Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How is the board feeling about the vote?
A:  Much the same as the congregation: We’re sad and grieving for what’s being lost. We’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. We’re grateful for the generosity of spirit. We’re heavy-hearted for those who are hurting. We appreciate those who have stepped forward to show gratitude. And, we take comfort in the awareness of infinite love’s capacity to order and guide the steps ahead.  Our goal as leaders is to be a mindful presence and to engage the congregation in intentional programs and events to increase spiritual and emotional stewardship for one another. 

Q:  What have we learned about transparency?
A:  From the beginning, the Board’s goal was to be as transparent as humanly possible. We began with an open invitation to the Right and Perfect Home Committees and welcomed everyone’s input.  Early on, we held Town Hall Meetings, conducted congregational surveys and compiled reports on it all. In team meetings, we made intentional efforts to include a diversity of voices: age, tenure, ethnicity; and to solicit feedback from stakeholders as the process unfolded. We had a major Town Hall and announced in services when we decided to list the property. The listing period is a sensitive time, and it would have been inappropriate to discuss many of the details of various offers for required confidentiality reasons. Certainly, negotiations are equally delicate.  We created a team of board members and congregants to vet the offers.  Once an offer was recommended for acceptance by the team, it was reviewed and approved by the entire Board, and then shared with the congregation as soon as was feasible.

In addition, the Finance Team is developing a means for sharing monthly financials virtually in a format similar to that which used to be printed in weekly bulletins. We will also push harder for more people to get involved so that a few volunteers who have stepped up so far are not stretched so thinly.

Q:  What work was undertaken before we decided to sell? 
A:  A good deal of work was done to determine space and design needs pre-COVID. Some will remember participating in imagining our perfect home. The RPH team, with support from our consultants developed a comprehensive matrix for evaluating the suitability of potential properties when the time for “shopping” comes. All of that work needs significant updating in light of the massive and ongoing shifts in how we gather in groups since COVID, the realities of community building and connection in a virtual/in-person/hybrid ministry, and the moving target of how/when and where we engage.  We plan to  “stay the course” that brought us to this point: Create opportunities to discern Spirit’s call for Unity on the North Shore together.
Q:  Did we explore keeping the land and rebuilding?
A:  Yes. It was considered and we quickly realized this is a much more complex and expensive scenario that one might anticipate. This option simply is not feasible given our current financial position.

Q:  Are we going to buy or lease?
A:  We will explore all possibilities. We could buy. We could lease. We could lease, then buy. We could partner with other organizations. As we gain clarity about the congregation’s commitment to in-person vs. virtual services, remote vs. local participation, space and tech requirements for classes, events and youth ministry visioning, decisions related to renting vs. owning, square footage, and transit or freeway proximity, UNS needs will become clear. It depends entirely on who we, as a community, decide we want to be.

Q:  How are we meeting the need for connection in this time of transition?
A:  Our deepest hope and constant prayer is that congregants remain engaged and committed to loving and supporting one another in spiritual community. We don’t want to lose a single soul. That said, we understand that whenever an organization undergoes dramatic change – in location, leadership or  programming – some leave; others join. Data indicates that ministries that stay on purpose through uncertain times thrive. For UNS, this means continuing to take risks and live our deepest truth so that we’re equipped to do the same in our own lives.

Q:  What are the next steps for the buyer?
A:  Kensington School is working with the City of Evanston to complete the necessary permit applications, and develop site plans to share with our Hillside neighbors. Timeline for closing the transaction is six to nine months. UNS will soon host a Town Hall Meeting to introduce neighbors to Chuck Marlas, Kensington School owner.

Q:  What are the next steps for us as a congregation?
A:  We need your voice, your time and your talent to explore and discern which of the infinite possibilities before us will support the evolution of Unity on the North Shore. The more folks who get involved, the better and more robust our solutions and outcomes.

In his role as our Great Lakes Unity Regional Consultant, Rev. Greg Cole has developed a program for Churches and Centers moving through building sales. The Sacred Listening Circles he presented  last month marked the first of a three-part process for creating our new future. The Listening Circles workshops deepened our connection with one another and Spirit. His Sept. 19 Sunday lesson presented a framework and introduced a guide for moving through change. (You can view it here: .)

The next step is an exploration of using change for our spiritual growth. It entails a Sunday lesson on faith as a bridge over uncertainty to a new future, and a workshop designed to clear the path for Spirit’s guidance. The third step involves an Appreciative Inquiry process to identify pathways to fulfill our mission as a ministry. Data collected during the three phases will be used to develop a Strategic Plan for the Board and community to work together in refining and implementing.

In the meantime, we’re looking to create a number of teams for creating our best future:
  • Keepers of the Flame – encourage prayerful participation in RPH events/activities.
  • Youth & Family Visioning – prioritize/implement findings of Rev. Christina’s Report.
  • Site Selection –  with CRESA, identify, visit and evaluate prospective sites against a matrix.
  • Move Logistics – identify and implement what to move, store or release.
  • Gardening Team –find new homes for plants/shrubs.