Nominating Committee Report to FCUCC Board January 10, 2023
In October 2022, the Nominating Committee was convened by Jerry Dillashaw, Moderator, on behalf of the Board, to provide instruction for the work of this committee. The Nominating Committee, consisting of Spence Duin, Eric Lyons (chair), and Beaver Wyatt, was assigned the task of finding candidates for election to the Board for one-year (2023) and three-year (2023-2025) terms.
The one-year term position will fill the vacancy left by the passing of Board member Richard Jones (d. October, 2022). Richard had one year remaining on a three-year term. Generally, a Board member completing this one-year term will then be eligible to serve a three-year term.
Two three-year Board positions, expiring at the end of 2022, were held by Jerry Dillashaw (reaching his term limit) and Bruce Holcombe, who was eligible for a second term. When contacted, Bruce declined nomination.
Based on input from the congregation, it was desired the Committee provide a slate of nominees from which the congregation would elect three Board members. This year’s election will take place at the January 22, 2023 Annual Meeting. Nominations may still be made from the floor, provided permission has been received from the person being nominated and their biographical statement prepared.
Since October, the Committee solicited nominations from the congregation. The Committee reviewed the membership roll, considered nominating guidelines, including congregational diversity, and determined present skills needed on the Board. Board member guidelines were shared with all candidates for their review and acceptance as part of their nomination.
By December 15th, four qualified candidates were identified and accepted nomination. Since no further nominations were made by the congregation, the Committee recommends the following nominees with their biographical statements:
1-Year Term Position
You may recognize Chris Nealis as a member of our voice and handbell choirs and a periodic liturgist for Sunday services. As a visitor starting in 2008, and then after joining the church in 2010, Chris has been an active participant in the life of First Congregational UCC for over 12 years.
Starting out as a regular attendee of Adult Education and then a member of the choir, after her retirement Chris served as a discussion facilitator for the Governance & Ministry Task Force (GMTF) workshops in 2011. She was subsequently elected to the trial Board of Directors in 2012 where she served as moderator and a member of the GMTF for 18 months. During that time, the Board, working with the GMTF and the staff, helped develop revisions and additions to the Bylaws, new guidelines for development of the ministries, and new policies and procedures for the daily operations of staff functions. These materials were presented, discussed with and adopted by the Congregation in the Fall of 2013, as part of the current Governance & Ministry model.
After taking a year in 2014 to travel and RV through the western US with her partner, Jan Brown, Chris has served over the last several years as Chair of the 2016 Transition Team, Vice-Chair of the 2017 Search Team, Chair of the Personnel Committee (2017-2019), and Chair of the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF-2021).
Chris retired after a 40+ year working life, with the last 24 years spent in a managerial career with Watkins Motor Lines/FedEx Freight, as a corporate personnel administrator, training designer, manager of training design and development, and terminal manager. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Business & Personnel Management from Florida State University and a M.A. in Labor & Industrial Relations from The University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana.
3-Year Term Positions
My family and I started coming to FCUCC as soon as we moved to Asheville in August of 1998. After playing in the Godspell band in 1999, I joined the choir and started occasionally playing guitar and singing during services, and have kept that up for many years since. In the past, I have served on the Music Committee, and I currently serve on the Buildings and Grounds Committee, participate in workdays, and help with special jobs like painting the Bell Room and moving furniture with Beaver. I spent most of my working life as a teacher, including twenty years teaching math at Asheville High, during which I was department chair for four years and served on the School Improvement Team for four years.
Our church faces major challenges. We need to heal and renew ourselves after the traumas and losses in recent years. We need to grow our membership (particularly by growing younger) in order to strengthen and extend our ministries and ensure the long-run viability of the church. We would benefit from building relationships with other local churches and organizations that share our values, and from inviting the community into our space more often. As a Board member I would work to address these challenges. If called to the Board, I pledge to listen with an open heart and an open mind, to speak and act with love, honesty, and civility, and to seek consensus. I would welcome your feedback if I fail to live up to this pledge.
FCUCC enriches my life and gives me so much as my faith family. I have received this gift for 12 years. I would like to return some of that gift by serving the church as a whole and our individual members. Thus, my acceptance as a nominee for our church Board. I wish to be an active participant in the policy making of FCUCC and to translate/communicate that work to our members with the hope of mutual trust, understanding, and respect while maintaining the necessary confidentiality which the position requires.
My background and experience have prepared me well to serve on our church Board. I currently serve on the Benevolence Team and have been in the position of chair for approximately 4 to 5 years. I also serve on the Racial Justice Team and Transition Team. At my previous UCC church in Indiana, I served on the Benevolence Committee (chair for one term), the Personnel Committee (chair for one term), and the Peace and Justice Sub Committee. In addition, as a Speech/Language Pathologist in Fort Wayne Community Schools for 33 1/2 years, I served briefly on the Negotiating Team for school teachers and other school professionals to negotiate school contracts.
My experience gives me a considerable scope of understanding and knowledge of team work, ministry work, and outreach to help me serve on our Board. I will focus on our church’s identity, vision, and mission and its place in our greater community. I will bring passion to the position. I look forward to serving all of us, and working alongside a new senior pastor, as we continue into the future on our journey of faith.
Thank you for your consideration.
This congregation is near and dear to my heart and I am deeply grateful for this "family." Ellie and I came to FCUCC in August 1, 2012 and immediately we knew this was our faith home. We joined shortly thereafter and never looked back.
I believe God is far bigger than my mind can conceive and that God is STILL SPEAKING. I believe in creating God's peaceable kin-dom of love and justice on earth, and thus I seek to be a co-creator with God. I pray to be responsive to The Spirit's movement.
I am offering my skills in group process, team building, organizing, and attention to details. I'm willing to serve on the Board or in whatever capacity is best for the church. I am constant, consistent, future-oriented, sometimes no-nonsense, and willing to work really hard for FCUCC to live into our mission. I am committed to congregational conversations, Board transparency, non-violent communication and relating, truth telling, collaboration, and policy making that supports creative and dynamic ministries for peace and justice. I think that underneath society’s trappings, people really are hungry for the message of love and justice and desire community. I want to help FCUCC have a firm foundation to grow our congregation and to live into the message of justice and peace for all.
I am a cradle United Methodist. Since being a 5th grade church camper, I've been involved in the inner spiritual journey. As a young adult, the outer journey of action and justice dovetailed with my inner journey. Collaborating ecumenically has been significant in my work. Most of my employment involved adult and laity education in non-traditional settings. This has included working with local churches, conference boards, and agencies in leader training, spiritual growth, addressing social issues, and organizing and implementing policies and programs for inclusiveness and systemic change for justice. I've been involved in addressing sexism, heterosexism, and racism.
Currently, I am serving on the Worship, Racial Justice, and Transition Teams. It would be my joy and privilege to serve this congregation as a Board Member.