Board Reflection For 9/25/22
When I started work for a national non-profit organization that served families of children with a genetic condition – decades ago now – the director told me that he wanted me to make one promise: that if I said I was going to do something, that I did it. So this was my promise, and it guided many of my actions there.
We make promises in all kinds of ways – contracts, wedding vows, professional codes. In this church we call our promises “covenants”. But this can sometimes be confusing. What is a policy, a mission, a covenant, a principle? Who abides by these guidelines? And as a UU, aren’t we free to make our own choices? Your Board of Trustees wanted to review these words as we come together for a new year of work together.
First, the Principles: As UUs, we agree to be guided by our 7 Principles in how we think about our world, our society, and our relationships. The kids call these the 7 promises. The UUA is currently taking on a review of the principles, to look at how to keep them relevant for the way we want to live today. Check in with Rosemary White if you want more information about how our congregation is participating in this process. In our church, we hold these Principles at the core of who we are, even as we pursue work that is individually important to us.
Second, our own church’s mission and vision: These statements are unique to UUCCH and were developed several years ago. They reflect our commitment to the seven principles, but go beyond that to reflect how we view our work:
The UUCCH vision, which defines our view of the future, is, To be a beacon of liberal religion in South Jersey.
The UUCCH mission, which defines our purpose, is to
Create a spiritual community by: Learning to know others and ourselves; Valuing and embracing the richness of our diversity; Serving others and confronting injustice to do more than each can do alone.
The mission and vision statements may undergo review periodically by the Board and congregation. The work of the Board of Trustees must reflect our ongoing commitment to our mission and vision. The Policies we approve are the framework that allows us to honor and support the work of the mission and vision. Each congregation member agrees to abide by our Policies to keep us safe and on the path lit by the mission and vision.
And Finally the Covenants: Covenants help guide how we are in relationship with each other. These promises may be the most confusing because we have several covenants we use here at UUCCH. The one we say at the beginning of every Sunday service was written over a century ago, and is used by many UU churches to paint a “Big Picture” of how we want to come together as a global church community. We also have Covenants specific to some small groups within the church, such as Choir, Fellowship Groups, the Board, and others. These Covenants are developed by the participants and reflect the specific needs and work of those groups.
We are now undergoing a process of developing a new UUCCH covenant to guide how we want to be in a loving, connected, working, trusting, thriving community of diverse interests, talents, and viewpoints. Rev Margret started this process last spring with the Listening circles about Core values and behaviors. This covenant building process invites all congregants to contribute and begins again October 1st. The new covenant will be our promise to each other that the values we hold most dear will be reflected in the way we communicate and treat each other.
Your Board of Trustees has the job of upholding the vision, promoting the mission, and exemplifying the covenant. We are continuing the work of building a policy framework that is based on the UUCCH mission and vision and UU Principles to take us along our visionary path. We promise to do our best while doing the work of the church. If you have questions about what we do or how we do it, we encourage you to email the Board or attend the monthly open meetings. Maybe you’ll get excited about this work too and start to plan how you can add your voice!
Watch Jennie Stone’s Board Connection here.
Listen to Jennie Stone’s Board Connection here.