Capturing Institutional Wisdom

by Dianne Ross, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees

Typically UUCWC’s Board of Trustees has two retreats a year, one in late summer and one in winter, to dive deeper into strategic topics. The Board continues to work on transparency, engagement, and clarifying policy-based governance in terms of its relationship to UUCWC’s committees and ministries. One of the Board’s goals this year is to update our policies and procedures as a follow-up to the bylaws revision of last year.

The Board decided to open the morning session of its winter retreat, held on January 4, to UUCWC’s Council. The Council consists of people who are currently formal and informal leaders in the congregation. The focus of the meeting was to have a presentation by the Capital Campaign team and to capture the institutional wisdom of the various policies and procedures.

John Ueng-Mchale, Board Secretary, gave an overview of our current policies and procedures. The 45 attendees formed small groups and reviewed and discussed the existing policies and procedures in the following areas (membership, disruptive behavior policy, personnel, governance and the relationship between minister and the Board, communication, and finance) to determine possible changes needed in content by answering the following questions:

  • Does the policy or procedure continue to work as written?
  • Is there something missing or need to be created?
  • Does it align with the new bylaws?
  • How does it meet our mission and values?
  • Are there ways that certain policies can be condensed or simplified?
  • Which committee or entity is responsible for finalizing the policy or procedure and reporting back to the Board?

There was lively discussion with thoughtful input that will be used to create and update policies and procedures. What was lovely about the discussion is that input was gathered both from people who had and hadn’t served on these various committees and ministries (a committee is a group that reports to the Board and a ministry is a group that reports to the minister). One of the major takeaways was the importance of creating a policy manual that is separate from procedures.

The January 4th meeting was well attended by both Board and Council members. Thank you to those who were able to attend. The next Council meeting is Wednesday, February 26, at 7pm. All are invited to attend.

The Board of Trustees can be contacted at