Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thank you

As we head into March I want to take a few minutes to say thank you.  Thank you to everyone who gives their time, energy, soul and love into this congregation.  Showing appreciation is something that puts a deposit into the emotional bank account of those around us.  Have you thanked someone lately?

Last month I had the privilege to attend the Facilitator Preparation program for Circles of Trust led by the Center for Courage and Renewal.  It was an amazing experience for me personally and professionally.  I spent a weekend with 21 other people from all over the US and Canada.  They were people of faith from other denominations and professional backgrounds.  One of the highlights was the ability to sit in a circle of trust with Parker Palmer for the weekend.  The other highlight was to share part of a day with a bird.  For those of you who know me know that I love birds.  Friday afternoon an owl appeared - not just any owl - but a Mexican Spotted Owl.  Since the birds are nocturnal it was amazing to be able to share daylight with this amazing and endangered animal.  I share this story to ask the question - in your busy life, when it the last time you noticed something?  Had I not been tuned into my surroundings I would have never noticed this amazing animal - as they make no sounds and quietly sit in the trees.  Because I noticed, I was able to share this experience with my colleagues and they too became more aware of their surroundings.  I challenging all of you to notice something - say thanks - and share your heartfelt experiences with those around you.

Lastly - I wanted to share a few numbers with you.  As I continue to tune into the environment of UUCA I ask questions of those around me.  I see part of my responsibility to spend your pledge money with responsibility.  Since July we have spent $7852.75 on things like hand cleaner, garbage bags, paper plates, bowls, spoons and toilet paper.  Our kitchen supplies for consumable paper products are usually available to all - and in an open space.  This means that anyone - including those who use our space for events that are non-church related - have access to them.  In an effort to reduce loss through use of non church related activities and to allocate charges appropriately across ministry areas, we have introduced a new policy for disposable paper products.

Volunteer hours for February - another update!

Total hours reported:  464.5
Top 6 volunteers:  Linda Corsoro 25.5; Robert Buckman 26.5; Diane Ullius 29.5; Bruce Rieder 108; Bob Blinn 33.5; Jacomina DeRegt 54
Number of Activity areas:  36
Top 3 Activities:  Stewardship, Soul of Aging facilitator training
Total number of volunteers tracking hours:  29 (% of members: 3%)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

January 2017 Volunteer Hours

Just wanted to give everyone an update on volunteer hours reported for the month of January 2017.

Number of volunteers reporting hours:  25
Number of hours reported:  493.5
Number of activities:  36
Activity with most hours:  Stewardship - 153 hours; Worship Associate - 34.5 hours; Board - 24.5 hours

If you are not tracking your hours we ask that you please take a few moments to
     1.  Go to
     2.  If you have not yet set up a user name/password it is best to do this using a computer first
     3.  Download the track-it-forward app on android/iTunes (search for ourvolts if you can't find it)
     4.  Log into the app using your user name/password
     5.  Start entering hours!

This application is not owned by UUCA - so any issues I'll do my best to help or answer questions.

Why are we doing this?  To tell a story!  For example - those 493.5 hours equate to $12,875 for the month.  Also, those hours tell us engagement within the congregation for all sorts of activities.  Think about it for a moment - if right now we have 25 individuals tracking activities what would 200 people tracking their activities look like?

Thank you for those who took a moment to track their time!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January - Let's Track it Forward!

I have to admit I have been a little busy.  I have started several new blog posts, and then been side tracked with other things.  Isn't that how life is sometimes?  We have the best intentions and then other things or tasks get in the way.

So many things have been happening here this year.  I can't believe that I have been here a year and it has been so much fun to get to know everyone.  The last blog that I wrote had a pop quiz and it was specific to a cost that we incur here at UUCA - toilet paper.  The question was how many rolls of toilet paper did we use last year.  I had a total of three guesses.  You read that correctly - three.  The correct answer was 2,688.  The closest guess was by Al Himes and was 1750 rolls.  One of the things I have been looking at this year is just how much money we spend on the normal, daily things.  Toilet paper, water, electricity, gas, trash bags....and I can tell you that it all adds up.

One of the goals of this blog is to help communicate things going on around the church from a financial perspective.  The Annual Campaign kicks off this week, and I hope that you will keep a close eye on the weekly Connections newsletter where the team will be giving updates on our progress.

A few updates for you.

Track-it-forward is our tracking app for telling our congregational story.  During our annual leadership conference that was held last week, I talked about how important it will be to show growth and congregational engagement.  Your input is vital.  Driving into our parking lot on any evening you can see that we are busy.  This data will be able to show just how busy we really are and how our ministry areas are benefitting the lives of people at UUCA.
1.  Link:
2.  Sign up and create a user name and password (note - this is not a UUCA owned application)
3.  Download the app on your smartphone on either iTunes or Android
4.  Log into the app
5.  Enter your hours

It's that simple! 

