Board of Trustees

“To Everything There is a Season”

By Bobby Withrow, President

In 1959, Pete Seeger wrote his song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I like the song both as a song and for its message. To me, the message is more than a plea for world peace. It’s about the natural ebb and flow of life. There is a time and a place for everything.

In the life of a church, just as in the life of a person, there are periods of death and life, sorrow and joy. There are times of rejoicing and grieving.

With the announcement of Reverend Joan Montagnes’ retirement, we all experienced profound and strong emotions. This is perfectly normal and expected; our minister is going to be leaving us. I’m sure we also have a lot of questions, with the biggest one: What comes next?

What comes next is a time of reflection, introspection, and searching during a period of interim ministry. We will call an interim minister to help us find answers to bigger questions about ourselves as a congregation. After that, we fill find a new settled minister to guide us and to minister to us.

There will be a time for us to celebrate Joan before her departure. There will also be a time for us to grieve her departure. We will be there for each other and for Joan as well because that’s what we do. We support each other in times of change.

Over the next few months, you will be hearing from me and other members of the Board of Trustees about this time of transition. Many of us have been through this before. With our institutional knowledge and support from the UUA and our regional staff, we will enter this next phase of our church’s life with grace and fortitude.

Contacting the Board: Questions, concerns, comments? Send us an email at

Board Meetings:  Third Wednesday of each month at 7pm, at least 10 months of the year. Currently they are held either in the Alliance Room at church or via Zoom – Members of the congregation are welcome to be present at these meetings, except when the Board is in executive session. Board activities and decisions are reported in the monthly Newsletter; minutes are filed in the church office, where they are available for review by church members.

Board Election and Service:  The seven-member Board of Trustees is elected by the congregation at the January congregational meeting. The Officers of the Board (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) are elected by the Trustees from among the Board members.  For more info on the Board of Trustees, see our Bylaws.

Term Expiring January 2024
Bridget Evans,Vice President
Michael Hill, Secretary

Term Expiring January 2025
Bobby Withrow, President
Shaun Sweet, Member at Large
Kate Bell-Schwede, Member at Large

Term Expiring January 2026
Thea Hassan, Treasurer
Open Position, Member at Large

Policy Documents

Annual Report 2022

Policy Book – Sept 2022

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo is a freestanding, self-supporting congregation, governed by its own members.   The congregation is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and pays a “fair share” membership in that association, as well as in the Central East Regional Group of the UUA.

The congregation is governed by an elected Board of Trustees, and is legally and financially independent of any denominational authority.  The congregation operates as a legal not-for-profit entity incorporated in the State of New York and is governed by congregationally adopted ByLaws.

The Board of Trustees leads the congregation in a model called “policy-based governance” in which their primary responsibility is to provide leadership to the minister, staff, and congregation through a clearly articulated and coherent mission, vision, outcomes and policies.  These are published in a Board of Trustees Policy Book, which is a living document open to refinement as conditions may require.  Based on the policies, a set of processes and procedures are developed to guide day to day operations, supported by advisory committees, task forces and ministry teams.