Board Member of the Month- Sep. 2021 (Thida)

Meet Your Leaders! 

Did you know that our community is led by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees that meets monthly? Anyone is welcome to attend our meetings and learn how UUCPA is governed. In an effort to make the Board more accessible to the entire community, we will feature one Board member each month in our weekly update and on our website. 

This month, Thida Cornes, our Communications Portfolio holder, is featured. 

The best way to reach me is to email my personal email rather than use a group list like You can cc me if it’s a group email and you want me personally to respond. If you don’t get a response within 3 days, please text me. I’m in the Church Directory on Realm.

Question: What are three interesting facts about you? 

  1. I have a credit in the movie Starship Troopers.
  2. Jeeves III is my fourth service dog. Nakoma is now retiring and living as a pet.
  3. I completed the Stanford Online Certificate of Novel Writing and have completed the first draft of my first novel.

Q: Why did you join UUCPA?

I joined because we were looking for a place where our kids could go to Sunday School but they’re agnostics. A friend suggested we try UUCPA where she and her family were going. Initially I had to bribe my son to go with the fact there was hot chocolate after the service. Then once he went, he said he enjoyed Sunday School. My kids are now too old for Sunday school. In fact our eldest is now a rising 2nd year in college, but Castor and I still really find meaning in the service. I also co-led a session of Beloved Conversations with Rev Amy and became a worship associate.

Q: What made you join the Board?

I kept being asked and said no. Finally I said yes for three reasons. 1. I saw a real need for an all-gender restroom, which I didn’t actually end up being involved in  2. Because I saw a real need for a technology committee because technology is a key aspect of how people organize themselves, attract new members and receive recognition for their work. 3, I was getting tons of emails about church events not organized in any way and I thought there must be a better way. 

Q: What is your portfolio area?

Communications – This was a new portofolio when I joined the Board but now has two Committees.

Communications Committee which produces the Weekly Update, a weekly email of all the church events plus Amy’s blog  organized in an easy to read format. If you’re not subscribed, please go to or email

If you have announcements for the Weekly Update, please email by Friday at 5 pm for the next day’s weekly update email.

Communications will be doing a survey for what people are looking for in terms of a paper copy of information once in-person services are well-established.

Technology Committee is responsible for all technology not related to the service. They are responsible for all other technology infrastructure such as the network, phone, website, email, Google Drive, etc. It works closely with Communications and in fact one member serves on both committees because Communications produces the content while Technology ensures it’s automated and collated. It also works with Worship Tech to ensure the network is running smoothly for the service. Again several Technology members also serve on Worship Tech. If you need tech help, please email

Q:  What is something you would say to the congregation?

I thank my fellow Board members and those in my portfolio for their hard world and dedication. As I often say to others, you are among the most earnest and well-meaning people I know. Though we often have to grapple with difficult questions, I always feel that the Board leads with the fact that the budget is a statement of our values.

I thank the folks who were in the Beloved Conversations I co-led with Rev Amy several years ago. Although I feel I often failed to adequately convey intersectionality, particularly as it affects me personally, I felt that it did open up some conversations that led to growth and change in the participants. I think it was particularly illuminating for helping white people and people of color grapple with white supremacy in a meaningful way. 

I thank my fellow congregants for sharing your joys and concerns both publicly in the service and privately in the patio beforetimes. Thank you also for listening to my reflections and complimenting them. It’s enabled me to be more vulnerable in my reflections, which has never been easy for me. Being political always has. I also know some of you had never even heard of a service dog let alone met one, and I thank you for your consideration in keeping us working together as a team. If you can believe it, due to the working life of dogs, I joined UUCPA with service dog #2 and will go back to in-person services with service dog #4.

Last but certainly not least, I thank my women’s group for being there for me and each other for over six years through good times and bad. You’ve helped me become a much better listener, know for certain that I’m not the only one who has way too many big balls to juggle, take self-care a lot more seriously, and learn and grow. We’ve created a space where I hope you feel as I do where you can be yourself whether you’re having the best day or the worst day. 

Q: What’s one way you hope to see UUCPA fulfilling its mission in the coming years?

I’d like to see more diversity at UUCPA and for us to be more radically welcome. My daughter talks freely of her friends who have various gender identities and yet I hear little of this talk except at the pulpit. This leads me to believe we aren’t actually radically welcoming. This particularly troubles me when I personally know of at least two trans youth, one not of our church who died by suicide and one who could attend our church but doesn’t and has suidicial ideation. I also freely admit that despite being bisexual, I am part of the problem. I forget and misgender people and I forget to introduce myself with my pronouns. I know this is very important and yet I’m slow to learn. I know it’s part of my privilege of being a cis woman that I can forget.

While we have a respectable number of Asians in our congregation, other people of color aren’t well represented. Hispanics and African Americans, the two main groups in California are literally in the next towns over so it’s not a question of distance. I live in Mountain View in a neighborhood where I’m surrounded by low-income and Hispanic people. 

I honestly don’t know if it’s an actual lack of perceived socio-economic diversity or we just don’t talk about money except as pertains to the church budget. Not talking about money is the privilege of those who don’t have to worry about it. One challenge is UUCPA is in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. While we can’t change our location, I wonder what else we could do to be more radically welcoming to people of every income level.  As someone whose privilege I can count on is money, I know money can make up for a lot of other things, I can only wonder how we can make the congregation more comfortable for those who have far less. Again I’m sure I’m part of the problem since privilege brings with it a certain imperviousness. I wish I could explain to everyone that my Tesla isn’t a luxury item to me but assistive technology. Its self-driving (as nascent as it is) is the means by which I’ve returned to driving on the highway again. I’m also well-aware this entire thing is littered with words that wouldn’t be readily understandable to a non-native speaker or someone without my degree of education.

Q: When is the next Board meeting, and how can I attend? 

Answer: Our next meeting is Wednesday, September 22 at 7:00 pm. You can attend by emailing and asking for the Zoom link.