UUFR’s Board of Directors has been making good progress towards the three goals it set for itself at the beginning of the church year.Here’s a snapshot of where we are.
The Board must decide whether or not to renew Rev. James’ contract as Developmental Minister for two years (currently set to expire on July 31, 2022). The Board will formally decide at its 12/28/2021 Board meeting. The congregation’s input will be critical data the Board considers. The Board hosted a Town Hall on October 17 to discuss the issue and will seek an advisory vote from the congregation on December 5th, after service.
The Board is creating a framework for strategic planning in 2022. UUFR will engage in “frame-bending planning,” developing a 3-to-5 year set of goals for the congregation. The resulting plan will help the Board and staff set priorities, choose ministerial leadership, and allocate resources by answering the question, “What are we, as a congregation, called to do?” Properly developing such a plan takes upwards of a year and involves deep engagement within and outside of the congregation. UUFR’s Committee on Ministry, which helps the Board evaluate its ministry programs, will soon gather data to help planning succeed in a new era of blended in-person and virtual congregational life. The Board will announce the first steps in this strategic planning process in the next few months.
Reverend James has sometimes discussed a “mismatch” between UUFR’s fellowship-sized brain and its large-congregation-sized body. On the Board’s side of things, modernizing governance has involved revising policy and procedure documents. With the help of the Board’s Healthy Congregations Committee, UUFR has streamlined communication and increased accountability and safety. A new Financial Advisory Committee will provide additional accountability over and practical guidance for UUFR’s leadership. The Board’s new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging committee will help the Board set important benchmarks and develop new strategies. The Board continues to tune and formalize oversight of the Lead Minister. In 2022 we will harmonize the evaluation timeline with the standard UUFR job-search cycle.
Though UUFR has made great strides in aligning our brain with our body, more remains to be done. The Board has been studying governance documents at UUFR, the UUA “models,” other UU congregations, some non-UU congregations, and other nonprofits. Going forward, part of the governance-tuning process will involve revising Board-specific policy and procedure documents as well as proposing to the congregation revisions of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
A key part of making progress towards our goals has been gathering information from the congregation. You have shared your aspirations for the congregation, limitations you have observed, things that work well, and recommendations for moving forward. The Board has been incredibly grateful for the numerous one-on-one, group, and congregation-level conversations we have had so far in 2021. Many more will come in 2022 and we look forward to them. And, just a reminder, this Board feedback form will automatically send your comments to the entire Board. It’s a fast and easy way to provide comments, requests, or feedback to the Board.