Friday, October 21, 2016

First Blog, Our Values

Hi Everyone,

This is my first blog as the Chair of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. The reason I wanted to start a blog is to communicate with the congregation in an open and honest way what is on my mind. This will not be a repository of helpful information about the church, nor will it be a tidy re-cap of the board's weekly progress. But it will be an open diary to some of the issues the board is facing and things that I am thinking about, from the perspective of the board, and also my personal perspective.

Well, let's get right into it:

Last Tuesday was my first UUCAVA Board meeting as Chairman. I thought very hard about the kind of meeting I wanted-- not a lengthy discussion on strategy and tactics, but rather a discussion on our values and how our board to can work together as a team. We cannot accomplish anything as a board unless we first build a sense of trust and teamwork among ourselves. This will be my underlying focus for the first year. The good news is that I think we can get there quickly, as work has already been done in this area, and we have a highly capable and self-aware board.

Over the course of e-mail chatter back and forth the week before the board meeting, Kristen Patterson and Andrea Ryon both uncovered a long-lost archive (actually only 1-year old) document that we called the Covenant of Mutuality. It states this--

The Board and the Senior Minister will abide by a covenant of mutuality in a spirit of openness and deep respect:

Gratitude – in appreciation of our togetherness, we actively seek reasons for gratitude and we express our thanks fully, freely and frequently.

Trust - assuming good intentions, we extend trust freely and hold it reverently, and when the going gets tough we turn to wonder.

Commitment -authentically present, we bring our whole selves, we honor our commitments, and do not give up on one another

Diversity – listening deeply, we seek out diversity, celebrate our differences, and practice empathy.

Compassion - practicing kindness, we communicate honestly and compassionately, making room for one another's feelings.

I am so glad this re-surfaced. If you ever are confused on where to start on any journey, start with values-- and not just the words, but the real meaning behind them. 

I am grateful the hard work had been done to come up with these values and this important covenant. These are the guideposts on how we act toward each other-- between board member, between board and Senior Minister, and through modeling this behavior, board member to all congregants. 

Be Kind, Be Well,