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Governance

What is Governance?

Governance is a shared agreement for how the church community envisions its future, sets direction, monitors goals, makes decisions, resolves disputes, and stewards resources. 

Effective governance is grounded in the church’s principles and values, builds on trust, respects all voices, and is guided by clear, inclusive, transparent policies and tools.

In short, Governance is how the congregation participates in the important decisions of the church

Mission

Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church creates and grows an inclusive religious community connected by love, spirit, and service.

Values

In keeping with our mission, we are guided by these values:

  • Love
  • Spirit
  • Service
  • Community

As a self-governing body, the congregation of Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church elects Board members, adopts an annual budget, calls a senior minister, and addresses key questions and decisions at its annual meeting.  Throughout the year, the nine-member Board of Trustees works in close partnership with the Senior Minister to guide the Church toward fulfilling its mission, making decisions and using resources in ways that reflect our values and principles.

James Coomes, President

James (he/him) is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and
has been a member of Neighborhood Church since
1996…

Kim Milliken Hayden, Vice President

Kim (she/hers) has been a member of Neighborhood
for 23 years. She has been grateful to serve…

George scherer, Treasurer

George (he/him) has been a member of Neighborhood Church since 2005. He has shown a consistent commitment to service… 

Nadia Hillman,
Trustee

Nadia Hillman has been an active member of Neighborhood Church for over 15 years, contributing her talents to various roles such as…

Catherine Blue Holmes, Trustee

Catherine (she/hers) can’t remember coming to
Neighborhood for the first time (she was three). She
has happily…

Beth Powers,
Trustee

Beth Powers (she/hers) has been an enthusiastic Neighborhood Church member for over 10 years and enjoys doing a variety of…

Margaret Wilcox, Trustee

Margaret Wilcox (she/her) joined Neighborhood Church in 2021 after moving from her Northern California home and the UU congregation…

Mae Colcord, Trustee

I have been attending Neighborhood since I was 1 year old (1993) and a member since taking ROP (2006). I love… 

Benjamin Hosking, Trustee

Benjamin (Ben) (he/him) has been attending
Neighborhood since 2021. Ben co-founded and co-facilitates the Young Adult…

OUR COVENANT

In 2019, Neighborhood Church’s members voted on a Covenant of Right Relations that places our values of compassion and tolerance at the forefront of our interactions with each other. Here is the language on which we agreed:

We the congregational members, leaders, ministers, staff, and friends of Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church are a welcoming faith community that believes a better world is brought about through our daily actions and interactions. It is with this spirit that we covenant to act with integrity so that the needs of the individual and the greater faith community can be in harmony. We covenant to honor one another, engage one another, and give to one another and our institution. 

We hereby covenant to honor one another.

We aspire to live our shared values and shared ministry through our daily interactions. We listen appreciatively being mindful, present, and respectful, assuming good intentions, and seeking to understand one another. We aspire to resolve conflict in a loving, compassionate way, and to forgive each other out of generosity of spirit.

We hereby covenant to engage one another.

We commit to sharing our authentic selves by expressing our needs and ideas, communicating honestly, respectfully, directly, courageously, and without anonymous statements. We take responsibility for the impact of our statements and actions. We remain engaged, even in conflict, through daring and difficult communication, collaboration, and facilitation.

We hereby covenant to give to one another and our institution.

 We contribute our time, skills, and other resources. We commit to understanding and supporting our church structure, including administration and governance. We commit to advancing ethical conduct and addressing misuse of power within the policies and procedures of Neighborhood UU Church. When we are unable to come to an understanding with one another, we will engage members of the Right Relations Committee for support.

We as a community will do our best to abide by this Covenant.

James (he/him) is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and has been a member of Neighborhood Church since 1996. He has been a member of the staff, served as an RE teacher and committee member, as a board
member, as a member of multiple ministerial intern committees, and is a founding member of Neighborhood People of Color. At the Denominational
level, he has served in leadership positions on the UUA’s Nominating Committee and the Family Matters Task Force, the Youth Advisor Task Force, and on the board of Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries. As Vice President for the past two years, James has been a member of the finance committee and coordinated the activities of the governance workgroup. James has lived in Burbank for over 20 years with his spouse Terri and children Mia and
Ethan who grew up at both Neighborhood Church and in the Catholic Church. He is a social worker and currently serves the communities of the Antelope Valley. James regularly collaborates with religious professionals across a range of faith practices on the intersection between spirituality and mental health.

Kim (she/hers) has been a member of Neighborhood for 23 years. She has been grateful to serve our faith community in a number of different capacities: facilitating membership classes and newcomer orientations, K-1 spiritual exploration teacher, senior minister search committee, annual pledge drive canvass chair, and previous board of trustee’s position.  Additionally, Kim served on the staff team as the Director of Membership and Communications for ten years under two previous senior ministers and represented Neighborhood on professional committees through the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Pacific Western Region. Professionally, Kim is a collaborative leader working to NUUC ANNUAL REPORT 2022 – 2023 27 ensure equitable access to social services, advancing social justice reforms, and advocating on behalf of marginalized communities. Kim lives in Altadena with her wife Kelly and 12-year-old daughter Elise. When not trying to keep up with the adventures of their three older adult kids, you’ll find Kim either on the pool deck or softball field supporting her sporty family. 

