At the 2017 Eliot Chapel Annual Meeting, the Board of Trustees' recommendation
to sell part of Bergfried was approved by an overwhelming vote of 150-6.

The Board appreciates the support and participation of the congregation
throughout the past year and at this very important meeting.


Update from the Board of Trustees

April 22, 2017

Dear Eliot Members and Friends,

The Eliot Chapel Board of Trustees, after holding three meetings with and listening to input from the congregation, has decided to change its recommendation concerning the sale of the Bergfried property.  

The new recommendation is to sell only the part of the property that lies east of Cole's Creek Road - about 70 acres (see maps below for the original recommendation and revised recommendation).  




This change is offered as a further compromise in good faith to recognize the many members who came to the April meetings to voice their feelings about Bergfried. The proceeds from this sale would be added to the Bergfried corpus to fund the costs of maintaining the property and supporting programs on this property for about 20 years. 

To make the decision to sell church property we will need a quorum of 20% of our members - about 104 people - at the Annual Meeting.  Please come to the meeting on Sunday, May 21 at 12:30 pm and be part of this important decision. Childcare will be provided.

Reminder: you must be a current Eliot member to vote. The member list will be posted on the church bulletin board by Sunday, May 7 so you can check your status if you are unsure.

Please watch Eliot communications for updated documents related to this recommendation and the Annual Meeting. We understand you may have more or new questions in light of this change. An updated Q&A document will be available on the Eliot website soon. Thank you for your continued input and engagement on this important topic as we move forward together.


Yours in Service,

The Eliot Chapel Board


March 27, 2017

eliotlogoPNGformatDear Members of Eliot Chapel,

The Board of Trustees has considered Rev. Gadon’s proposal for Eliot’s Bergfried property and has completed their own recommendation.

Please find the entire Board recommendation (revised 04-06-17), the decision criteria used, a list of questions and answers (revised 04-07-17) about the proposal, and the next steps in the process.  We feel this proposal is a good compromise between the individuals that wanted to keep the property and those that wanted to sell the property. For the detailed rationale, please see the entire recommendation.  

We encourage you to come to the Question, Answer and Comments sessions on April 2 and 9 to engage with others about this recommendation.  And please, come to the Annual Meeting on May 21 to vote on the recommendation.  

 Yours in Service,

 Cindy Lau
for the Eliot Chapel Board of Trustees

VoicesHeardDocimageBergfried Process Team Report
March 1, 2017
I am delighted to report that 174 of you showed up to converse with your peers about the alignment of the Bergfried property with the Chapel’s Mission and Ends. Your attendance indicates a robust interest in the topic and willingness to give 90-plus minutes of your time to participate. Rev. Barbara attended all seven sessions and overheard many perspectives in small groups of 3-5.  The next step is for her to factor what she heard into a recommendation to the Board, which members will vote on at the Congregational Meeting in May.

Some attendees found this exercise difficult, especially in using “most effective to achieve the Chapel’s Mission/Ends” as the criterion for selecting an option. This difficulty is indicated by the number of option grids submitted that marked more than one choice. Overall, roughly equal numbers of attendees selected Donate or Sell among their choices vs. those who did not. 

In addition to witnessing various perspectives during the sessions, also informative for Rev. Barbara and the Board are comments collected through the option grids submitted. These comments capture your opinions on a number of questions: What aspects of Eliot’s Mission/Ends does Bergfried align to? How effective is Bergfried in achieving these Mission/Ends? How can we make Bergfried naturally and financially sustainable? And other comments.

Some very thoughtful, and often conflicted, comments were made that wrestled with the key question posed by the sessions: Which option will allow Eliot Chapel to most effectively meet our Mission/Ends and why? A document containing comments has been uploaded here for your perusal. 

Since this article is being published after process leadership has been transitioned to the Board, comments and questions about this material should be directed to Cindy Lau, Board Chair, or Rev. Barbara. As the Bergfried Process Team’s service is now ended, please join me in thanking the members of the team who put in many hours planning and facilitating the process: Cindy Duhigg, Gary Gray, Suzanne LeLaurin, and Trina Priese (also Board liaison).  Special thanks to our consultant, Rev. Roger Bertschausen.

~Ted Lau for the Bergfried Process Team


Bergfried Process, Phase 2
Cindy Lau, Board Chair
March 1, 2017

We are beginning the second phase of the Bergfried decision-making process.  For those who are just tuning in, we are deciding to keep or sell all or part of the Bergfried property. 

One hundred seventy-four  individuals took time out of their complicated lives to attend the crucial conversations part of the process—thank you all. (See  the “Voices Heard” document for comments about why individuals wanted to sell or keep the property.)  

There are many diverse opinions on what to do. We need to balance between supporting and growing the Kirkwood campus and supporting and growing the Bergfried campus. There is a limited amount of resources –people’s time, energy, and money – to divide between the two campuses. The Board must think of our future and what we are trying to be.  We on the Board are really listening to what you said and will hold those opinions in the Bergfried process with those that we heard in the Mission/Vision process.

So these are the next steps. The Board will hear Rev. Barbara’s recommendation on what action to take regarding the Bergfried property which is directly influenced by the first part of the process.  We will then decide if we support her recommendation or we will work with her to alter it.  I expect us to be able to announce the Board’s proposal by the end of March.   I hope that as we consider the final proposal we all keep in mind that we are stronger together.  It is our relationship to each other that is important – not a particular decision. I expect us to be kinder than we need to be. So far everyone has been respectful, listening, and caring.  Please continue this.  Writing this article, I do not yet know what the Board will recommend. Regardless of what the recommendation is, it will probably be difficult for some. 

After the Board decides its recommendation, we will announce it to the congregation by the end of March.  There are two sessions planned in which we will dialog with each other about the recommendation on April 2 and April 9 after the second service –the details will be given later. The final decision will be made by all of you. At the annual meeting on May 21, we will vote as a congregation to support or not support the Board’s proposal.

At this time, all concerns should be communicated to me.  Thank you all.



BergfriedNameImageBergfried Decision Process
During this church year, Eliot Chapel will engage in an important process to determine the long-term future of the congregation's Bergfried property.  A Bergfried Task Force considered this question in 2012, but since that was a time of some turmoil, the leadership of the church agreed to postpone a decision about Bergfried for five years. 

Five years later, we believe this is an opportune moment to have a discussion and make a decision about Bergfried's long-term future. Positive indicators are:

  •  the congregation is healthy and strong

  • our values, mission and ends (goals) were refreshed last year through a process involving the congregation

  • our governance approach (“Policy Governance”) has matured, leading us to understand that all major programs (such as Bergfried) must be evaluated for alignment with the Ends

A Bergfried Process Team is in place, directed by Rev. Barbara. In consultation with the Board of Trustees and after reviewing it with the Bergfried Development /Stewardship Teams, we are announcing the timeline for a congregation-wide process for deciding the long-term future of Bergfried.  This process will include a series of conversations in January 2017 to which all will be invited and, ultimately, leading to a vote by the congregation at our Annual Meeting in May.  

We hope everyone in Eliot Chapel will engage in this process.  We are confident that together we will make the best decision possible. We invite your questions.

Bergfried Process Team: Cindy Duhigg, Gary Gray, Ted Lau, Suzanne LeLaurin, Trina Priese