News from Your Unity of SB Board of Trustees - Updated Monthly

March 2019 News from the Board

  1. New Board Officers

    Our first Board meeting of the 2019-2020 Board was on March 12. We voted in new officers which are: Alison Jordan, President, Sarah Linares, Vice-President, Kathleen Donelan-Maher, Treasurer, and Cheri Nagle, Secretary.

  1. Update on Interim Minister

    We have been working with Rev. Carrie Kenyon from Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) who is assisting us in finding an interim minister. At this time, we are very close to formally hiring an interim minister who has significant experience and training as an interim minister for Unity. We are very hopeful to announce soon the interim minister and plan for the interim ministry process.

January News from the Board

1. Peace and Reconciliation Process

Our Unity SB Community experienced substantial disruption in January 2018. In an effort to heal and grow through this experience, the current Unity Board of Trustees has put into place a Peace and Reconciliation Process (P&R Process). To assure harmonious reentry into the Unity community, we are asking previous board leadership of Unity SB that voted to release the minister in January 2018, to participate in the P&R Process. Part of the process includes committing to the new Disruptive Behavior Policy and Code of Conduct, and updated Membership Covenant. These policies, which are for all Unity of SB members to commit to by signing the Membership Covenant, create a framework of standards and boundaries for the harmonious rebuilding of our spiritual community. As of January 31, 2019, one previous board member has participated in the P&R Process. 
As a next step in the P&R Process, a group process is being offered for anyone in the congregation on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 12pm at Unity SB.  Participants will share in small groups their experience and concerns from January 2018 and receive empathic listening from P&R Team. These steps are taken to offer an opportunity for healing in our Unity SB community, support the return of members, and provide a structure that supports safety and trust…as we work together in building a culture of peace.

2. Update on Courtyard Landscaping Project -

The city is requiring additional stormwater retention requirements and we are evaluating our options of how to proceed forward.

3. Annual Membership Meeting, March 3

December News from the Board
1. Update on landscaping project - we are completing necessary City requirements and soon (hoping in January) will have our City Building permit for the landscaping project. Then we will have the green light and project will start!
2. New Unity SB brochure - our Marketing and Communications Team completed a beautiful Unity SB brochure. Check it out in brochure holder in front of chapel or ask in the office. Great way to let people know about our wonderful spiritual community.
3. Peace and Reconciliation Program development is continuing at the board and staff level. We plan to continue to expand this learning experience for all the Unity SB community in the next few months.
4. Work is continuing on the 2018-19 Strategic Plan. All teams are working on completing relevant goals and tasks sections of the Strategic Plan Framework, (see link.)
5. Finance Team is doing a great job to keep all revenue and expenditures reviewed and tracked. The budgeting process for the next FY budget is beginning, all teams will be asked for budget input. 4th Quarter reports will be posted as soon as completed.
October News from the Board
1. Funds were approved by the membership for the courtyard landscaping project. We are currently waiting for our City building permit, and then once permit received, construction will start! Our sacred space will soon have a nicely developed elegant presence. 
2. Bylaws changes creating more consistent and complete bylaws were approved by the membership. A thorough review of the UoSB bylaws is being planned in conjunction with Unity Village current bylaws changes.
3. The board approved our membership in Sustainable Future. This is a locally-based nonprofit primarily seeking improvements to the environment through integrated community coordination and practical sustainable action steps.
4. The board is committed to and has undergone further training in our new Peace and Reconciliation Program. We plan to continue to expand this learning experience for all interested in the near future.
5. Work is continuing on the 2018-19 Strategic Plan. All teams are working on completing relevant goals and tasks sections of the Strategic Plan Framework and more will be shared on the next steps soon.

