Board Reflection for March 24, 2023

Barbara Barnett- Stewart, UUCCH Board Member

I’m one of those people with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility who has a hard time saying no to things no matter how much else I have on my plate. And if I decided to write my autobiography, one apt title possibility would be How the Heck Did I End Up in Charge of This? Yet since joining this church in 2002, one thing I’ve had a surprisingly easy time saying no to despite multiple asks was running for the Board. Obviously, something changed, as here I am offering the Board reflection on the same day I’m doing the music because have I mentioned that overdeveloped sense of responsibility?

One reason I kept saying no to running for the Board was because I didn’t think I was the right fit. A Board is supposed to deal with big picture things like vision and mission and strategic goal setting, and I’m not that person. I’m task-oriented. Point me to a job, and I will get it done. Or if you need something organized, I’m your gal—that is my superpower. But these more abstract discussions about governance? That’s not a brain space I’m good at inhabiting.

So what changed? Why did I finally say yes? 

Our church is going through a lot of transition, more than just adjusting to a newly renovated space and searching for a new minister as Margret’s developmental work with us approaches an end. We’ve been changing and refining how we govern—and you can learn more about that change at the informational forum we’re having today at noon, here in the Sanctuary. I like the direction we’re moving in, and when I was asked about running for the Board last year, I knew I could work well with the people who would be on the Board alongside me. That is why I finally decided okay, let’s give this Board thing a go even though I’m not sure I’m the right fit.

Fast forward to today, and I’ll be honest: I’m still not sure I’m the right fit. My fellow Board members are much better at the vision-y mission stuff than I am. But I’m finding ways, however small, to contribute so I’m not just a warm body taking up space.

Being on the Board also ended up leading me into something that does feel like a better fit. The Board meets regularly with the Governance Advisory Committee (formerly known as the Policy Work Group), which works with the Board on developing and updating the church’s policies. I’ve worked for a lot of nonprofits over the years, and a lot of that work involved creating policy and procedure manuals. And as a grant writer in a previous life, I spent a lot of time articulating to donors how an organization’s programs aligned with its vision and mission. So while I don’t feel like I’m good at the vision-y mission things, drawing the connections between that big picture stuff and the task-oriented processes that carry it out is an area where I feel like I can be of better service to this church, so I’m glad I ended up stumbling my way into it, even if I’m still once again wondering how the heck I ended up in charge of the committee’s meetings.

And now, in keeping with that overdeveloped sense of responsibility I mentioned earlier, I’m going to head over to the piano and play the prelude for you all.