WSUU Board Retreat Update

by Jim Schlough, Board Treasurer

August 22, 2021

The recently elected Board of Trustees of our church got together last Sunday for a daylong retreat. We have an entirely new board of five people this year and, although many of us have served previously on other non-profit boards, we want to determine how we can best serve the specific needs and hopes of our beloved WSUU community. We also want to express gratitude for the guidance we have already received from last year’s board members.
Let me remind you who we are: Kristina Darnell, president; Marco Deppe, vice-president; Laura White, secretary; Jim Schlough, treasurer; Laura Pierce, member-at-large. Rev Christopher Wulff engaged with us as an observer, a knowledgeable church practice and policy source, and as our minister. Laura Pierce kindly and efficiently facilitated our explorations at the common house of her Jackson Place Co-housing community.

As is common these days for groups of UUs, we set about the task of creating our covenant. We needed to keep reminding ourselves that this covenant concerned how the board members interact with each other, not with the world outside the board. We reviewed past board covenants, strived for simplicity, and ended up with a draft that will be reviewed.

We had agreed well before our retreat that we wanted to share the work of the board more equally. It was a fairly simple process to move the post-it notes around to board member buckets.

Next, we tackled the board tasks and responsibilities. There are ongoing lists from the past, events in the church calendar year, and items specific to the current year. Boards are supposed to be policyoriented, not mired in mundane task management — yet here are all these things that want attention. For example, the auction— now that’s important!  While we made progress, we realize we have a lot more work to do in clarifying this.

Lunch — and a time to share more stories that reveal who we are and better connect us.

The next item on the agenda was board priorities for the coming year — certainly the banner achievement for any group aspiring to lead. It’s not too difficult to brainstorm this, but we did have trouble distinguishing between board and congregational goals. Given that there is not a current strategic plan for WSUU, we decided to articulate our own version for a healthy, accessible congregation.  We used this as a reference to establish complementary board priorities.

As a final task, we looked at the committee structures within our congregation. Many of these committees are without chairpersons and/or have few members. This is a challenging opportunity. We realized we need an up-to-date comprehensive listing of committees and their members. We also need to distinguish between different types of groups, such as ad hoc groups and special purpose teams. Please note that there will be many opportunities for WSUU members to serve this year.

At the end of the day, we are more familiar with one another and the current state of WSUU. We will be posting finalized versions of our covenant, vision, and goals in the near future. We are grateful for a wonderful membership. WSUU has weathered difficult times and remained steadfast. The board looks forward to the continued work of strengthening our congregation in concert with all of you.

Board Treasurer Jim Schlough, on behalf of the Board of Trustees

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