Sample of All FAQs (Helpie FAQ)

Helpie FAQ

  • Why are you always asking for money?

    It may seem like we are always asking for money. The reality is that each UU congregation is autonomous, financially, and we, the members, are responsible for providing the resources needed to support our Fellowship.  Members are strongly encouraged to make an annual contribution to our operating expenses through their pledge. The capital campaign has taken a long time, but it only happens rarely. Other asks, like Generosity Sundays, are opportunities for members to experience the satisfaction of supporting worthwhile organizations, but giving is entirely optional.


    The “you” who is asking for money is really “us.” Volunteer members of the congregation comprise the Finance Committee, the Board, the Stewardship Team, and the Capital Campaign Team, among all the other groups and committees at UUFSD. We are asking ourselves to support and maintain our spiritual home. If we want to attract and retain good ministers and staff, we need to be able to offer fair compensation and safe working conditions. If we want to attract members, we need quality services and programs and a comfortable, safe, accessible campus. This can only happen if we have the requisite funds.

  • Can we borrow from the UUA?

    The UUA does have a loan program. If the Board and congregation want to take on debt, we would have to pay our full “Fair Share”  of UUA dues to become an “honor congregation” and make sure we had the income stream to make payments on the debt. We would be expected to be an “honor congregation” throughout the term of our loan.  We would prefer to raise the money from donations and not have a mortgage if possible. 

  • Have we tried to get outside funding to help?

    Yes, and we have succeeded. We received $350,000 from the Spirit Level Foundation, a local UU organization, in our original capital campaign, and another $50,000 for the Phase 2 safety improvements. We are always looking for other potential sources of finding, and if anyone has suggestions, let us know.


  • What has been accomplished in the last 10 years to improve the campus?

    Much has been done to make our campus safer and more structurally sound for the future. Our dirt parking lot is now permeable pavement; all four RE classrooms have been upgraded to meet code and made safer; the Core Building has been remodeled and the kitchen redone; the existing bathrooms have been upgraded;  an operable partition wall has been installed in Founders’ Hall; ramp improvements were made in the upper parking lot; new concrete entry stairs were installed; and many campus security improvements thru a Cal OES grant from FEMA (wireless motion cameras, solar powered kiosk, electronic door entry devices).


  • Why do we need a capital campaign and how does it relate to the Annual pledge drive?

    The annual pledge drive provides the money needed to operate our Fellowship – salaries, utilities, supplies. etc. Think of it as money you’d spend each month from your income or checking account. The Board creates a budget for the coming year based on pledges, or commitments, from members, and then spends the funds as the pledges are paid. This is an annual cycle.

    The capital campaign is for big, one-time expenses. Others before us gave time and money and labor to build the facilities we have. We have an obligation to care for and improve what we were given for those who come after us. Think of this as coming out of your savings account or your reserves – like if your house needed a new roof or buying a new car. You might make payments over time, but it’s not an expenditure you make every year. We have already taken care of long-overdue maintenance and upgrades on the existing parking lot, classrooms, administration building, kitchen, main stairway, bridges, and Founders Hall. The amphitheater is the final phase of this once-in-a-generation capital program.


    We expect to be inviting members to make a financial contribution at the start of the campaign to enable us to proceed with the safety and accessibility infrastructure work in Phase 2, and then a multi-year commitment to fund the amphitheater improvement work, which won’t start until Phase 2 is at least underway.


    At this point in the life of our Fellowship, it is clear that we need both – annual pledge payments to fund our ongoing operations, staff, and programs, and a final push for capital funds to complete the work of making our campus safe, accessible, and comfortable for us and for future generations.

  • How much money do we need, and when do we need it?


  • What is the timeline for completing each phase?


  • What happens if we don’t do Phase 3?

    Phase 3 includes all the amphitheater improvements, including accessible ramps and handrails to get to the lower part of the amphitheater, a new kiosk with bathrooms and space for the A/V equipment and staff, and shade sails to protect from the sun. Some elements are required for ADA compliance and safety; others may be optional (ie, shade sails). If we don’t do Phase 3, the amphitheater will continue to deteriorate and be unsafe. Among other impacts, we will not be able to welcome anyone with mobility challenges; attendees will be limited to the existing bathrooms under the library (a problem for young and old); it will be harder to provide adequate A/V support; and we could miss out on potentially significant rental income. And finally, we will not be fulfilling our promises to the earlier donors who gave money with the understanding that the amphitheater improvements were the main goal of the first capital campaign.

  • What happens if we don’t do Phase 2?

    Phase 2 provides safety and accessibility infrastructure for the campus. Without it, we will never be able to make any improvements elsewhere on our site, including the amphitheater, because we will be out of compliance with ADA and safety requirements. More importantly, our walkways will continue to deteriorate and become even more challenging for anyone traversing the campus (like people with strollers or walkers, staff with equipment carts, etc.). And even more important than that, emergency vehicles will not be able to easily access the west end of the campus (ie, the amphitheater) in case of an emergency because they can’t turn around in our parking lot.