CommUNITY Meeting Sunday, October 21, 2018

Welcome to our Fall special community meeting. The purpose of this meeting is twofold: to approve funds for the landscape project and approve new bylaws changes.
We are nearing the final stage of our renovation project that began over three years ago. During this time, we have sought input and received many suggestions for how to proceed. The architectural firm has cooperated with our requests and plans are now ready for implementing them. We have good estimates for the total cost of completing our landscape with an acceptable budget to create the beauty and design we desire.
Our bylaws team has been diligently determined to update our current bylaws. They have been in close contact with Unity Village which is also in the process of renovating guidelines for Unity churches. The current proposed changes are designed to address recent concerns and to simplify our guidelines for optimal function.
We are fortunate to have key members share their expertise, experience and extensive time to bring us to these important decisions. We hope you participate by attending this meeting and supporting these efforts to beautify our sacred space.
Cheerful blessings, Jim Kwako, Board President

Pertinent support documents below

Oct 21 Agenda and Guidelines
Courtyard Landscape Funding Request
Recommended Bylaws Revisions


1. The board and Rev. Larry signed a new 2-year contract. This contract was based on a 6-month evaluation that is highly positive. We will continue to evaluate Rev. Larry’s performance every 6 months.

2. Next community meeting is scheduled for October 21. At this meeting, we will vote on:

a. Approval of funds for installation of the landscape project. Thank you for your interest and suggestions.
b. Approval for some minor bylaws changes, which will be sent to members for review ahead of the meeting.

3. The board has now completed its top 6 priorities:

a. Transparency, 
b. Minister-board relationships,
c. Revised and approved courtyard renovation plan,
d. Renewal of the Strategic Plan process,
e. Stable fiscal management, and
f. Developing a Peace and Reconciliation process.

Thank you for your support, trust and abiding interest in our spiritual family. 


1.    We are delighted to expand our efforts in many ways. We are inviting our Unity Santa Barbara teams to assess their progress and submit a budget request to further support their goals and functions.

2.    We reviewed our 6 top priorities from 6 months ago. We have met 4 of them with two more being actively pursued. The 4 accomplishments include:

a.     Transparency and communication with the congregation.

b.    Establish healthy financial goals and budget.

c.     Create and sign confidentiality agreements and code of ethics.

d.    Define the relationship between the board and the minister.

3.    The two that are in process and soon to be completed are:

a.     Review, amend and complete Rev. Larry’s contract.

b.    Implement the Strategic Planning Process.

4.    We held our scheduled 6-month review of Rev. Larry. We agreed that he is performing between the Exceeding and Expected  Expectation level of each of the 8 categories chosen. This is better than average, a very good grade.

5.    We were given an update of our Peace and Reconciliation Team by Rev. Denese. We plan to extend this process to all congregants currently active and inactive, who would like to participate. More will be said soon about how this will happen. 

We postponed the Community Meeting a few weeks. We decided to further study the scope and cost of the project. Our effort is to achieve a beautiful courtyard, and remain within a reasonable budget. It will take a few more weeks, to get all the information necessary to satisfy these goals. We will notify you as soon as we have a new date for the meeting. 






1.    We approved the CJM Landscape Architects design at the congregation meeting June 24

2.    We have scheduled a membership meeting for September 23rd to approve funds to complete the landscape project.

a.    The landscape project has been in process for over 3 years.

b.    Many meetings have been held to discuss this project and we’ve received and included congregational input in the final design.

3.    We are working on creating a comprehensive and principled approach to

a.     resolving differences in the community and

b.     in dealing with minister board relations and

c.      Minister’s employment.

d.     We hope to have it ready for discussion and approval at this meeting also.

4.    We plan to finalize Rev. Larry’s contract by the end of September.

5.    This fall, the board and Rev. Larry plan to have a leadership training program in place. This will be a series of classes to prepare leaders, as well as for those interested in spiritual and emotional development

6.    And welcome to our new board member, Cheri Nagle, who was appointed to the board August 13.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

News from Your Unity Board of Trustees

Team Updates:

Bylaws Team is working on updates to the bylaws with the goal of removing ambiguities while keeping the governing document in alignment with Unity Worldwide Ministries(UWM). In fact, we’ll be following up with UWM regarding the status of its new bylaws template. We’ll also be meeting with UWM to discuss proposed changes we have for the two key focus areas – membership and minister.

Peace & Reconciliation Team completed its first round of training and is now involved in practice sessions every couple of weeks with Rev. Denese.  This specialized team is preparing itself to handle any conflicts that arise and resolve issues in a calm and effective manner. 

Social Team is busy coming up with ways to have fun with our Unity friends. We offer to everyone going to the movies the first Sunday of the month, and coordinated a Unity outing to the State Street Ballet in May. We are organizing a paddleboard outing, potlucks, and some events for the Holidays.

