A place to Connect, Grow, and Serve
December Business Meeting: The next business meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled on Tuesday, December 16, 2013 at UUCA starting at 7:30pm. Board members are available for casual or serious conversation a half hour before the start of its meetings.
Follow this link to the special website of the Ministerial Search Committee. MSCSite
One-on-Ones: Board members are available to have one-on-one relational meetings with other Church members. These are intentional one-hour conversations to share stories and values. They are a way to get to know someone more deeply and to explore what really matters to both of you. Please do not hesitate to contact any Board member if you would like to have a one-on-one relational meeting with him or her.
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 the UUA, 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 its Policy Manual which describes the Board’s system of governance and policies.
Policy-Based Governance 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 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 Church's bylaws, the Board does not have authority over the religious affairs of the Church. The congregation has put our ministers in charge of the Church’s religious activities, and that extends to all aspects of worship. Our ministers have freedom of the pulpit and in the community, and they are expected to express their faith, values, views, and commitments, and they are able to do so without fear or favor. Also, 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 values, and by our congregational covenant.
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.
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 an archive of Board meeting minutes and other governance documents, click here.
Reports, Handbooks and Charters
Appreciative Inquiry Workshop Docs