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The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on May 21st at 7:30pm at UUCA. The meeting is open to all members. Follow this link for the agenda May 21 Agenda
The Board has also scheduled two listening/feedback sessions. This is an opportunity to let us know what you are thinking about UUCA. There will be a facilitator, and everyone who comes will be given the opportunity to speak at least once. In order to accommodate all who might want to speak, each speaker will be allowed two minutes to speak until all others who want to speak have spoken at least once.
The Board of Trustees announces that the annual meeting of the congregation will be held immediately following a single 10:15 worship service on Sunday, June 2, 2013. (Official time for the start of the meeting is 11:30 a.m.) Congregants will be seated at tables in Fellowship Hall for a buffet brunch as the meeting begins. Awards will be announced and we will raise our voices in song. The business agenda for the meeting is approval of the budget and election of officers and trustees. An enhanced activity program for children will be in full swing during the meeting, with a special menu for kids.
Other upcoming governance events:
Restated UUCA Board Policy Manual Published:
The UUCA Board of Trustees has finished its review of its policies and has published a restated Policy Manual (dated May 10, 2013). Please go to this link for a copy to review. Now, it is your turn to give feedback, either in person on May 21, 6:00pm at the Board Listening Session, or by making awritten submission.
The Board wants to hear from UUCA members about this important governance document and the policies it contains. The Board is seeking the benefit of a review from the variety of perspectives that are found within our entire congregation. Your comments and suggestions are welcome during the five-week period between now and the June Board meeting. Written comments are especially welcome, particularly your reactions to Part 1.
Search Process Information:
General information about the ministerial search process and other online resource materials are available on the Unitarian Universalist Association Transition website including The Settlement Handbook, a comprehensive guide to the process to call a minister. A sample detailed timeline is also on the website and on page four of the Settlement Handbook is a helpful two-page checklist of tasks and general time period tasks.
Process for Development of UUCA Operating Budget for 2013-14:
The following timeline outlines the process for the review, advice, Board recommendation, and Congregational approval of the budget for 2013-14. The Board has otherwise delegated the development of the proposed budget for 2013-14 to the interim senior minister as the Executive:
Introduction to UUCA Governance
Following congregational polity, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (UUCA) is a self-governing congregation, choosing our own ministers and lay leadership, handling our own finances, and choosing our own delegates to the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). We are associated with the UUA, but we govern ourselves. We are guided by the fifth principle of our faith, which calls for “the use of the democratic process within our congregations.”
The basic authority for all matters concerning the Church rests with the congregation, which has adopted a representative form of democracy. The church’s governing documents are the Articles of Incorporation and the bylaws. The bylaws, adopted by the congregation on June 12, 2011, succeed the constitution, which was adopted in 1951. The bylaws may be amended by the membership at a congregational meeting by a two-thirds majority.
The congregation elects a Board of Trustees, currently composed of nine Church members. A Trustee may be elected for up to three consecutive two-year terms. Four of the Trustees are elected in even-numbered years, five in odd-numbered years. The membership also elects a Secretary and Treasurer who report to the Board.
The Annual Meeting of the membership takes place on a Sunday two to five weeks before the end of the Church year on June 30. The agenda includes the election of trustees, officers and other officials; a report from the Board; and the adoption of the church budget covering the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The Board holds business meetings on the third Tuesday of the month; approved minutes are posted on the Governance Docs link to the right. The Board of Trustees operates under the guidance of the Governance Handbook (see "Reports, Handbooks and Charters" bottom right), which the Board is rewriting during the 2012-13 Church Year. The Handbook describes the Board’s system of governance and policies, consistent with the bylaws.
Board Governance Structure at UUCA
When it adopted the bylaws, the Congregation gave the Board “general supervision and direction of the affairs of the Church.” The Board also has the authority to adopt policies and procedures for the governance of the congregation, and the authority to delegate duties to an Executive.
The Board has elected to follow a policy-based governance model. Accordingly, the Board has delegated the management of Church operations to the Interim Senior Minister as the Executive.
The Board has retained its authority to govern, and it does so by articulating the Church’s goals, or “Ends,” and it holds the Executive accountable for meeting those Ends, although the Board, too, remains accountable to the congregation for all of its actions, including what it has delegated to the Executive.
The Board also oversees the Executive’s management of finances, including an annual independent audit; and the Board is responsible for recommending an annual budget for congregational approval. The budget is initially prepared in detail by the Executive, and open hearings are held for congregational input.
Otherwise, the Executive employs the means as he/she determines without specific approval of the Board, but consistent with the Board’s policies. The Board does not meddle in the means that are employed by the Executive, although the Board does set written limitations on the Executive. These are constraints on the authority of the Executive, which establish the prudence and ethics boundaries in which the Executive operates. The Board monitors compliance with the Executive Limitations.
The members of the Board and the Executive strive to develop a collegial and non-adversarial relationship, and they consider each other to be members of a team.
In matters of governance, as opposed to operations, the Board is in charge, and in this respect the Board speaks with one voice. The authority of the Board does not reside in any individual Board member; it acts as a body or not at all. The members of the Board have all agreed to a covenant among themselves.
Under the bylaws, the Board does not have authority over the religious affairs of the Church. The congregation has put the ministers in charge of the Church’s religious activities, and in this realm the ministers are accountable to the congregation. If a minister is called by the congregation, he/she may only be removed by a vote of the congregation at a meeting of the membership.
