Last October, Nuvo published its Best of Indy issue. It said "All are welcome at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis regardless of their race, religion or sexuality, so it's no wonder that it is the Best House of Worship winner. Located just near the Butler campus this church focuses on open hearts and open minds to lend healing and help to those in need through faith-based services. They seek to be "a light in the world" and that's a pretty noble cause in these troubled and dark times."
A light in the world. This year UUI’s light shone exceedingly bright, which makes it a pleasure to give this president’s report, highlighting some of the accomplishments of this past year.
I will begin with the two most visible accomplishments – the installation of the Black Lives Matter banner and the solar panels. These fill me with joy when I come to church because they shout to the world who we are and what our values are. The banner on the roof above us is the embodiment of our first principle and places us firmly on the side of love in the moral issue of our age. The panels out front are testament to this church’s long-standing commitment to our seventh principle and to combating the existential threat posed by climate change.
Our church is actively involved in making Indianapolis a better place to live. This year our Share the Plate program is on course to raise $10,000 donated to a variety of organizations engaged in helping people. UUI continues to be a member of Faith in Indiana, formerly called IndyCAN, a collection of faith communities acting for racial and economic equity in Indiana. The UUI campus is the home for the School for Community Learning and the Indy Folk Series. And there are many other ways each of you are bringing our light to our city.
Our light continues to attract people to us. Our message, our community, our wonderful worship services, our strong programs and the tireless efforts of our Membership Committee have all contributed to a surge in membership in the past two years. In May of 2016 we had 150 members. Last May we had 172 members. And, as of the end of last month, we reached 200 members.
This success is due in no small part to our talented staff: Susanne Hinson-Rieger, our Lifespan Religious Education Director; Mara Haium-White, our Office Administrator; Linda Parr, our Choir Director; Kate Boyd, our Pianist; Tim Bryant, our Facilities Caretaker; and, of course, Jamie Hinson-Rieger, our Worship Leader. This year we have added a new part-time staff member, Robert Thompson, an administrative assistant focusing on our communications and providing support for Mara and Susanne.
But our staff cannot keep the church running all by themselves. For that we rely on all of you, and we thank you for your generosity in volunteering your time and talent to our community. As Jamie says, the church does not exist for its members but it cannot exist without its members.
Finally, I would like to thank my fellow board members: Stacy Robinson, our Vice President; Jim Olson, our Treasurer; Piero Madar, our Secretary; Carla Cote; Colleen Russell, Jon Warner; and especially our two members whose terms end today Don DeWees and Ray Wilson.
So, what’s in store for the upcoming church year. Well, we will be deciding part of that at the end of this meeting. By building on the accomplishments of the past year I don’t see why we couldn’t win the Best House of Worship award again. Even if we don’t, we know that what we have here is very special. And no matter what, we will always keep our light shining brightly.