|Hello First UUers,
Allie Bonsteel here. I’m back for my monthly Tuesday Talk as Board Chair.
In late July, several members of the Board gathered at Carolee’s house for dinner and conversation to wrap up last year and welcome new Board members. Over grilled hamburgers (or veggie burgers), salads, dips, pickle chips and lemonade, we shared stories about the past, talked about what’s going on in our lives now and, of course, the conversation turned to the Board’s plans for the coming year and beyond.
This past Saturday morning, we had the fall Board retreat. We met for a little over 3 hours in Room 8. We started with a quick check-in where I shared how well my oldest, Pierce, did during his first week of Kindergarten and others shared what they had done over the summer. We then moved into an activity lead by Lisa Brandt where we shared one value we were bringing with us to the retreat. I shared that I was bringing patience. I chose patience because I need to remind myself that not everyone is in the same place I am. Among other things, it takes patience to bring others along with you in a conversation. Others brought experience, clarity, integrity and wonder–just to name a few.
We then discussed a bit of scheduling and general Board business. We then reviewed the Board covenant with a bit of discussion. You can review it here on pages 6 & 7 of Governance Policy.
Now moving to the meat of things, we discussed a video that all attendees were asked to watch in preparation for the retreat. You can find it here. This helped us focus on the task at hand–setting appropriate goals for the coming year.
We spent quite a bit of time discussing this model and how the Board and staff can have a healthy partnership. In the end, the Board decided on 4 goals for the coming year:
1. Host conversations.
**The first Board town hall will be 9/29 during the NEW! middle hour. This month’s topic will be: How can we, as a congregation, better create community through nurturing?**
2. Make necessary updates to policy to create a solid framework to make decisions.
3. Strengthen the relationship with the congregation.
4. Support the Vision of Ministry.
The framework of the Vision of Ministry was decided on and the details are being worked out over the next month. In short, the Vision of Ministry will focus on 3 things:
1. RE-imagine, RE-engage, RE-commit to our religious exploration programs.
2. Engage the congregation in new and different ways.
3. Change the conversation around generosity.
We spent the remaining time talking about things at are working well at our Church and things that aren’t working so well. Who are we? In what ways are we living out our Mission? What is our Church culture and what does it say about us? Can the congregation trust Church leadership to hold others and ourselves accountable? How can we be more transparent? This conversation will continue throughout the coming year. I hope you’ll join us.
A few other things you need to know about…
We ended the last fiscal year much better than expected. Not only did we end the fiscal year with a surplus of nearly $27k, we also wiped out our ongoing deficit that was continuing cause of heartburn for those that keep a close eye on our books. Thank you very much for getting your pledges in! Yes, there are challenges ahead, but this puts us in an excellent position for the coming year!!
As many of you know, Tony Rice passed away this summer. He was slated to serve as Moderator for the next two years. Heather Pierson was also elected this past June to serve on the Board of Trustees. Heather has tendered her resignation to me due to ongoing health concerns. Please keep her in your thoughts. The Board is working with nominating committee to fill these open positions. Both will be filled for the coming year via Board vote per our Constitution.
The Board’s first business official meeting of the year will be held on 9/25. Board meetings are open to all. Minutes of our meetings can be found here. As always, I want to remind you that most Board members are available at church on Sundays and at our e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many exciting things happening at First UU this fall. Remember that this is a community we make, not one that is made for us.