Thursday, 30 June 2016 00:00

The Reverend's Reflections - July 2016

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It’s been a difficult spring for us at UUFCO, no question. But we have survived, perhaps even strengthened. Certainly the leadership has learned a lot about what is needed to function with integrity and compassion as a congregation of the size we have become. As I disappear for my summer break, I leave you a message

that much good work is happening among key groups and leaders that gives me joy to see:

  • New president, Mark Hickman, has dedicated himself these recent months prior to his presidency to putting foundations in place for the year ahead; foundations based on inclusive processes, relevant resources, and a commitment to healthy, respectful communications. The new Board had a day retreat to get to know one another, share their insights and concerns, and reflect on what is needed now. At the end of the day, this was the list that emerged, from my notes:

-      Good processes and communication are critical

-      We need to focus on establishing trust and dealing with conflict

-      We must balance our load balance and establish a healthy pace

-      There is a culture of complaining at UUFCO that needs to be changed

-      We need to educate the congregation about what we’re doing as a Board

-      and on explaining why more structure is needed for our wellbeing

I could only summarize the whole list as a commitment to ‘do things in a healthy way,’ which satisfied the group.

I am optimistic about the new Board’s commitment and dynamic, and look forward to working with them, and I want to express my deep gratitude for Mark’s investment and courage.

  • The Shared Ministries Committee has been working to get the new Healthy Congregations Team readied for their role, with the support of Rev. Carol McKinley. The new team is awesome! SMC is also taking time to reflect on its own role in the congregation, towards what I think of as the congregation’s conscience. SMC has benefitted already from the addition of Susan Kinney, a new-to-UUFCO but very experienced, insightful UU leader. Susan introduced us to a mantra she created in the aftermath of a congregational disaster during her own presidency. It’s worth tattooing on our foreheads for each other:

‘MEANINGFUL PROGRESS COMES FROM MINDFUL PROCESS

  • The Leadership Development Committee and Program Council have both been meeting during May and June. These are two new entities and are already proving themselves to be much-needed ‘missing links.’ Their value will become more evident in congregational life and programs in the months ahead. Their existence brings me much relief as they provide us all with the means to collaboratively and harmoniously achieve more as a community. It’s important that we have these structures so that what we do is healthy and consistent with our mission.

  • The Staff have been meeting weekly and are gaining strength as a team of colleagues as we continue to establish new systems and routines. I’ve just completed assessments with each of them, identifying goals for the year ahead. The exercise highlighted a need for us to build in staff time for reflection and to find resources for professional development.

And so, I take my leave. When I return, the Search Committee will be in full tilt preparing materials representing who UUFCO is and what kind of minister you wish for the long term. At the same time, we will be pursuing initiatives that we have begun or are committed to. It will be another busy year and we will have to remain very clear about what is most important, that we do not get ahead of ourselves and land in a heap. It’s just not worth it. Remember that mantra:

‘MEANINGFUL PROGRESS COMES FROM MINDFUL PROCESS

Reverently yours….

Rev. Antonia

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