We’re In This Together – Board Retreat Summarized

A Message from Patti McCall, Board President

As promised, my message this month is about the goals your Board of Trustees have set for themselves for our year together.  First, though I need to thank John Britt who expertly and compassionately wrangled, I mean, facilitated the Board and Rev. Alex at the August 26th Board Retreat helping us to wade through the multitude of wishes, passions and ideas that each of us brought to the day.  Sincerely, thank you John. You spent a lot of time preparing a structure for the retreat; then working with us; and finally summarizing which priorities and goals we hope to address in the next year.

What did we accomplish?  The good news is you have a very enthusiastic Board of Trustees who are willing to work hard and get the ball rolling on some very big issues facing our beloved community.  The bad news is we identified a couple of stumbling blocks that require our initial attention.

For example, our congregation is something of a hybrid falling between a pastoral-size and program-size community.  What this means is our staff is still relatively small to oversee the breadth of programs currently in place.  Also, our current leadership pool has been working long and hard for a number of years and needs support as well as replenishment.  We’re not in a position to change the size of our staff, but we can work on Leadership Support and Development.  To that end, Rev. Alex recruited the help and expertise of Rev. Tandi Rogers, a Congregational Life Staff member for the Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA),  who led a wonderfully inspiring leadership training on September 30th.  You may have seen a photo  on the WSUU Facebook page with all of the participants lined up in a single row.  At one end of the line were the newer members of our congregation; at the other end the long-time members.  What this demonstrated is we actually do have a wider breadth of leaders than we thought and I’m so grateful to everyone who showed up!  Thank you!

Another stumbling block we encountered which impacts Leadership as well as other many areas within the congregation is the need for a clear and updated organizational structure.  We need to know who is doing what; identify gaps in our structure and programming; and define teams, missions, and roles.  A couple different members of the Board have volunteered to work on clarifying how we’re currently ‘built’.

So, continuing to work on Leadership Development as well as defining what structure is currently in place  will be our first priorities.

Other goals and priorities we have set for ourselves include the following:

  • Alex and a Board Member have volunteered to begin looking at how we can seriously address the accessibility issues facing too many of our members and friends. They will be working with Soph Davenberry and the Building Committee to come up with a realistic plan to make our building more user friendly.
  • Care of our Building is also high on our priority list.  You’ll find a report given by Soph Davenberry in the August Board Meeting Minutes about some of the needs of our building.  The first step Soph is working on is to have building assessments done by the utility companies.  Then the Building Committee will be making recommendations prioritizing those assessed needs.
  • We need to begin the Search for a called minister once again.  We would like an entirely new Search Team be in place by April 2018.
  • Westside’s Bylaws and Policies can use a general review to assess what may need reworking.  Bylaw changes need to be approved by the Congregation so you’ll hear more about that if it is determined that change is needed.  Our Policy handbook has grown by fits and starts and some policies are no longer applicable to who we are anymore.  We will keep you apprised as we determine what is needed.

What I’d like to leave you with is an assurance we’re working hard, knowing the decisions and priorities we make impact the entire congregation.  We don’t take our roles lightly and we will do our best to lead with a compassionate heart always remembering our mission: To support one another, expand our minds, and build a more just world.  Because we’re in this together.

Print your tickets