First Unitarian Society - "Governance Task Force Report"
|November 18, 2011 Issue #12
In this issue of the Governance Update, you will get:
- A Report on the Open Questions Forums
- A response to a question from the Governance web page
Join the conversation We have decided not to have the preliminary Vision of Ministry discussion that was scheduled for December 4. Rather, at the Mid-year Budget Forum on January 8, 2012, the Board of Trustees will have a discussion to seek input and guidance in developing the Vision of Ministry for 2012-13.
Open Question Forums
In the September Governance Update we described the Open Questions process, and how it relates to our long-range vision for the FUS community. About 90 people attended one of the three Open Questions forums held in October and November.
The forums were thrilling to watch (the Board and Governance Committee were there to listen). We observed a kind of heartfelt communication and connection that is not common at parish meetings.
The questions posed were:
- Think about a time when you were spiritually touched at First Unitarian Society (FUS), and share with your small group. What themes or commonalities emerge from your sharing of spiritual experience?
- How can the First Unitarian Society community facilitate greater spirituality?
Common themes on the question:
How have you been spiritually touched
at First Unitarian Society?
- Small groups and communities such as Chalice Groups
- Music: both at FUS and General Assembly "members singing to members"
- Shared values
- Sharing of life events
- Spiritual support both individually and as groups of individuals
- Our young people, Coming of Age service, intergenerational activities in general
- Spiritual nature of shared music
- Search for spiritual meaning
- Seasonal rituals are shared with other religious orientations, providing a feeling of comfort for many
- "Trinity of ministers" with diverse perspectives and experiences
- Quest, women’s retreats, annual retreat/workshops and Adult Religious Education have provided a platform for spiritual engagement
- Recognition of individual and diverse spiritual approaches
- The FUS campus; comfort in recalling life events taking place here
- Doing work that matters, learning to take charge, and being mentored by others
- Love and respect for Nature
The Larger Community
- FUS provides a forum with respect for diversity, inclusivity, acceptance
- Service Sunday activities
- Wartmann Lecture series
- Shared worship with other congregations
Common themes on the question:
"How can the FUS community facilitate greater spirituality?"
We come together with values of love to take to the world and to each other. We should see the core of what we do as finding ways to be together compassionately.
- More small groups that facilitate compassionate listening to each others stories
- Neighborhood groups; should have a theme or reason for meeting and a structure. Open to new group members
- Add neighborhood group indicators on nametags
- Foster mentoring relationships between new people and longer-term members.
- Find ways to foster wider engagement for members who have been mainly occupied with Religious Education engagement
- Be welcoming as fully as possible-all ages, abilities, and cultures.
- Focus on accessibility in language, how we set up meetings
- Mentoring program for new members
- Foster re-engagement for long–term members
- More technological outreach-both for those physically unable to attend and cyber-agers
- Add intentional mingling activities to coffee hour
- The candlelight vigil at the capitol was a very important example of how we act on our values.
- Music exchanges with other faith communities
- Use Standing on the Side of Love/ Social Justice activities as a way to connect with other church communities, particularly congregations of color; FUS youth who attended General Assembly are very interested in Standing on the Side of Love activities
- How do we know who needs help?
- How does the Staff let us know their needs?
- Get involved in a "community health initiative"- grant sponsored by Johnson or Dane County United efforts (currently inactive)
- Michael’s monthly programs at Oakwood Village, Capital Lakes are ongoing--involve kids in some visits to these places
As always, we invite your feedback on this or any other aspect of governance at FUS. Here’s a Link to the feedback page.
A Governance Question that we
received in response to last month’s update:
Occasionally it is important to have First Unitarian Society of Madison "sign on" as a supporter of a broader cause in the city or county. How will decisions be made as to what cause(s) may merit the public support of First Unitarian Society? In the past, a committee voted on an issue which was then referred to the Board or to a Parish Meeting for a vote.
We should not offer our support lightly (and decisions must be made via a democratic process) but often we are conspicuous by our absence for worthy "causes."
The committee reviewed previous procedures and decided that no alterations are needed. Any recognized FUS group may issue an endorsement, identifying itself as affiliated with FUS. An endorsement in the name of First Unitarian Society requires a congregational vote. A Congregational meeting may be called by any group of twenty members.
From the Governance Committee: Lorna Aaronson, Sandy Eskrich, Kathy Luker, Michael Schuler, and David Weber (chair).
Important Documents and Resources
The following documents relate to the 2013-14 proposed Budget as of May 2013
(also on /fiscalbudget)
Proposed Budget (PDF file)
An Overview of the Budget (PDF file)
Guidelines, Tactics, Strategy (PDF file)
Nominations Committee Resources
Cover Letter to Board Applicants
Board Job Description
Board Policy for Trustees
Documents relating to the Mission of the Task Force
• The Job of the FUS Board of Trustees
• FUS Board Resolution of Governance
• Overview of Topic and Approach to Governance
• The Governance Path
• FUS Governance Review and Statement of-principles
• Frequently Asked Questions About Governance
• Slides from the GTF presentation on May 1
Bylaws FUS ByLaws as endorsed by the Board April 2013
Document about the proposed Ministry Teams A list of the proposed teams