President’s Letter: October 2017

Dear Members of the UUCJ Congregation,

I’m Mark Dickens, your new President as of June 2017. This is my first monthly letter to you and I’d just like to give you a short update on a few of the things we’ve been working on.

For many months we’ve had separate Task Forces working on some far reaching issues:

  • Should we modify our Mission and Vision Statements? We’ve got four draft Mission Statements and two draft Vision Statements we’ll send you next month to ponder before the vote.
  •  Staffing Task Force has been analyzing who on our church staff does what, who SHOULD do what, who should we hire to do what isn’t being done, how much of that can we afford, how should the performance of our professional staff be evaluated, and what about pay?
  • We’ve conducted two surveys in the last few months to evaluate how you think we’re doing and what yourpriorities are for moving forward. Mike Plummer has analyzed what you said and the Board has developed plans to fix what is broken and to steer toward the goals you have given us. More on the survey results in another communication. Speaking of Communications, that’s a glaring need and we plan to hire a part time Communications Director in January as well as stand up a Communications Committee now – and yes we need to get the President to send out monthly letters…


  • The renewal of the Fleming Nature Walk begun just before Irma is nearing completion.
  • We’ve set aside $80,000 to have the roof on the South Wing REPLACED (instead of repaired yet again) the contract is almost signed and work will begin soon.
  • We want to expand opportunities for FUN and are establishing a new committee, maybe something like, “Fun Raising Cmte.”, to work on having more things we used to have like 8 person dinners; a Men’s Club; outings; etc. It will also focus on other internal social opportunities.
  • We haven’t found anyone willing to lead it but we plan to begin a 3-year Capital Campaign to grow our church facilities – we’re considering hiring professionals to help us with that.
  • Before the end of the year we want to improve the outside lighting in the parking lots and other spaces around the campus. It’ll be an interim solution but we need to do something.

Our congregation is growing almost weekly, and not just in size, our demographics are broadening and becoming even more inclusive (witness the many new children running around). To quote the Sheriff in that famous Shakespearean movie about the shark, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”

Thanks for your support and I look forward to serving you for another two months.


Mark Dickens
Board President, UUCJ

Board Resignation

Dear UUCJ Board and Congregation:

As some of you may know, I have been struggling personally with my spiritual path over the last year. With a heavy heart, I hereby tender my resignation as the President and from the Board of UUCJ effective Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

I thank those who have supported me, and continue to support me, on this journey and wish nothing but the best for this beloved congregation.

Samantha Ledyard

President’s Letter

Dear Congregants of UUCJ,

I am honored to be writing my first monthly Presidents Letter to our beloved community. I am looking forward to keeping all of you informed about what the Board is doing and looks to do to continually push forward into 2017 with hope and prosperity.

I am aware that some of you might not be familiar with me so I thought I would start with a quick introduction. I am Samantha Ledyard and have been a member of UUCJ for going on 3 years now. I have served on many different committees in those three years, and am entering my 3rd year on the board. My husband, Eric, and I have been married for 15 years and have 3 children, who I’m sure you have seen, if not heard, on the UUCJ campus. All three are heavily involved in the youth programs UUCJ offers! Before deciding to stay home to raise our family, I worked as a Paralegal and Office Manager for most of my career in Chicago. We moved to the Jacksonville area around 6 years ago, and haven’t looked back!

I am very excited for what 2017 will bring to UUCJ. The Board is working diligently on the continued push for our Portfolio Committee structure to become even stronger. We will also be launching our Capital Campaign soon to help with the improvement and expansion plans that were designed by Bob Broward’s protégé, Cathy Duncan, and introduced at the 50th Anniversary celebration last September. We hope to catapult UUCJ into the future and to solidify our presence in Jacksonville for another 50 years!

There are many exciting and big changes on our agenda, along with attention to detail on our existing programs and day to day workings of the church.

I welcome all of you to join us in these exciting changes as well the amazing work UUCJ is already involved in. I pledge to work to the best of my ability to serve you all in the next year to maintain the momentum that my predecessor, Lois Hoeft, as well as those presidents before her, started.

Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to all I know we will accomplish this year!

In Love,

Samantha Ledyard