Hello to all of you, my valued friends, and fellow UUCW members.

It is my privilege to have been elected your President for the 2023/2024 church year.  I am excited to start the year and eager to explore new possibilities for our wonderful community. Let me tell you a little bit more about myself and my goals.

I know many of you, but for those who I don’t know, I’ll introduce myself.  I’m Jeannie Baker, and my husband Phil Kroner and I have been members of UUCW for about 16 years.  Like many of you, we were attracted to UUCW because of the intriguing intellectual nature of the services and the chance to be part of a community of people we respected.  Our kids were just turning the age to be part of OWL, so that was also a big part of our decision to join.  I am a recently retired lawyer and love movies, books, conversations and, most of all, fiber arts. Yes – I am an enthusiastic member of the Twisted Stitchers!  I also have a very odd hobby: I am learning Chinese. In fact, I’m typing this letter in the Chicago airport waiting for a flight to China, where I’m about to take an immersive Chinese language class. Luckily, I do love Chinese food! (Everyone always asks me this. I’d be in a bad situation if I didn’t!)

I’ve done many jobs around UUCW. I’ve taught RE, and been on Worship Ministry, and the Interim Search Committee. I am currently on the Stewardship Committee, so many of you have heard my overly loud voice on your phone message system during the Pledge Drive. I know I talk too fast and too loudly – it’s a defect that I’m working on!

Looking to next year, I do have some personal priorities. Of course, our search for a settled minister is an important job that must be at the top of the list. I’m also very interested in increasing membership and providing more opportunities for folks to get involved in church and community work. I want to understand and support the groups and work that are critical to our church’s success as a functioning entity, such as building and grounds work, stewardship, and financial structure. Several of you have made sure I understand the importance of social action and organizing what we can do for the community as a church, as opposed to our individual efforts.

Our beloved church has seen some changes in the last few years, as has the entire country on the back of the Covid epidemic. Many of you have told me that you think we’ve turned a corner and are headed in the right direction with more engagement and direction. Please know that I took this job because I want to hear from you and want to keep us steadily and joyfully moving toward our goals. We’ve had excellent leadership, and I’d be proud to be part of that lineage.

Love from me – Jeannie