  • What impacts will there be on parking and access during construction?

    The contractors will be required to develop a plan to work on the parking lot in stages to ensure that access is preserved to the areas that aren’t under construction. Details will become available once a contractor is in place.


  • How will safety and accessibility be improved in Phase 2?

    An emergency vehicle cannot turn around in our current parking lot. The only option is for the vehicle to literally back up. Because of this, the county Fire Marshal has declared that our property does not have adequate fire access, and therefore mandates that we install an emergency vehicle turnaround.  Having this turnaround not only improves our safety to control future fire situations, but also improves response times to transport a critically injured person to a nearby hospital. 


    Both walkways from Founders’ Hall to the greeters table and from the parking lot to the lower ramp will be ADA compliant and completely redone with concrete and handrails. The lower and upper bridges will also have new handrails.


  • What aspects of Phases 2 and 3 are mandatory and which are optional?

    In Phase 2, all the components are required except for the electrical/plumbing infrastructure for the future amphitheater improvements and the new access stairs to the LePort parking lot.  Per mandate of the county Fire Marshall, we are specifically required to complete the emergency vehicle turnaround before any other improvements can be done. We have an official, reciprocal  agreement with the LePort school to share our parking lots, and the current access stairs will not be accessible with the emergency vehicle turnaround installation. 


    In Phase 3, all the components are required except the shade sails and the new AV kiosk and storage rooms.  


  • Describe the project(s) that you’re trying to fund.

    Phase 2 components include an emergency vehicle turnaround, 19 additional parking spaces, 3 additional ADA parking spaces, concrete block trash enclosure, ADA compliance for paths of travel from the parking lot to the amphitheater and from Founders Hall to the amphitheater, new access stairs from our parking lot to the LePort (Montessori) parking lot, electrical/plumbing infrastructure for the amphitheater improvements, and some landscaping. 


    Phase 3 components include new ADA compliant concrete stairs with handrails on both sides of the amphitheater seating; new ADA compliant ramp to the first row of benches and to the platform on the west side; new concrete in the path behind the benches and the tripping hazard step removed; a new 500 ft2 building in the back to house two restrooms, AV kiosk, and storage; new concrete ADA compliant egress stairs from the west end of the amphitheater to the parking lot; shade sails, a drinking fountain, and some landscaping. 


    Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 require specific permits from the CA Coastal Commission and the city of Solana Beach. Our application to the CA Coastal Commission for a Coastal Development Permit was submitted in February 2024 and will cover all the planned improvements for Phase 2 and Phase 3.  The application to the city of Solana Beach was also submitted in February 2024, but only for the building and grading permits for  improvements planned for Phase 2.  Because our architect, Doug Paterson, has been in constant communication with both of these governmental agencies throughout preparing the applications, we expect the permitting process to go smoothly and to have the permits we need to begin Phase 2 construction issued by mid summer 2024.

  • What is the status of Phase 1 (Admin building overhaul)?

    The permit for the repair and remodel of the Administration Building was issued in November 2023 and work started immediately. Target date for completion is June 2024. A contract for $281K was awarded to Chris Kolb for this project and will include a 193ft2 expansion for a new conference room; enclosed office for our DREF/Music Director; installation of a restroom and HVAC system; new walls, roofing, windows, and floor; stucco to match the rest of the buildings; and brush management improvements around the area.   This Phase is completely funded with the money available in our capital campaign fund.


  • What are the phases of the capital improvement program?

    Phase 1 is the repair and remodel of the Administration Building ( in progress).  Phase 2 is the parking lot expansion, emergency vehicle turnaround, paths of travel to the amphitheater, and electrical and plumbing infrastructure for the amphitheater improvements. Phase 3 is the amphitheater improvements and combines the previous Phases 3 & 4.

  • What will happen to the Eighth Principle? 

    Quote from UUA EVP Carey McDonald:

    “The UUA is very committed, as a whole, to what’s in the Eighth Principle—understanding our commitment to dismantling oppression and white supremacy—as part of what it means to live out our faith. That’s not optional or secondary but is actually central to our understanding of how to honor every person’s worth, our interconnection, and our pursuit of justice in our world and in our faith communities. That is a core part of what makes us UU.

    Because the proposal really zooms out and rethinks the entire structure of Article II, it doesn’t add the Eighth Principle as it’s been drafted, but I see it woven into all the elements of the proposal.”

  • What is the Article II Study Commission

    The UUA is required to create an Article II Study Commission when any changes to Article II are considered (unless there is overwhelming support for the specific change). There were a number of changes proposed over the years, and there was a large grassroots movement towards including the Eighth Principle. Instead of considering such changes one-by-one, the UUA Board created the Article II Study Commission in 2020.


  • What is the Article II Study Commission?

