An update from the board

Dear friends, fellow congregants, and supporters of UUCB –

We are doing a lot of wonderful work towards our future. When I open the newspaper, I am reminded of what a fortunate circumstance it is to have the grants we’ve been able to receive, the fundraising towards maintaining our beautiful building, our absolutely magnetic music ministry, and our vibrant community. We are alive. I am filled with gratitude when I think about who we are and what we are doing. There’s never been a perfect group of people, and we’re unlikely to be the first. We do not have to be. We have almost two hundred years of collective labor that shows how people working together can create a very beautiful community.

The Board’s recent work has been focused on creating some clarity in processes that we think may serve the church better in the future. Policy is one such effort. The Caring For People task force is looking at safety policies – talk to Bill Parke for more. We have clarified a building use policy that didn’t make it clear who had ultimate decision-making (now: the minister). The Governance committee is looking into creating a cash-handling policy. The Governance Committee has been extremely helpful in finding solutions that work with our values and governance, and the Board is very grateful!

Music is part of the mission of this church. Our relationship with Sotto Voce reached a point that younger people would recognize as “define the relationship” – a need to discern the boundaries around our closeness and be intentional about what we are. We are formalizing our affiliation with Sotto Voce, creating a special use agreement and contract that we think will benefit both entities. It will be revisited every year – if we didn’t get it right, we can revise. Feel free to approach a member of the Board, Rev. Cathy, or Dr. Jessie Downs if you’re curious about the nitty-gritty details.

The big picture is this: Sotto Voce gets some use of the church for rehearsal space, and there are flexibilities built-in. If emergent needs arise, the church can reclaim the space to fulfill them. But on days we’d otherwise have an empty room, we’ll be helping to incubate opera. Thank you to the Sotto Voce leadership for their many patient conversations with us. Thank you to the people in the congregation who shared their joys, hopes, and concerns with us. These helped us discern what needed to be decided. The Board is excited to continue UUCB’s mission and honor our history of supporting musical arts through this affiliation. Some may recall that the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus was similarly supported in its infancy as well, as its initial arts director was former Music Director Barbara Wagner.

Lastly – the budget. The Congregation approved a budget that had a built-in deficit. Making our office administrator full-time was an investment in our future. The hope was that this would create administrative capacity to rent the building and generate new revenue, as well as ministerial activities (weddings, mainly). Right now, our revenue has exceeded our expenses. This is partially due to increases in fundraising (for instance: the Service Auction is continuing to be extremely successful, Cabaret raised more than they have before, and there have been some incredibly generous donors). We have booked weddings! The money in the collection plate has been bountiful. Your generosity continues to power our church.

The largest portion of our financial support continues to be pledges. Thank you to everyone who generously pledged, and are steadily their commitments. On average, it costs $1,744 a day to operate our church. Your support is needed and deeply appreciated. Your support is being used to create something lovely: our thriving community.

This church is a monument to generosity, dreams, and effort. Every worship service, every fun event, every plant in the garden, every repair made or planned for, everything is because someone or somebodies thought it up and then even more people dedicated their time, energy, and resources to making it just so. This church is so lovely because our community has made a commitment that it should be, and we continue to fulfill it in so many ways. Thank you for being so generous with your time and treasure.

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. (IMPORTANT: If attending via Zoom, please email the board in advance so they know to expect you). 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 congregation elects the seven-member Board of Trustees 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 2025
Kate Bell-Schwede, Vice President
Shawn Sweet, Member at-large
Term Expiring January 2026
Thea Hassan, Secretary
Christine Slocum, President
Term Expiring January 2027
Dave Batt, Member-at-large
Bill Parke, Member-at-large
Paul Zanolli, Treasurer

Policy Documents

Revised 2023
Revised May 2024
Revised December 2023
Revised 2023
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.
Our Vision
We gather in loving community, creating a shared vision of compassion and dignity for all,
to radically transform the world in which we live.
695 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222
Sunday Services are at 10:30