Results of Congregational Survey Are In!Many thanks to the 330 of you who responded to the annual congregational survey. The Board is thrilled that 1/3 of the congregation was willing to share your thoughts with us. You told us that we as a church are doing well and even better than a year ago! Good news!! Our highest scores were for "First Unitarian Church witnesses as a voice of conscience in our community". We can be very proud of that. You also said that "First Unitarian Church provides worship that is inspiring, affirming, and deepening." Our biggest improvement was “moving our church community toward becoming a more inclusive congregation".
Maryann Roulier, Moderator
Shirlee Geiger, 1st Vice Moderator
Michael Cunningham, 2nd Vice Moderator
Ameena Amdahl-Mason, Secretary
Camille Wright, Treasurer
Carolyn Gillen, John Hutzler, Roger Robinson, Chris Tanner, John Thompson, Evie Zaic
Rev. Bill Sinkford (ex officio)
Rev. Tom Disrud (ex officio)
Contents of this page:
What is the Board? How you become a Board member
When do we meet? What is Policy-Based Governance?
Moderator's Column Our Mission
Board Packet, with Agendas and Minutes Five Year Church Goals
Board Committees Board Goals
Annual Meeting/Annual Report
What is the Board?
The Board of Trustees of First Unitarian Church is a governing body that was created to share the leadership of the ministers and staff in supporting the church and all of its congregants. The role of the board is to represent the mission of the church, and to help to ensure that our Ends* and seven principles inform the decision-making within our institution. The board provides oversight of the executive team, and does annual evaluations of the ministry of our church. We seek to maintain relationships with the ministers, the church staff, and the members of our congregation in keeping with our church covenant. The board formulates five year church goals and annual board goals, which provide the structure of our work.
*What are our ‘Ends’? From the Carver Policy Governance model: Isn’t ‘Ends’ just another word for ‘Goals’? The ends concept—unique to Policy Governance—is a very special type of goal, one that designates the results for which the organization exists, the recipients or beneficiaries of those results, and the worth of the results or the results for certain recipient groups. There is no existing management term that combines these elements. Moreover, the words goal and objective refer to ends sometimes and to non-ends sometimes. Since the ends/means distinction is a basis for designing good governance, the use of traditional management terms would be dysfunctional.
When do we meet?
The Board meets in the Buchan building every month, usually on the fourth Thursday, for a two-hour task-oriented, informative session. Board meetings are open to congregants who are interested in a glimpse of the workings of the church.
Quarterly Communication from the Board Moderator:
Each quarter our Board Moderator will provide a communication to share the focus of our Board work. Click here to access the Moderator's update.
Board Packet: Contains Agendas and Minutes.
Click here to access the Board Packets.
The Board conducts most of its work through committees.
Here are the current Standing and Ad-hoc Committees:
Policy Evaluation: The Policy Evaluation Committee (PEC) is tasked with annually evaluating the ministry of the church as required in Article III, Sec. 5 of the church bylaws. The PEC reviews the Executive Team's (ET) administrative performance, because in our policy governance model the ET is responsible for running the church. The PEC also evaluates the Board's own policies and adherence to those policies, recommending changes when needed. To do this the Board reviews written documents, surveys if available, and statistical data. The PEC reports its findings and recommendations to the Board at the end of the church year, usually in May or June, and this report is posted on the church website with Board minutes. There are usually 3 or 4 members, with the Board Moderator and the Sr.Minister and Assistant Sr. Minister invited to participate as ex officio members.
For more information, access the Policy Evaluation Committee documents here.
Finance: The primary responsibility is to monitor the church’s adherence to the financial governing policies established by the Board of Trustees. In addition, the Finance Committee has responsibility for presenting a balanced budget to the Board of Trustees based on the recommended budget prepared by the Executive Team. Finally, it has responsibility for appointing an outside auditor and reviewing the annual financial audit. The Committee meets monthly, or more frequently as needed.
For more information, access the Finance Committee documents here.
Communications: Responsible for establishing methods to both communicate Board information to the congregation and facilitate the collection of responses on specific topics back to the Board. Previous communication forums have included café conversations, facilitated focus group discussions, surveys, ‘meet the board’ sessions, and blog postings with comments.
