The Board of Trustees’ Mission Task Force has been working toward an answer to this question for more than four months. You are invited to three dialogue sessions on our work at 10:15-10:45 a.m. May 8, 15 and 22. The May 8 and May 15 sessions will be in the RE building rooms 22 & 23. The May 22 session will be in the sanctuary.
Our work began with review of our mission adopted in May 1997 which, at 57 words, was too long for any of us to remember. We picked up the thread of work paused by the 2013 Board with the announcement of the Rev. Marc Salkin’s retirement. Those earlier efforts informed the working statement the Board approved in September 2014. During the interim, the Board recognized we needed to recast the statement as an important step forward in the life of our church. In doing so, the Mission Task Force followed these guidelines:
1.As a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the seven UU Principles we affirm and promote remain foundational to what we do.
2.Our church will continue to use the “great covenant” in services.
3.Our statement needs to be memorable, meaningful and moving (simple, not simplistic).
4.It needs to contain strong verbs/action words.
5.It must be readily understandable outside the UU faith and free of jargon.
6.It must reflect themes we hear from the congregation.
7.It must be a useful leadership tool that can serve as both compass and yardstick.
After reviewing our congregational survey and considering results of the appreciative inquiry process, we listened intently to input at four congregational dialogue sessions attended by more than 70 congregants. We held many working sessions, exchanged even more emails and drafted dozens of iterations. After narrowing down our choice, we sought input from non-members and new visitors. We received Board support this month for the draft we are pleased to put forward for your consideration:
Foothills Unitarian Church awakens our spirits, heals our divisions and grows our faith, empowering us as partners in the unfolding meaning of life and equipping us to create more love and justice in our lives and in the world.
As you reflect on this statement, you may find a word or phrase you did not expect to see. Likewise, a word or phrase you expected to see may be missing. Like our faith, we strove for a statement packed with meaning and inviting to interpretations. In doing so, we hope you find in this draft one or more elements that speaks to you. We want to hear about that. If there are one or more elements you are wrestling with, we want to hear about that as well. We invite you to share your reflections in person at one or more of the dialogue sessions or online . You also may contact the Mission Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you might expect, the Task Force found this work challenging to say the least. One member likened it to packing a suitcase. You might want to put in everything you can think of, but then it will be too heavy to carry.
Our statement will never be carved in stone. But it does need to carry us forward five to eight years, which means this work should begin again in three to five years. Imagine where we might be then! The Task Force believes we packed carefully for our journey. We hope you do too and look forward to hearing from you.
Karen Harder, Erin Hottenstein, Michelle Venus, Larry Watson, and Rich Young