Board Reflection for Sunday, October 23, 2022
Ed Fox, UUCH Board of Trustees (2022-2024)
Today, I want to follow up on last month’s the Board reflection, which was about the promises
that we make with people to be and remain in healthy and sustainable relationships. This
theme is the basis of Reverend Margret’s developmental ministry – to help our congregation
learn, appreciate, build, and nourish healthy and sustainable relationships. She is here to help
us do the hard work to change the unspoken culture we have built here to protect ourselves
from a long series of disappointment and hurt.
That culture has kept UUCCH from building and nourishing relationships with our ministers, our
professional staff, elected and volunteer church leaders, and church members. Most
importantly, this “sub-conscious” culture often discourages people that come through our
doors and internet portals from joining or staying in our community.
Reverend Larry’s two-year interim ministry educated us on our repeating history of
disappointments and hurt. This re-discovery of our sources of our “Troubles” and their impacts
on the multiple church relationships is why the Board asked Reverend Margret to come to
WE are starting our fourth year of Reverend Margret’s five-year commitment with us. Her initial
three years involved learning about our “unwritten” church culture, experiencing first-hand the
relationships the Congregation has with ministers and staff, and witnessing how UUCCH’s
elected and volunteer leadership govern and “do church.” All along, she has guided us on how
to become our better selves, often filling in the gaps when our unwritten culture of church
relationships breaks down, which happens far too often.
As Jennie noted last month, UUs use the word “covenant” for the promises, agreements, and
relationship commitments we make with others. Since her sermons on covenants last
December, Reverend Margret and a group of committed church members have been helping
us explore and create a new church covenant reflecting how we, as a congregation, live into our
values of community, trust, love, and learning.
At the same time, the Board of Trustees has been working with the Policy Work Group to create
a manual of written policies for healthy and sustainable relationships among the Congregation,
its ministers, professional staff, elected and volunteer church leaders, church members, friends,
and visitors as we live into our UUA Principles and “do church.” This new policy manual will
transform our unwritten cultural norms into promises and commitments on our respective
roles, responsibilities and boundaries, authority, and accountability among all our church.
As a representative of your Board of Trustees, I can report that our congregation must learn
from and heal our “Troubles” and become the people we want to be by living into a new
covenant that focuses on keeping our First Principle – seeing all beings as having inherent worth
and dignity, and acting with integrity in our hearts. Yes, it really is back to the basics.
The UUA’s Reverend LoraKim Joyner preaches on the promise and power of covenants, which
are living, real-world relationship commitments. She writes:
“You cannot break a covenant or be out of covenant. You can only ask yourself:
1. [Whether] you are engaged with the covenant with a promise of the
2. [Whether] the church’s elected, volunteer, and spiritual leadership guides
the congregation to support these efforts of the heart.
‘Heart’ means fully integrating the mind, body, and souls/spirit.
You can ask others [whether] their heart is engaged with the covenant, the work,
and the vision, and if not, ask them how they might be supported in engaging or
Reverend Margret and the Right Relations Committee are using “world café” process to create
this new covenant. Church members and friends, like you and me, meet in small groups of at
least four each in Fellowship Hall, following UUCCH’s Covid Gathering Guidelines. The groups
spent 20 minutes developing words and phrases that they think should be considered for the
covenant. After reporting their work to other groups, people rotate into new groups for
another 20-minute session to build on each other’s drafts. It is a lively, high-input, collaborative
model of co-creation. I found it to be a fun, engaging, and spiritually rewarding experience.
To date, about 50 of UUCCH’s 200 or so active adults have participated in these sessions.
Although 50 people is a fair turnout, we really need at least 50 more to make this part of our
developmental ministry process a bona fide success. The Board of Trustees highly urges all of us
to actively participate in creating this covenant. The world café process continues with two
more sessions: on Saturday, 10/29 at 10 am and on Sunday 10/30 at noon after the service.
Please check the UUCCH NewsGram, Order of Service, Zoom chat box, or me after the service
to learn how to register for these next Creating Covenant workshops.