For more information, access the Communications Committee documents here.
Ad-hoc Committee (work concluded in June 2013):
Leadership Development: Helping to put in place strategies and approaches that will:
• Identify potential leaders through heightened awareness of congregants’ skills, experience and talents
• Actively call individual congregants to diverse leadership roles
• Develop, engage and nurture church leaders in intentional ways
• Supply potential and current leaders with knowledge and tools to enhance their effectiveness
The committee’s membership includes: the associate minister, minister of social justice, board members, a consultant, nomination committee members, and a representative of the religious education, adult programs and membership committees.
For more information, access the Leadership Development documents here.
Responsibility for Leadership Development was transferred to the church's Executive Team and Staff beginning with the 2013-2014 church year.
How you become a Board Member
The Nominating Committee seeks out potential members during the year and proposes a slate for the congregation’s confirmation by the time of our Annual Meeting each spring. The bylaws also allow congregants to be considered for Board membership “with the written consent of the nominee, by a petition signed by not less than five percent of the voting members, and filed with the Nominating Committee not less than thirty days prior to the annual meeting.”
The Board Moderator may appoint replacements for Board members unable to complete their terms. Those appointees will stand for confirmation at the Annual Meeting along with the slate proposed by the Nominating Committee to replace members completing their terms.
Terms last three years and there is an option for members to stand for a second consecutive term.
What is Policy-Based Governance?
After beginning a transition to policy based governance in 2003, the congregation at First Unitarian voted at the annual meeting in 2005 to amend our by-laws to align with this model of governance. Policy governance, created by John Carver, is designed to focus organizational boards on the vision and goals of the organization. This model is used in other Unitarian Universalist congregations, as well as other non-profit and for-profit organizations. More information about policy based governance can be found at the UUA's webpage on policy based governance or on John Carver's webpage.
Click here for our Bylaws and Governing Policies.
The Mission of First Unitarian Church:
"Given our long and distinguished history in Portland, we covenant:
to create a welcoming community of diverse individuals; to promote love, reason and freedom in religion; to foster lifelong spiritual growth; and to act for social justice."
To realize this mission, First Unitarian Church:
• Is a welcoming and loving community that provides a safe haven where a diverse people
of various ages and cultures may gather to build nurturing relationships.
• Offers lifespan religious education consistent with Unitarian Universalist values, and
provides a forum for exploring diverse points of view.
• Provides worship that is inspiring and affirming, as well as a variety of experiences that
invite congregants to deepen their spiritual lives.
• Uses transparent democratic processes that maintain shared governance and ensure that
all voices are heard and respected, and that clearly define the roles and responsibilities of
congregants, the Board, staff, and ministers.
• Cultivates and nurtures leaders who serve and inspire the church community.
• Is a sustainable church community in which congregants, Board, staff and ministers share
stewardship of both our tangible and our human resources.
• Takes a leadership role in the larger Unitarian Universalist movement, maintaining
connections with other Unitarian Universalist congregations and institutions as well as
the local interfaith community.
• Witnesses as a voice of conscience in our community and beyond, collaborating with
other justice-seeking institutions, encouraging congregants to join others in building a
more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful future for all.
Five Year Church Goals:
Our five year church goals are to initiate and support a process to address these major focus areas:
Any issues related to growth
Increase in Stewardship
Increase communication to provide a foundation for this process.
The Board is aware of the need to continue to exhibit non-anxious presence in the face of change, and to anticipate and foster clear channels for expression of concerns, ideas, and aspirations.
With this in mind, we will:
1. Working with the Executive Team and consultant, Nancy Olson, and with significant input from the congregation as a whole, the Board will deliver one or more visions for the future of First Unitarian Church.
2. Recommend changes to the church's ends statements, based on the Board's process of 2012-2013 and agree upon metrics for oversight.
3. Ensure that the covenants associated with our mortgage loan on the Buchan Building are met.
4. Provide clarity to the Executive Team regarding the purposes/uses of the Safety and Major Repairs Reserves, including determination of how and to what levels they are to be funded on an ongoing basis and document any changes in applicable Board Policies.