned the attendance and the relationship to financial giving.  Discussion ensued about the decrease in attendance over the past couple of years, along with a per capita giving decrease.  Without figures to refer to, the per capita was estimated to be lower.  April and September 2016 attendance and giving were discussed, however the consensus was that the entire year should be considered for per capita giving.  

A discussion followed as suggested by Paul Day (congregant) on the feasibility of asking congregants to donate, and a decision was made that Kari Brashers would draft a letter to be reviewed by the board at the regular board meeting, before sending to congregation members.  There was a suggestion that Sue Baggett-Spears has shied away from asking for tithes during services, and the consensus was that congregants need to be made aware of the financial position of the church.  Jim Kaatz agreed to present the financial picture to the congregation on Sunday, September 25, and the consensus was that asking for tithes during service was appropriate and in keeping with other churches.  

Further discussion ensued on ways to improve attendance and financial support of the church, and included ideas from many present.  Some suggestions were to organize a Unity Blitz (to include community service while wearing Unity tee-shirts, passing out business cards and inviting the community to Unity), billboards were discussed but considered too expensive at this time. It was suggested that Sue Baggett-Spears present again on Tithing of Time, Talent, and Treasure, that the men’s group follow up on their plan for service in and outside of the church community, and for the church to get more involved in social justice issues in order to reach more college age and young professionals.  Spiritual fairs were discussed, along with varied workshops and classes.  Sue Baggett-Spears made the point that we need to keep Unity principles in mind and not stray from our mission.  Other ideas included emphasizing credit card giving, monthly pot lucks with the band to play after church and personal invitations to attend, throwing a birthday party for Unity of Springfield and/or annual spiritual celebration for the public, and to put together a pledge drive for members for fall (perhaps with a banquet to celebrate).  It was suggested that Harry Sparks might participate in an inspirational video in regard to the pledge drive.  Also discussed was the idea for an on-line thrift store, with Jim Kaatz and Simone Hite to head that up.  It was agreed that we need more information before asking for the necessary volunteers to run that operation smoothly.  Suggestions will be discussed and voted on in the regular board meeting. 

Mary Hilsabeck-Huber thanked the attendees for their participation in the meeting and called for a motion to close the meeting.  Paula Armknecht made the motion, and it was seconded by Jon Anfinson.

The board of Unity of Springfield then went into closed session to discuss the election of new board members. 


Submitted by:

Paula Armknecht