Data that we can see to date:
49 total users (we had over 80 attendees at the leadership conference last week)
2452 hours reported (Top 4 hour reporters are Diane Ullius - 503 hours; Bruce Rieder - 220 hours; Mollie Jewell - 181 hours; Jacomina DeRegt - 178 hours)  That's 44 percent of all volunteer hours between these four people alone!  Thank you!
64 Different activities have reported hours

Yelp! has recognized us!  Just this week we were notified that we were recognized as a place people love.  We received the coveted "People Love Us on Yelp" sticker and we will be displaying it on our door.  We are currently a Five Star rated business - the highest rated Unitarian Universalist church in the Northern Virginia area and the second highest rated church of any denomination overall.  Take a minute to go to here and give us a review.

One last thing - we are taking pre-orders for signs to show you welcome people to your home or business.  Here is a link to a google form to request signs.  We need at least 200 requests to make it feasible to order.  Each sign is $10 and that is only to cover the cost of production.  I'll be taking orders through the end of February and sending out updates as we receive orders.

Thanks for all of your help this past year making UUCA a place to connect, grow and serve.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

September Volunteer Hour Update

Can you believe that it is already October?  The past couple of months we have been rolling out the volunteer tracker on  I wanted to share an update with you on how many hours were recorded for the month of September.  We had 276.5 hours reported that is equal to $7200.84 for the month.  There were 23 volunteers who logged time during the month.  The activities with the most participation were:
Coffee Ministry - 25.5 hours
PAG - 40.5 hours
Stewardship - 45.5 hours
Worship Associate - 30 hours
Pastoral Care - 12 hours
Sunday Ambassador - 10 hours
Office Volunteer - 18 hours

Here is the piece I need your help with - I KNOW that there is more happening at UUCA!  Have you noticed that most evenings the parking lot is full?  I also KNOW that we have more than 23 volunteers.  We have 56 total people registered who are using the tracker.  My goal is to have over 100 by the end of October.  Can you help spread the word?

The blog that I published on 11 August 2016 had detailed information on how to sign up.  Please take a minute to help me tell the story of UUCA.  I would really appreciate your help!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Let's talk about UUCA's cost by the day...$1027.60

Can you believe that it is almost October?  It seems like just yesterday I was walking into UUCA for the first time.

I have heard from many of you saying that you enjoy this blog.  My primary goal is to raise awareness and work as a team with all of you to make this your spiritual home. 

Most people don't like to talk about money.  I completely understand.  I thought I would give you some figures on what it takes to just pay basic bills, just like we all do at our homes.

First let's talk about our mortgage.  This is a large facility, and with the recent building project we added some responsibility to our budget.  We budget $236,000 annually to pay for our mortgage which is the result of two separate loans.  The daily rate we pay is $647 and that is without paying any of our bills to open the doors. 

When our doors open, we then have to pay for heat, air, water, gas, trash, internet.  Here is the daily average cost for each:
Trash $28/day, Electric $138/day, Water $23, Gas $26, Air/Heat Monthly Maintenance $55, Taxes (Parsonage) $18, Telephone/Internet $15, Copier $36, Insurance $39

Side note - Toilet Paper Daily cost $3.60.  Anyone care to guess how many rolls we purchased last year?  The closest guess will be awarded a prize!  email with your guess!

Grand total:  $1027.60 per day

I am always looking at ways to save money on basic operating costs.  Having an idea on what it costs to operate a facility as large as UUCA helps everyone understand how your contributions are spent.  Thanks for your generosity!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fall is quickly approaching and this past Sunday began the regular schedule at UUCA.  I have been amazed about how many people have commented on reading this blog - and I thank you for your time to read these quick posts.

I have several updates for you to review.  First, Track It Forward participation is increasing - AND - we need more!  To date we have 710 hours reported by 32 participants.  If I based the sign-up rate on our membership, we are at around 4% participation.  I will continue to encourage those who participate to sign up - it is completely free and I will not be sending out additional email using this application.  We have so many places where you receive communications I know it has to be overwhelming. (

We have a great team here looking at ways to facilitate communication with everyone at UUCA.  Mary Ann does a fantastic job of creating the weekly Connections newsletter.  Did you know that over 1500 people are on our mailing list - and that is almost double our membership!  The newsletter sent this past Thursday on the 8th of September had the following statistics:
  • 1498 sent
  • 708 opened (47.5%)
  • 232 clicks - with 28% of those going to registration for covenant groups and looking at information on the PBS schedule for the 9/20 showing of Defying the Nazis.
It takes an entire team to keep things fresh and new in our communications!  Did you know that we have two twitter accounts ( @uucateaming and @uuarlingtonva) where you can follow real time activities here at UUCA?

I hope you have a terrific week!  Thanks for your time and efforts to make this a great place to connect, grow and serve!


Friday, September 2, 2016

Track it forward - Update!

Great news!  Here is what I can already see ( you can get the visual)...

For the month of August, we had 156.5 hours submitted by 14 volunteers.  The dollar value would be $4,083.85.  What makes this even more amazing is that is only a fraction of people we have recording hours in this congregation.  Imagine if we had the entire community recording their time.

Thank you to all those who are tracking UUCA forward!

Here is another interesting fact - only 40% of those who receive the weekly connection actually open and take a look at the contents.  If you know of someone on your teams ask them if they have uploaded the Track it forward app and signed up for an account.

Last - remember we are closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

Thanks for all that you do here in our community!