The Board stays in dialogue and conversation with the congregation. One of the primary responsibilities of the Board is to keep this linkage strong and authentic. When voices within the congregation become audible, it is likely that those voices come from a segment of the congregation. The Board owes those voices its ear, but also owes the silent segments the recognition that one group may not represent everyone.
The Board is also guided by the Church’s mission and purposes, and by our congregational covenant.
Renewal of Policy-Based Governance at UUCA
During the 2012-13 Church year, the Board is renewing its commitment to policy-base governance at UUCA. When it was first introduced in 2004, policy-based governance reoriented the Board towards the Church’s vision and mission. The Board gave up trying to manage everything, and it delegated to staff the responsibility for operations. The Church is simply too large and complex for the Board to remain even nominally in charge of day-to-day management.
With policy-based governance, the Board focuses on articulation of our Church's core values and central purposes, and it is responsible for making sure that the Church lives those values and makes progress in fulfilling its mission. The Board delegates to an Executive the authority over day-to-day decisions and over programing in general, and the Board does not tell the Executive or other staff members how to do their jobs. Instead, the Board sets the boundaries within which staff members are free to work under the supervision of the Executive for the goals set by the Board. This empowers and frees both the staff and the Board to fulfill their respective roles without meddling in each other’s business.
In the fall of 2013, the Board was retrained in the basics of policy-based governance with the help of an outside consulting firm. That has been followed-up by a review of UUCA's entire policy-based governance process and careful consideration about how to bring it up-to-date. This intense work has involved a complete rewrite of all of the Board’s policies.
At a link to the right of this text, you will find the parts of the Board's policy manual that have been updated so far. The Board encourages you to make comments and suggestions about ways to improve its policies.
A key to the success of policy-based governance is the development and maintenance of a strong connection between the Board and the congregation (both current and future). The Board is charged with having an intentional conversation with the congregation to inform the articulation of our values.
This year, an appreciative inquiry process has guided the conversation with and among the congregation. At thirty appreciative inquiry sessions, over 300 members told about their best experiences at UUCA, so that we can collectively recognize our strengths and construct our future from what we do well. For access to data collected at the appreciative inquiry sessions, please click on the items in the documents section to the right of this text.
What Happened to Team Ministry?
During over a decade starting in the late 1990's, UUCA experimented with an executive structure that was called "Team Ministry." That experiment ended in 2010.
Under the Team Ministry model, there was no "Senior Minister." Instead, one of the ministers was considered a “Lead Team Minister” who was a first among equals sharing executive authority with the other “Team Minister.” This experimental approach had some initial success, but that slowly changed as new ministers came on board, and as the model evolved over the years from the first two-person team into a four-person team consisting of three ministers and a lay Church Administrator. During this period, the Board stopped trying to operate the Church, and it eventually delegated day-to-day management to the four-person “executive team,” and everyone on it took over a distinct part of operations, but overall responsibility and accountability got cumbersome and unclear.
Early in 2010, a Board task force reviewed and evaluated team ministry as it had evolved in practice over the years. The task force concluded that the team model was no longer effective, and it strongly recommended that actual executive authority be given to a single person. The Board agreed, and it ended the “executive team,” and it replaced it with a single “executive.” The term Team Ministry was still used informally, but the actual structure had changed
In June 2011, the congregation adopted new Church Bylaws, which clearly allow the Board to delegate Church operations to a strong executive. This confirmed the shift away from the executive team. When Rev. David was hired as our interim minister earlier this year, the Board agreed that he would serve as a strong executive as is permitted under the Bylaws, and he was given the title of Interim Senior Minister.
The Treasurer, elected by vote of the congregation and under the direction of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the proper receipt, accounting, management, and disbursement of Church funds within policies established for financial control and oversight. The Treasurer is responsible for protecting church assets, ensuring the maintenance of records, and submitting periodic reports to the Board. The Treasurer also submits a report at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation.
To carry out these responsibilities, the Treasurer responds to requests from the chair of the Board of Trustees and consults on a regular basis with the Church Administrator and the Executive.
The Treasurer monitors the work of the three Assistant Treasurers, who are elected by the Congregation. The Treasurer also assists the Board appointed Audit Committee.
The Nominating Committee is elected by the congregation to nominate a Church member to serve in each elected position on the Board of Trustees, other officer positions, and special committees. At each Annual Meeting, the Nominating Committee nominates a slate for the lay positions to be elected by the Congregation at the meeting. Its slate also includes nominees to serve on the Nominating Committee itself. The Nominating Committee also recommends to the Board of Trustees a slate of delegates to the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Nominating Committee (2012-13) members, serving staggered two year terms, are:
Please contact one of them if you are interested in a conversation about leadership.
Statements in the Name of the Church
People in our Church often feel called by faith to witness for social justice in the larger community. In doing this, we should all feel comfortable with following our consciences, and with identifying ourselves publicly as Unitarian Universalists. In another vein, we should always feel free to encourage others to become a part of our faith community.
When you are communicating outside of the building or you are in cyberspace and not on the Church's website, labeling anything with our Church's name must be done only after consulting with Church staff.
Board of Trustees
For archive of Board meeting minutes and other governance documents, click here.
Reports, Handbooks and Charters
Appreciative Inquiry Workshop Docs