As a whole, Unitarian Universalists are not generally known for their love of blindly following “the rules.” After all, many of us fled other faith traditions because we wanted a path to spirituality and community where we were not expected to follow all the same tenets as everyone else. One of our earliest influencers, Henry David Thoreau, once wrote in a journal, “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”
However, there are times when it is helpful and beneficial to articulate boundaries for our community, and that is where UUFR’s Policies and Procedures (P&P) come into play. As your Board Secretary, it is my responsibility to ensure that UUFR leaders are able to update the P&P as needed and to inform the congregation whenever there are changes.
The main purpose of this post is to let you know that there have recently been some substantial updates to UUFR’s Policies and Procedures as of April 26, 2022. Within each major section of the P&P, you will find a table that describes the latest Board-approved changes, but I also want to summarize them for you here:
- Section 200 – The role of Past-Treasurer has been added to ensure that the newly elected Treasurer will have the benefit of short-term support and institutional memory for this important job.
- Section 300 – A new Committee of the Board, Addressing Institutional Racism (AIR), has been added along with their charter and mission.
- Section 600 – The Healthy Congregation Committee (HCC) has provided new wording to clarify the process for dealing with unacceptable conduct by community members.
- Section 700 (new) – The Board has defined and outlined the process by which new policies and procedures are created, revised, and formalized.
As times have changed, UUFR’s Policies and Procedures have had to change with them. One thing UUFR had already done to make it easier to find and reference the latest P&P is to put them on the Members Google Drive. There is a folder within that drive labeled Fellowship Policies & By-Laws where anyone at any time can reference the latest version of the rules we as members are asked to follow.
As you look at the current P&P manual, you might notice it looks slightly different from past versions. When I joined the Board in 2021, I brought along almost 30 years of experience in developing policies and procedures in corporate settings. I thought that I might champion some improvements to make out P&P easier to read and reference. With the support of my fellow Board Members, over this last year, I’ve made some changes to the format, including:
- The P&P are now complied in a comprehensive document that includes all approved sections.
- The front matter now has a table that describes the latest major revisions (beginning April 26, 2022).
- The Table of Contents is comprehensive of every major section and is fully hyperlinked so you can click to go to any major section within the P&P.
- Each section of the P&P now has a history table so you may see when it was last revised and what was the nature of the change.
- A new template has been consistently applied across all documents to make linking and navigations possible, and also bring the document closer to compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- The new Section 700 outlines the process by which the Board receives, reviews, and approves changes to P&P, making the process more transparent and easy-to-follow.
The Board is pleased to share this latest revision of UUFR’s P&P with you, as well the changes to the overall format, so that you may stay informed on the rules that guide our community. As always, we are open to any questions or feedback you might have.
By Rebecca Marmaduke, UUFR Secretary
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