Learning to Work Together, Starting with Our Fall UUSM Board Retreat

If you were in the middle of the ocean on a sailing trip with some friends when a storm hit and your ship wrecked…If you could only salvage 15 items along with a life raft and a pack of matches…what would you do? How would you prioritize your effort in order to give yourself the best chance of survival? When you compared notes with your friends, how would your priorities change? Would you survive long enough to be rescued?

This was the exercise that kicked off our 2018 Board of Directors retreat on November 3 and it was a humbling experience: I didn’t make it. Indeed, among us, only a few did, working alone. But when we came together, listening to understand one another’s viewpoints and sharing our own, survival became possible.

Team building exercise completed, the board moved on to the task of the day: coming away with priorities that would help forge greater congregational health in this time of developmental ministry at UUSM. It turns out teamwork is fundamental to survival everywhere, not just on a lifeboat.

The Rev. Greg Ward, who joined us in fall 2017, specializes in just this sort of thing: like a proverbial personal coach hired to help us lose our excess fat, become heart healthy and strong, and develop a lifestyle that allows us to lead our best lives.

Over the course of the next four hours, we began to chart the course for the next eight months.

Our work as a congregation falls into two key areas.

Alignment with Mission and Vision:
Why does our church exist? What difference do we want to make in the world? How do we align ourselves organizationally so that we’re able to make the biggest impact in service of love and justice? And how do we make the experience of engaging deeply in this service with one another a joyous one? Our efforts in Right Relations have prepared us to begin to be able to answer these questions.

Resource Building:
It’s not enough to have our hearts in the right place. We have to walk arm in arm with our Unitarian Universalist partners, growing spiritually and emotionally, learning leadership and generosity, so that we can do the work we are called to do.
At our November 13 board meeting, your elected leaders will be discussing what “done” will look like, the strategies that will “get us to done,” and the markers that will tell us we have been successful.

These broad initiatives will take two or more years to come to full bloom, but the process of learning to work together in service of our larger community and our planet begins now. I look forward to joining with you.

– Jacki Weber, President

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