Outreach Team held a fundraiser for Mayan Families and another is scheduled for September. Locally we helped the Red Cross install smoke detectors in peoples' homes, Unity Interfaith Alliance (UIA) showed the movie An Act of Love with Q&A.  We will have opportunities to participate in the United Way Day of Caring in September as well as volunteering at Direct Relief, and the Dream Foundation. UIA is planning three discussion/movie events in the Fall.

Building & Grounds Team held a work party, which was very effective in improving the health and appearance of our landscape and cleaning up our grounds.  Another work party will be scheduled and we invite anyone interested to join us.

Marketing & Communications Team has been busy spreading the word about UoSB and currently concentrating on free media opportunities. We organized a successful radio interview with two of our choir members that helped promote our recent choir event. We have been getting familiar with branding and marketing documents from UWM and incorporating great marketing language from UWM into our outreach including working on updating the UoSB brochure.

The other teams are getting up to speed and starting to meet as well.

If you are interested in volunteering and joining a team, click here for information on all the UoSB teams and how to sign up.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

News from Your Unity Board of Trustees

  1. Rev. Larry and the Board of Trustees have discussed and arrived at a mutually agreeable performance evaluation method and this will be completed by September 30. 
  2. We are also working on the terms of an extension of Rev. Larry’s employment contract and hope to have the final details accomplished within the month.
  3. Ani Ahavah has chosen to step down from the board and has resumed her volunteer efforts in the office. We are grateful for all her contributions.
  1. Agenda and reports are under development for the Community Meeting scheduled for June 24 at 11:45 am. During that meeting, we will present the financial report and ask the membership to approve the 2018-19 budget. There will also be updates on our many team activities, the youth program, and the building/landscape plans.
  1. We are working on a final version of a Peace and Reconciliation Policy and Procedure, and have adopted Unity Worldwide Ministries Guidelines for Ministry Policy on Disruptive Behavior.
  1. All board members have affirmed and signed the Annual Board Bylaws Affirmation and Annual Board Healthy Organization Affirmation that confirms our commitment to become knowledgeable about the bylaws and also support foundation principles of UoSB.
  1. Strategic Planning process is being reviewed and next steps will be announced soon to build upon the five intentions and corresponding objectives developed from the Conscious Conversations interviews of last Fall.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

1. All board members participated in a board retreat and training that was held on April 27 and 28 led by Rev. Sonya Milton. It went extremely well with an excellent board training program developed by Unity Worldwide Ministries and bonding retreat activities among board members and between the Board, Rev. Larry and Joan Kershaw. As an opening, we shared our personal spiritual journeys and learned a lot more about each other.

2. Ani Ahavah has chosen to discontinue her term with the board. She is going to re-continue her volunteer work in the office and we are glad to have her actively involved with Unity of SB. We are beginning to consider a new board member.

3. Teams are meeting, choosing team chairs, setting goals and getting rolling. The is a special training for three Saturdays in May, and members of the future Peace and Reconciliation Team and others will participate in the training.  One new team is the Risk Management Team; to assess, manage and advise the board of risks and liabilities of the church and support the administration and Board by reviewing UofSB insurance policies and giving advice when needed.  There is also a new Spiritual Enrichment Support Team. Description as follows: Assist at classes, workshops and other spiritual enrichment events at Unity of Santa Barbaram inclyding room set up and support to the presenter.  click here if you are interested in joining these or any of the UoSB teams. 

4. If you have an interest in the church finances, there will be a CommUNITY Meeting on Sunday, May 27, after the Sunday service. This meeting will offer more information before the June Members' Meeting.

5. Mark your calendars and please attend our next Unity Members' Meeting, which will be on Sunday, June 24 after Sunday service. We will be approving the budget for this fiscal year, hearing reports from Rev. Larry and Board President Jim Kwako, team chairs will give updates, and any other new business that needs a member vote will be sent to members 10 days before the meeting. 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

The following statement was unanimously approved by the Unity of Santa Barbara Board of Trustees on March 27, 018:

Moving Forward 2018

Unity of Santa Barbara

Board of Trustees
Statement of Support and Intentions

January and February brought unprecedented changes to Unity of SB culminating in an effort to terminate the Senior Minister.  Over several membership meetings, that effort was rescinded, and the board was replaced by an interim board.  The interim board was then voted in as the new permanent board at the Annual Meeting held on March 4th, 2018. 

