Being your president for two years has been a life-changing experience. The support I received from my husband, Ray, my officers (Gail Rosecrance as Vice-President, Tom Sievers as Treasurer, and Bonnie Friedmann as Secretary), as well from the other Committee Heads, Fellowship Representatives and members in general, increased my self-confidence as a leader and made me feel more a part of EUU than ever before.
It came down to the wire, but we achieved most of the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of my term. We now have a well-functioning website and a far more reliable calendar of events. The Unifier is coming out regularly with interesting, timely, and humorous articles. We elected a Fellowship Coordinator (currently Caitlin McGinn) to work on creating stronger bonds between our Fellowships between the retreats. The recent Summer Solstice Event in Amsterdam and the Winter Solstice Event in Heidelberg are examples.
We also managed to change our by-laws so that our budgetary year, our pledge year, and our officers’ terms align with the calendar year. For those of you like me, who squint and nod vacantly every time the budget chart is displayed, we now have a fighting chance of understanding what is going on!
One of our most exciting achievements was to readjust our approach to Social Action so that it encourages social justice projects at the Fellowship level (including the At-Large Fellowship). Some of our accomplishments will be on show at the Bad Homburg Retreat, and I am sure you will all feel the same swell of pride I do at what we can accomplish with just a little bit of support and encouragement. I love the idea of tying social justice into our worship practices.
Another accomplishment was formalizing the role of the UUA Ambassador to the EUU so that it more transparently and directly meets our needs. Reverend Diane Rollert has done an inspiring job providing services for our Fellowships in Amsterdam, Brussels, Rhein-Main, Stuttgart, Basel and Geneva, and providing support for our volunteer leaders and emerging fellowships. She has also participated in our CC meetings, bringing welcome experience and wisdom to our discussions.
Reworking our approach to Retreats was another area of focus. As volunteerism has waned, Fellowships have found the planning of retreats more and more daunting. We have now set up a new Retreat Steering Committee consisting of four two-people teams, who will rotate as co-coordinators of each Retreat. While we have just managed to set it up, we are hoping the first Retreat-Steering-Committee-led Retreat will be in Fall of 2020.
A new logo was also a priority, and through a lot of hard work and strategizing with a graphics and marketing specialist, we are now starting to proudly introduce it on our web page and communications. Further steps, such as attempting to increase our “cross-brand recognition” (every Fellowship web page and logo having a similar look, for example,) and changing our name so that it more accurately reflects our organization’s composition, may be taken by some lucky new Officers down the road.
And last, but not least, we did what has always been our forte: we hosted well-organized, soul-satisfying retreats in Spa, Dijon, Cologne and Berlin. Those thousands of volunteer hours are the basic currency of EUU, and we would not exist without them.
Sadly, Ray and I will be stepping back from EUU for a while. Family and health concerns have forced us to turn our attention inward. But I like to think we are leaving EUU in good hands, at a time when a great deal of creative thinking is starting to bubble its way to the surface, preparing the way for new growth and life.