One of the most important ways your Board of Directors communicates with you is through conversation. Why? When we all get together, we tell you what we’ve done. You tell us what you want. Together we implement our decisions.
On November 1 your Board of Directors hosted the second of its two annual Congregational Conversations. The purpose of a “Conversation” (in contrast to a Congregational Meeting) is to inform, discuss and “take the pulse” of the congregation on important church issues.
One purpose of this Conversation was to inform and discuss the unifying project the Board identified for the 2015/2016 church year and to gather the congregation’s response. What is a “unifying project”? It is one the congregation as a whole can get behind, work together to achieve and make a meaningful difference in our community.
At its annual retreat, the Board chose the celebration of Earth Day (April 22-23, 2016). Most importantly we chose this project because it supports our seventh UU principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Our earth is at risk. We are challenged to be a part of the solution and not to accept the problem. The congregation gave their suggestions on how we carry out this theme in our community.
The second purpose of our time together was to set our Social Justice agenda for 2016/2017. Reverend Audette explained that our choices should be ones in which there is significant congregation buy-in since they will shape what we do in the next two years as well as how UUCC will be known in the community and region. These choices will require full participation of the congregation and, therefore, should reflect where the congregation’s passions lie. Because of their importance, we need to limit our choices to a very few.
The congregation responded by offering ideas for UUCC’s Agenda that ranged from homelessness to Medicaid Expansion. Each of those present then voted on his/her top two priorities. The most frequently chosen ideas were: Earth Day Celebration, Medicaid Expansion, LGBTQ Resource.
Now the real work begins. The Board of Directors will identify next steps for implementing the congregation’s choices. Please consider what role you will play in making these choices a reality over the next two years!
A word of explanation – the Social Justice Agenda does not mean that only activities that relate to these themes will occur. Those activities that have long been a tradition for UUCC will continue as long as there is interest. These includes Comea dinners, Family Promise, collections of food and clothing for the homeless and others that we value.
Speaking of Family Promise, we have new coordinators. Jim Gaulke announced that Andy and Kristi Ruben with the help of Bill Johansen have stepped forward to lead this important work. Speaking for the coordinators, Andy expressed their enthusiasm and welcomed existing and new volunteers to work beside them.
We gave a big shout out to Jim Gaulke for his leadership and long commitment to Family Promise. Jim still holds a position on the Family Promise Board of Directors and will help shape the organization’s direction going forward. Please thank Jim when you see him.
This is only a summary of what occurred at the November 1 meeting. The minutes of the meeting and a full list of ideas for implementing Earth Day as well as Social Justice suggestions can be found on the bulletin board outside of Shelley’s office.
One last word – if you want your voice to be heard, you have to show up. We appreciate those who gathered together on November 1. However, they represented about one-third of our congregation. I know – you’re busy. There’s the kids and the grandkids and the Sunday dinner and all of the things that cannot be done during the work week. But, it’s like voting. If you are okay with the minority making the decisions for the majority, so be it. Then we live with these decisions. Remember, communication is, at the very least, a two way street. Your Board is going one way – and we count on you to tell us if your “way of the street” is going in the same direction. It’s so important that we end our journey together!