Have you been wondering how things are getting done at the UUFP during the pandemic?
It’s true that we are asking our members not to come in person to the Fellowship unless it’s absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, the Rev. Andrew and DRE Joanne Dingus are working hard to make sure we have virtual Sunday services and religious education for our children. We have many congregants who help with classes for children and youth, make presentations and lead discussions during the Sunday Forum, and offer virtual programs such as the Book Club and fellowship circles. We have committees meeting virtually whose members work together to promote the spiritual well-being of the Fellowship (the Committee on Ministry) and help us in our search for a new location (the Planning Committee). Our Policy Board solves problems and makes tough decisions on behalf of the congregation. We’re not meeting in person, but the UUFP’s event calendar is almost as full as it was before the pandemic started.
However, many of the things that need to happen to keep the UUFP running—including scheduling all of those Zoom meetings—are handled by our magnificent office manager, Kirsha (“Kay”) McAllister.
The pandemic has had a major effect on Kirsha’s work schedule. It has hampered her ability to deal with vendors and get equipment repaired in a timely fashion. The use of Zoom for meetings has created new demands. Kirsha is handling three Zoom rooms for the UUFP. Not only does she schedule all the meetings, but she also responds to problems when Zoom malfunctions. She has put in considerable time and effort working with the Newport News police and Church Mutual Insurance in the wake of the office building break-ins over the summer. Due to her excellent records, the UUFP has been able to secure $5,000 in reimbursement from our insurance provider. Kirsha has also worked to get the stolen items replaced. One of the items that was stolen was her office computer, which was a major impediment to her work.
Kirsha’s regular duties include maintaining the UUFP’s calendar, ordering supplies, and handling incoming mail, phone calls, and emails. She arranges services for our buildings and office equipment and is on the premises when repairs are taking place. She is one of our “first responders” when it comes to noting problems with buildings and addressing those. She makes regular bank deposits and does a considerable amount of bookkeeping, handling reimbursements for expenses and preparing UUFP checks for signature by church officers. She arms and disarms the building security system and assists congregants with access. She is also the person who gets a call when there is an alarm.
Kirsha works with Marcy Stutzman and the web team on website issues and with Jeanne Farthing, our UUFP Treasurer, on financial matters. She assists the Rev. Andrew and DRE Joanne when needed, and keeps in touch with outside organizations such as the Aqueduct Boys & Girls Club.
If you would like to make Kirsha’s job easier, please call ahead when you need to come to the church or office building. She would appreciate it if congregants could submit requests and announcements ahead of time (not at the very last possible minute, which is what many of us are guilty of). It is also helpful to use the appropriate forms, such as the online space reservation request form, which now accommodates Zoom room requests. Please be mindful of our security system if you need to enter the buildings. If the police respond to a false alarm, there is a $50 charge that the UUFP must pay.
When Kirsha is at home, she is facing the same difficulties as many other parents at the UUFP. She helps her two children (ages eight and nine) with online schooling. She also does some work from home, as does her husband. It’s a challenging schedule, as many of us know. However, Kirsha (she encourages you to call her “Kay”) loves working at the UUFP and appreciates all the ways the congregation tries to be present in the community.
Thank you for everything you do, Kay!