    The UUA is required to create an Article II Study Commission when any changes to Article II are considered (unless there is overwhelming support for the specific change). There were a number of changes proposed over the years, and there was a large grassroots movement towards including the Eighth Principle. Instead of considering such changes one-by-one, the UUA Board created the Article II Study Commission in 2020.

  • Are the Values a "litmus test" for someone to become a UU member?

    Everyone is welcome at a UU church.  There is no litmus test to become affiliated with one of our congregations.  However, as with any relationship, our experience has been that the more your values align with ours, the better the fit between you and UUism.  If you have a strong opposition to one of our values, you may begin to feel it is a burden over time.

    Quote from the Article II Study Commission:

    “Article II is the purpose of the Association and commitments of its member congregations to each other. It should inform our congregational and associational life, but is not written to be a personal code or set of commitments.

    The Freedom of Belief clause expressly prohibits any creedal test of membership in our congregations. While these are our shared values, no one must swear or attest to them to become a member.”

  • What is the purpose of the Covenant to each Value?

    A covenant is not a promise, but is a “bond” or an “agreement” between two or more parties.  The individual congregations are the parties to the covenants in the UUA bylaws; these covenants are described as “congregation to congregation” in the Values and Covenants preamble.  Covenants within a particular congregation and amongst individual members are also allowed, within limits, as explained in the section on Freedom of Belief.

    Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal religion, meaning that covenants take the place of dogma or creed. Our UU covenants place a high value on relationships, shared values, and community commitments. The covenantal approach encourages us to explore our beliefs while fostering a sense of belonging and shared responsibility within our community.  The covenants do not specify when and how we exercise any particular action; such action is a function of our individual conscience.

    Quote from the Article II Study Commission:

    ”Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal, not a creedal, Faith. There is no belief requirement, or creed, that you have to say to join us in community, even though there are beliefs that we would consider to be outside the boundaries of our faith. Our covenants amongst congregations and within congregations, are the way in which we practice our religion together, and they are aspirational descriptions of how we want to be in the world.”

  • Why make the change from Principles to Values?

    Quote from UUA Executive Vice President Carey McDonald:

    “My view of the proposal from the Article II Study Commission is that it’s a deepening and expanding of the language of the Seven Principles to include commitments and actions. It’s being clear about the values that are at our foundation and what they call us to do as people of faith. I think it does a very good job of articulating what it means to be a UU today.

    Regardless of the outcome of the vote, individual congregations and UU communities can hold and value the Seven Principles as a meaningful part of our religious tradition, just as some have adopted the Eighth Principle on their own.”

    Quote from the Article II Study Commission:

    “The Commission spent a long time studying and analyzing the current version of Article II. What became clear was that we don’t explicitly name the values that we share, and that our covenant does not have enough verbs.

    Shared values are what hold any organization together, and we often speak of our shared values without naming them. We asked Unitarian Universalists what were the values we shared. We took the many answers we received and synthesized them into the values in our draft. After our first draft was released we changed one of the named values from Evolution to Transformation.

    We created a covenant related to each of our named values, as well as a very brief description of the values. The covenant has many verbs and is stated in broad enough language so as to allow congregations to find their way to live into our shared values.”

  • Why is Love at the center?

    Quote from the Article II Study Commission:

    “We mean the type of love known as Agape. It is the selfless love of the neighbor, the friend and even the enemy. It asks for nothing in return. More than a noun, love is a verb. It is creating justice. It is transforming our world. It is being generous of our spirit and resources. It is knowing we are all interdependent. It is upholding everyone’s dignity and worthiness. It is celebrating our many differences. It is deeds not creeds.”

    As described above, Love works well with ALL the other values. Or said a different way, all the other values require Love to operate.

    And remember the first line of our Covenant said at every service, “May love be the spirit of this congregation”. and the emblem on our T-shirts, which is “Siding With Love”.

  • Why are the Sources being changed?

    The Article II Study Commission members felt that the current list of sources is a list which is always incomplete. The members want to describe how and why something is a source of inspiration, rather than just enumerating them.  People have different opinions about that, knowing that some people want to have their identity or beliefs explicitly reflected.

  • Why is Article II being revised?

    The UUA bylaws mandate a regular revision process of Article II every fifteen years. Article II has the language that is at the heart of our faith for many of us as UUs. It has the Principles and the Sources, and our purpose as an organization. The language in Article II lives in the UUA bylaws and has been revised a number of times over the course of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s history. We are a living tradition, which means regularly reviewing and asking ourselves: Does the Article II core language reflect who we are now and who we want to be?

    Quote from About Article II: The Principles and Purposes of the UUA:

    “We are now well into the first quarter of the 21st Century. Our Association has grown in its understanding of systemic oppressions, such as racism, ableism, and heteronormative beliefs. However, many people feel the language of Article II does not reflect these learnings. The Board believes we need an Article II which leads us into the future.”