Unity 2020 Congregant Meeting Summary
March 18, 2018
I. BUILDING/PROPERTY SALE UPDATE (John Scothorn)
Closing scheduled for April 4, at which time we transition from owner to tenant.
At that point, an 18-month clock begins for us to find/design/build out/move to our new location.
II. SENIOR MINISTER UPDATE (John Scothorn)
Because our unique circumstances precluded a full-on search at this time, the board used a methodical process based on these key criteria:
familiar with our community
shares our vision
trained in healing
strong business background
We are pleased to announce that our new Senior Minister is Rev. James C. Parker. The following guided our selection:
Rev James is a seasoned, ordained, and fully-accredited Unity minister
Unity Institute and Seminary – ordained and licensed
Founder & Former Senior Minister, Christ Unity Church of Ann Arbor
Current Regional Representative, Great Lakes Unity Region (8 states, 140+ churches)
He’s familiar with Unity in Chicago community – past, present, and on board with Unity 2020 future
Regional representative position – broad perspective of Unity movement, New Thought, and other churches
Prior speaker at Unity in Chicago
Facilitated resolutions of prior issues at Unity in Chicago
He has a proven record of healing spiritual communities – come together for prosperous future
Peace Making Skills Institute, healthy congregations training, specialized mediations training
Regional representative position – broad exposure to both challenges and solutions across 140+ churches
Facilitated resolutions of prior issues at UIC
Strong business background – lead UIC to financial viability and prosperity
Extensive business experience – entrepreneur and multiple leadership positions over 20 years
Skill set: business development, staffing/training, profit/loss management, etc.
Church and Organizational Management at Unity Institute
Rev. James is on the Unity in Chicago payroll as of March 16, and is now a member of the Board of Trustees.
III. FINANCIAL UPDATE (Peter Cannella)
Current Income / Expense Data was presented through Feb 2018:
Income 8% Below budget ( – $4400)
Expenses 13% Below Budget ( + $15,000)
Overall Loss YTD $42,000.00 for Jan/Feb for Unity in Chicago:
YTD Sunday attendance down by 20% but Service Income is down by $39% — this is a troubling trend as Attendance and Income generally track within 2 to 3%
For this Fiscal Year a Net Loss of $143,000 is projected for the church (about $12,000 per month) if current giving trends continue without a significant reduction in the Expense Budget
BOT will address this projected loss with the New Senior Minister and seek ways to work toward a more balanced budget
Income Net Income / Loss for Unity in Chicago for the past 5 years
2014 + $47,531
2018 Projected (-$143,000)
Net Profits from the Misericordia Sale will be ~ $ 6.8M after paying off current Mortgage and Line of Credit ( $630,000) and projected Closing expenses of $70,000
Proceeds of sale ( ~$6.8) to be deposited into a minimal risk ladder of FDIC insured CD’s with varying maturity dates for the near future (~ 9 months); likely Interest rate will be in the 1% Range for this type of investment
Likely average income on the $6.8M will be about $51,000 over the 9 months. This income is included in the $143,000 projected deficit for this year. If the budget cannot be balanced the net losses will have to be deducted from the $6.8M in proceeds which is highly undesirable. Current deficits have been paid for on our Line of Credit which will no longer exist.
IV. COMMITTEE LIST/APPLICATION (Larry Barkley)
These 9 committees are currently in formation. Application forms are now available for expressing interest in participating. Expertise and skills relevant to each committee’s focus are especially sought.
Unity 2020 Vision: Create a Vision of the Future of Unity Chicago
- Identify an experienced consulting firm to facilitate the definition process
- Process will be interactive with congregation
- Significant research of “successful” spiritual communities
- Establish “Brand”
- Posting of Monthly Operating Financials
- Identify, vet and present to BOT an investment strategy for proceeds
- Continuously update use of sale proceeds
- Vet all outside professionals related to Unity Chicago 2020 – brokers, land planners, developers, contractors
- Work with Vision Committee to create a “Business/Financial Model” for Unity 2020
- Keep congregants apprised of Unity 2020 activities
- Monthly report from Platform/e-mail
- BOT member available to meet in Board room every Sunday from 11 – 12 and from 1-2
- Posting of BOT monthly meeting minutes, committee reports
- Scheduling/organization of periodic Town Hall Meetings
- To be developed with Senior Minister
Events & Programs
- Through bi-weekly workshops, classes, and large-scale events:
- Provide an educational forum to teach Unity principles
- Deepen community involvement
- Increase attendance at Sunday services, workshops, classes and events
- Attract new Unity in Chicago attendees and potential new members
- Generate more revenue for Unity in Chicago
- Promotion of Events and Programs
- Co-ordinate with Church Calendar
- Social Media
- 40th Ward Newsletter
- Inform congregants of benefits and requirements of Unity Chicago membership
- To work with Minister to ensure regular presentation of membership class
- Alert current members of membership status
- Communicate requirements for BOT consideration
- Monitor BOT meeting attendance and committee involvement to ensure compliance with requirements
- Maintain membership list
- Design Strategy
- Identify Targets/Options
- Include Political contacts: Aldermen
- Include local Community Groups/Chambers of Commerce
- Include Community Service Agencies
- Translate new Vision into a detailed description of a facility
- Identify location parameters
- Search/identify future facility options – buy existing / buy and remodel / buy land and build / lease/ sale/leaseback
- Coordinate efforts with various Aldermen and take advantage of any and all property availabilities, potential government investments, etc.
V. Q & A
What will Rev. James’ salary be?
All staff salaries are included in the Ministry line item on our financials. Salary detail has never been broken out for any minister in the past. Ministerial compensation does include a salary element plus some incentives for attendance and finances.
Are there prospects for properties as yet?
BOT has no specific places in mind. We are committed to staying within a reasonable radius of our current location.
Is there any incentive to vacate our current location earlier than the allotted 18 months? If so, could we move to an interim location?
There are no overt incentives for moving earlier, although there are penalties if we remain beyond the 18-month period.
Has an investment firm been selected?
Interviewing is underway, but no selection has been made as yet. When sale proceeds are received at closing, the immediate plan is to protect the funds in a series of laddered CDs with our existing bank.
(a) Who will be selecting committee participants?, and (b) What opportunities are there for making suggestions to the committees?
Initially, the BOT will be reviewing applications and is committed to an inclusive approach. Focus will be on seeking good matches for committee skills and time requirement needs.
Communication methods will evolve as committee work gets underway. For now, the email address BOT@unitychicago.org can be used. Our goal is to make the communication process as easy and direct as possible.
Can we go on with this current pattern of financial loss?
It is essential that we re-imagine our business model. We currently rely on Sunday giving from congregants as our main revenue source. Our Vision 2020 needs to involve adding more legs to the stool, so to speak, by adding more income streams. Examples: having rental spaces in our new location for things like a coffee shop, etc. — to recreate ourselves as more of a community center that also offers spiritual services and programming. We’re also looking currently at ways to generate revenue here now, at our current location. In fact, the BOT be discussing these ideas further at this Tuesday’s meeting.
Can we have these meetings more frequently?
The Board likes these meetings as a way of disseminating information, and the Communication Committee will be exploring additional ways to keep the information flowing.
Is there any possibility of hope that the sale can yet be reversed?
No, there is not.
Questions can be submitted at any time via email to the Board of Trustees at: BOT@UnityChicago.org