FUUSN Operates with Democratic Principles and Congregational Polity

This congregation is wholly owned by its members and governed using a representative process with regular elections of officers, a set of bylaws, an annual meeting of the full society, and the power to call the minister or ministers of its choice.

FUUSN is organized according to the principles of congregational polity–ultimate authority resides with the members and the most important decisions are made by vote at a duly constituted Annual Meeting of the members each spring. Daily operational authority resides with a democratically elected Board of Trustees and Operations Council and all funds are held and invested by a democratically elected Board of Investment.

Here is an overview by Barbara Bates, in July 2021, of FUUSN governance and the Board of Trustees:


By-laws of the First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton.

Policies and Information Issuances

Policies approved by the Board and Operations Council.

Board of Trustees

A seven-person Board of Trustees has overall authority over church finances, staffing, and high-level policy-making. The Board is responsible for seeing that all evaluations of ministers, programs, and operations are performed. Six trustees are elected by the members of the society and each serves a three-year term, with two new members elected at each Annual Meeting of the Society. In addition, one youth member is elected to the Board for a one-year term (currently two youth share that responsibility). The Board members elect a chair and vice chair from among their members.

The current Board of Trustees consists of: Demie Stathoplos (Chair), Barbara Schmitt (Vice-Chair), Chris Krebs, Hattie Kerwin-Derrick, Stephanie Kendall, Roseann Murray, Joe Klinman (Youth Rep), with Kit Ryan (Clerk).

Minutes from Board of Trustees meetings are online.

Operations Council (OC)

A seven-person OC works in partnership with FUUSN staff to oversee day-to-day operations and supports FUUSN committees in their work. The conduct monthly reviews of the Budget Tracking Report prepared by the Finance Committee and oversee an annual budget review process which culminates with a recommended budget that is presented to the BOT each Spring.

OC reports to BOT, who is responsible for assuring performance against Congregational Priorities, the Limitations Policies and the OC Policies.

The current Operations Council consists of: Susan Bartlett, Chair (Education), Laurel Farnsworth, Vice-Chair, (Fundamentals/Administration), Jud Leonard (Communications), Eric Haas (Worship), Wayne Everett (Fellowship), Karen Bottar (Treasurer), with Linda Ross(Clerk).

Minutes from Operations Council meetings are online.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee consists of the Board Chair, the Minister, DLRE, and Operations Council chair. It helps route decisions and problems to the appropriate entity, but makes no decisions. It can also inform people of precedent when known.

The current Steering Committee consists of: Parisa Parsa (Interim Minister), Devin Shmueli (DLRE), Susan Bartlett (OC Chair), and Demie Stathoplos (BoT Chair).


The Treasurer keeps the books, reports on financial matters, and writes checks. An Assistant Treasurer is empowered to act in the Treasurer’s absence.   Here is the Treasurer’s Report for FY2021

Treasurer: Karen Bottar. Assistant Treasurer: Faith Kreider.

Finance Committee (FC)

The FC prepares and monitors FUUSN’s operating budget, which is developed to reflect BOT initiatives, and develops multi-year budget forecasts which reflect BOT priorities. The OC receives monthly analysis of income/expenses relative to the budget. In addition to a monthly spending analysis and the long range forecast, the FC prepares a year-end report for presentation to the congregation at the annual meeting, and posts periodic reports on the FUUSN website. FC meet monthly September-April.

Contact: Karen Bottar and Brian Gill, Co-Chairs.

Documents posted by the Finance Committee (requires you to be logged-in).

Board of Investment (BOI)

The BOI holds and invests Society funds transferred to it by the Board of Trustees, and consists of 3 members, elected 1 per year each for a 3-year term.

Contact Urban Larson, Devon Wells, David Griswold.

Financial Oversight Committee (FOC)

The FOC provides regular and reasonable review of FUUSN’s management of financial processes and policies.

The committee includes: Lucy Boyle and Josh Cohen.

Personnel/Policy Committee (PPC)

The PPC is an appointed body that advises the BOT and Minister (as staff supervisor) on current personnel policies, remuneration, and benefits with comparative organizations, and keeps the Society aware of what it needs to do to keep up with standards set by denomination for fair compensation employers. They maintain current job descriptions for each staff position and an up-to-date personnel manual for the Society. Finally, the committee will provide advice and support whenever the Board and Minister need to make any shifts in staffing for the Society. The Board appoints members with requisite expertise including experience with compensation, benefits, employment law, legal/litigation, and Human Resource Management.

The Personnel/Policy Committee consists of: Karen Davis, John Adkins.

Ministry Review Committee (MRC)

The Ministry Review Committee is appointed by the Board of Trustees. The MRC is instructed to invite congregational feedback around all aspects of the professional ministry at FUUSN, and then to prepare a report with their findings.

You need to log in to see the MRC Report from May 2020.

Safe Congregations

Working group comprised of reps from the Board, Ops Council, Lay Ministers, Minister and DLRE who will direct the development of a Safe Congregations policy manual. Brooke is currently board rep

Nominating Committee (NC)

Appointed by the Moderator and assembled in the Fall, the NC implements a process whereby congregants offer names to be considered for elected leadership positions. Taking into account both a person’s interest and qualifications to serve as member of the Board, Ops. Council, BOI or in other elected leadership positions, the NC presents a slate of candidates to be elected at the Annual Meeting in June.

Archive & Institutional Knowledge Team

2018/19 pilot program under the direction of archivists Barbara Bates and Lesley Sneddon whose purpose is to store and provide easy access to important board-related documents (agendas, minutes, and reports) as well as historical documents on governance change and conflict transformation.