By Michael Howe-Smith, Trustee, UUCWC Board of Trustees
As I newbie I can’t speak for other board members, new or old. This is a personal account of my join-up and immersion in the work of the board.
It all began with an e-mail message, asking me if I was willing to accept a nomination to serve on our church board. I thought long and hard about how my skill set might fit with the needs of the board. I looked at our web site and reminded myself of our mission. I downloaded and read our bylaws and I looked up TRUSTEE in my dictionary. There, wedged between pictures explaining the difference between a trumpet and a tuba I found that a trustee is “Each of a body of people, often elective, managing the affairs of an institution such as, for example, a college.” I consulted with a friend whom I trust to give me honest and candid feedback and he encouraged me to accept. So here I am, one of the new kids on the block and, for the first time, reporting back to you, our congregants.
The retiring board eased our entry by inviting members-elect to attend their last meeting and start learning the ropes. Similarly, retiring members Zoomed in to our first meeting for a last chance to offer guidance and share their wisdom. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the UUA offers training for people entering leadership roles in our churches. Already I have attended one online seminar and signed up for the next one, Leading Change in Changing Times. Another surprise came when I found we have a procedure for removing from office any Trustee who proves remiss or abusive in execution of the role. It’s carefully written, looks fair to me and protective of the interests of our congregation.
At each meeting Nathalie Edmond, our president, leads us through the agenda. One member is assigned as a timekeeper, another to monitor process, while a third supports Colleen, our board secretary, by acting as scribe. Contact with the committees which are responsible for specialized responsibilities is maintained by receiving progress reports and by having assigned board members serve as liaisons with each committee. For me, this system means I scribe for Colleen and liaise with the Finance Committee and Capital Campaign/Project. Zooming with these committees has impressed upon me how fortunate we are to have the services of their members. Competence, enthusiasm, integrity, and selflessness drives their work and supports our church.
Finally, remember. As a Trustee, I represent you. With COVID-19 abroad we don’t have face to face meetings and you can’t grab me by the lapels at coffee hour. You can, however, use email or phone to reach me, I’m in the church directory. If you choose to phone please leave a message. My phone does not ring unless it recognizes the incoming number. You can also reach the board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. I said “Finally” but allow me to address a personal problem: namely Facebook! I closed my Facebook account and won’t go back. Consequently I am unable to participate in church activities, such as Lectio Divina, that require Facebook membership. For White Fragility I found a work around but Lectio Divina is defeating me.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you and all the members of our congregation.