We have weathered the recent Board-Minister-Congregation conflict and affirm that crisis always precedes transformation. We are moving forward in positive ways. We have been meeting weekly with Rev. Larry to develop a plan to bring coherent structure, accountability, and stability to church operations along with financial sustainability. We have extended the minister’s contract until the end of June to give us time to collaborate on a new contract with Rev. Larry as our Spiritual Leader.

The strategy for going forward rests on the following cornerstones:

1)    Rev. Larry Schellink – Statement of Support.  After numerous meetings and long discussions, the board unanimously agrees that Rev. Larry is qualified to continue in his role as spiritual leader of Unity of SB.  Furthermore, the board finds no justification for the abrupt termination of Rev. Larry.  We extend our full confidence in his ongoing spiritual leadership.

2)    Roles & Responsibilities - Areas of previous conflict and confusion over the roles and responsibilities of the Minister and the Board will be clarified and incorporated into Rev. Larry ’s new contract.  New board training and materials will clarify roles and responsibilities of the Board.

3)    Mission-Centered Spiritual Center - This Board, Rev. Larry and Joan Kershaw, Administrator, are initiating an operational transition from a Minister-Centered Pastoral Church to a Mission-Centered Community-based Spiritual Center. We will keep the membership involved and informed through “Board Liaisons” to our various Membership Teams and regular updates to the community at large.

4)    Transparency – Some of the abrupt changes over the past year occurred with little warning or insight as to the cause.  To keep information regarding team and board activity flowing and accessible, several of the new teams will incorporate a “Membership Liaison” to provide information on team activity to the membership. There will be frequent communication from the board to congregation via the weekly email, website postings, and Sunday meetings.

5)    Financial Sustainability – The Finance Team will prepare and submit a new responsive budget for Fiscal Year 2018/19 to the board for review and approval.  That budget will be presented at the next membership meeting in June 2018.  The Finance Membership Liaison will make regular financial reports available to the membership.

6)    Peace and Reconciliation Team – The Conflict Resolution Committee will be transformed into the Peace and Reconciliation Team which offers a process whereby congregants and staff may seek a resolution of interpersonal and organizational tensions and conflicts consistent with the core principle of love and demonstrated through the expression of self-awareness, forgiveness, mindfulness, and enlightened problem solving.

These main areas of focus will be managed to encourage ownership, participation accountability and spirit-centeredness at all levels of the Unity of SB organization. 

The Unity of SB Board of Directors

James Kwako  - Pres.
Allison Jordan – V. Pres.        
James Knight – Treas.
Sarah Linares – Sec.
Russ Chaffin - at-large member
Ani Ahavah- at-large member
Rev. Larry Schellink, Senior Minister


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

1.    The new board officers for the year are:

·       James Kwako, President

·       Alison Jordan, Vice-President

·       Jim Knight, Treasurer

·       Sarah Linares, Secretary

·       The at-large board members are Ani Ahavah & Russ Chaffin.

2.    We are meeting weekly at this point, gathering input and information, to begin to prioritize next steps and timelines, for many key items, such as the budget, forming committees, the strategic plan, goals and objectives.

3.    At our meeting on March 7, 2017 we discussed the accusations against Rev. Larry by the previous board.

-         Rev. Larry made a major effort, to write out his responses to each of the criticisms, given by the previous board.

-         He reviewed major turning points and major differences with them.

-         The board asked direct questions, and Rev. Larry responded.

-         He admitted to overreacting in some of his interactions.

-         He shared his regrets, and suggestions he had given for compromise with the previous board.

-         We are satisfied, that we have begun a close, working relationship with each other, and plan to define our unique responsibilities and expectations of each other.

-         We feel that Rev. Larry is an inspiring spiritual teacher and we are grateful for his presence with us.

4.    The board is planning its annual retreat, and board training sessions soon.

-         These are required in the bylaws, but, did not happen last year.

-         We will bring you updates on Sundays, as well as in the weekly Unity e-newsletter.

-         If you have questions or ideas, please contact us at

 Thank you for your support and prayers.