In early October the Board of Trustees met to determine our churchwide goals for the 2019-2020 church year. Informed by Paula Cole Jones’ and David Pyle’s presentation at General Assembly in June 2019, we decided to frame them using the 7 Practices of Board Leadership. These practices are predicated on centering the Beloved Community and viewing the trustees as Spiritual Leaders rather than serving as church managers. I presented these goals at the October Council Meeting (the Leadership Council of all committee and ministry leaders meets at least twice yearly). The Board revised them at our November meeting and voted to accept this version of UUCWC’s Board Goals 2019 – 2020. They are wordy, a bit messy, a little repetitive and don’t have parallel structure. And yet, they are beautiful and we hope they look this way year after year. Here’s why…
The frame of the 7 Practices will stay the same. The board, being strategic, needs to serve our mission and vision in Practice One and every Board Practice and subsequent goal and monthly discussion should flow from that. All of us are here, in short, to Create Community, Celebrate Life and Change the World. We do that in a multitude of different ways in a variety of different spaces. Every year we will determine how to best focus our energies to do this – and it will probably be wordy, messy, repetitive, non-parallel and beautiful.
I’d like to lift up the 7th Practice: Transforming the Congregational Culture. This means that, as a board, as Spiritual Leaders of our faith and serving our mission, we are committed to moving our congregation forward, always evolving – not permitting stagnancy or calcification. There is no end goal, no sense of “we’ve arrived,” no measure of success or badge of achievement. Just the joyful and challenging journey of creating the Beloved Community.
This year, the UUCWC Board of Trustees will center the 8th principle to implement fully inclusive practices for all current and potential congregants by focusing on HOW we do things together:
- Shared spiritual leadership
- Informed, collaborative decision-making
- Intersectionality (e.g. Councils of common ends)
One way that we see part three of this goal already at work in our church is through the creation and creative use of different Councils within the church to take advantage of our intersectionality. By working in cohorts of representatives from groups whose share common end goals, dedicated volunteers can pool resources of time, people, knowledge, marketing and money, rather than competing for them. By intentionally listening for and naming where their interests intersect groups can be more efficient and effective while they deepen their work and build relationships. We are all spiritual leaders serving our mission and vision – creating councils helps us be better ones.
I referenced the Leadership Council in the article already, where we have a history of sharing our successes and challenges and are now working on leadership development, as well.
- The Facilities Team is a council which includes representatives from Grounds, Building, Sound, Rental/Kitchen Operations, Safety, and Earth Ministry and is convened by the Congregational Administrator (Susan Irgang). These individuals work to maintain and improve the effectiveness, soundness and safety of our physical surroundings.
- Rev. Kim has helped re-organize the Council for Faith in Action to hold the Faith Action Ministry, Racial Justice Ministry, Social Action Ministry, and the newly named/restructured Faith Expression and Funding Team. The groups under this umbrella are actively engaged in the social justice work of the church.
- Rev. Sue has initiated the early stages of a Congregational Life Council in which representatives from Ushers & Greeters, Faith Forward, and Ask Me Table will work alongside other Congregational Life ministries like Community Building, Nominating, Growth Through Service, and Adult Religious Education. They are figuring out how to best support and engage everyone from visitor to seasoned member on their religious journey here at UUCWC.
- The Finance Committee functions like a Council, where members from various groups who hold fiscal responsibility in the church meet once a month to maintain a broad financial picture of the entire church and build an understanding of how their group fits into that. It allows for responsible coordination of monetary requests, fundraising and budgeting churchwide. Last spring, teachers in Religious Education functioned as a council to communicate important updates and coordinate lessons while Robin was on sabbatical. Their engagement deepened and the work was even more fulfilling.
If you are a member of one of these groups you may have already observed the benefits of collaborating with people on other committees or ministries. If you are in a group that isn’t yet part of a Council, where do you see yourself? What groups have similar goals that intersect with yours? Who could you learn from and who could benefit from your expertise? If you are part of a Council already, who do you feel is missing that could make your work richer? While it can be challenging and put us out of our comfort zones as we learn to intentionally collaborate in this way, we can look to our covenant to support us as we call each other into conversation. We are always better together as we work toward Creating Community, Celebrating Life and Changing the World.
Vice-President, Board of Trustees