George (he/him) has been a member of Neighborhood Church since 2005. He has shown a consistent commitment to service since joining the church. George has been a member, and later Chair, of the Welcome Committee. He has served as a Chalice circle facilitator multiple times, and led the Sailors of Sadness depression support group for four years. George served as Board Secretary on the Neighborhood Church Board of Trustees in 2010-2012. More recently, he has been a member of the Pastoral Care Committee, and the 8th Principal Steering Committee. Professionally, George earned his Ph.D in Physical Chemistry at Harvard University, and worked as a research scientist and department director in the Space Sciences Laboratory at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo for 33 years until he retired in 2019. He is currently living in Monrovia, enjoying retirement, and (occasionally) teaching yoga.

Nadia Hillman has been an active member of Neighborhood Church for over 15 years, contributing her talents to various roles such as teaching, committee work, and leadership. Her commitment to the community extends to activities like Church Camp and the Preacher in You program, reflecting her spirit of service and exploration. While Nadia values the sacred space that the Neighborhood Church community provides, she also cherishes her private spiritual practice. 

Professionally, Nadia serves as Assistant Superintendent of Education Services in Duarte, shaping young minds and inspiring future leaders. Alongside her husband Tim, a location manager in the motion picture industry, Nadia shares a passion for music, performing in a Chicago cover band and hosting popular house concerts. These concerts have been popular Dining for Dollars offerings for several years. Nadia’s adult children, Max and Ben, live nearby and contribute to the family’s dynamic with their own career pursuits. Outside of her busy schedule, Nadia enjoys outdoor activities like running, hiking, skiing, and exploring new destinations. Nadia Hillman’s story is one of dedication, community, and curiosity—a testament to the transformative power of faith, family, and passion.

Catherine (she/hers) can’t remember coming to Neighborhood for the first time (she was three). She has happily served in many capacities over the years, from YRUU board rep., to co-chair of “Dining for Dollars” in 2021. She and her husband, Ryan, were married at Neighborhood in 2009 and have two kids, Jane (10) and Thomas (7). They moved to Pasadena in 2019 after many years living in the Bay Area and elsewhere. They are thrilled to be back home, and Catherine is honored to be nominated for this role.

Beth Powers (she/hers) has been an enthusiastic Neighborhood Church member for over 10 years and enjoys doing a variety of activities with the congregation. Over the years she has been a member of the choir, active with the Chalice Circles, CUUPs pagan events, camp retreats, among others. She loves to walk the labyrinth in the courtyard and relax in the meditation garden and attends services both online and in person. She’s been most focused on the Chalice Circles where she started out first as a member, then as a facilitator, and later as a member of the oversight committee. Professionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked in various capacities both as a mental health clinician, a supervisor for minority-focused community agencies, and now as a contract manager with Los Angeles County. She and her cats split their time between her bungalow in Pasadena and with her partner and his teenage son in Altadena, and enjoys comedy shows, travel, and finding new bakeries.

Margaret Wilcox (she/her) joined Neighborhood Church in 2021 after moving from her Northern California home and the UU congregation there. During her 14 years with that congregation, among other activities, she served on the Board in several roles. Since joining Neighborhood, she has been on the governance team, the Ministerial Search Committee, and chaired the recent Installation Celebration Team. Her career was as a psychologist, University lecturer and administrator.  She is delighted to have discovered Neighborhood and its welcoming spiritual community.  In her free time, she’s likely to be happily hiking in the mountains surrounding her home in Redlands or riding her Icelandic horse.

I have been attending Neighborhood since I was 1 year old (1993) and a member since taking ROP (2006). I love that I got to grow up in this community that has become my second home and that raised me into the person I am today. I applied to serve on the Board because it would provide me with a more meaningful way to participate in the community that has given me so much. I believe serving on the Board will provide me the opportunity to make more of an impact in an institution that I believe is a safe space and instigator of positive change in this world. A fun fact about me: I actually really like my job. I enforce environmental regulations focused on air pollution at ports and rail yards. I get to inspect equipment in the field and have assessed millions of dollars in penalties.

Benjamin (Ben) (he/him) has been attending Neighborhood since 2021. Ben co-founded and co-facilitates the Young Adult Group. Starting with just four attendees in early 2022, it now has over 30 regular participants at events from potlucks to spiritual discussion groups. A lifelong UU, he fondly remembers his coming of age while attending First Church in his hometown of Boston with his mother, younger brother, and late grandparents. A spiritual humanist, Ben treasures the words Unitarian and
Universalist – united in love, universal in spirit. Beyond church, he is a writer & film director living in Los Feliz. His films explore themes of mental health, queer sexuality, and emotional vulnerability. Ben earned his
MFA in directing from the AFI Conservatory in 2021. He also owns and operates a professional content writing business for colleges and universities.