Democracy is at the heart of Unitarian Universalist congregations, including All Souls. We are an independent congregation, in an active association and relationship with other Unitarian Universalist congregations locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The ultimate authority within the church is held by the congregation, which elects the Board of Trustees, calls its primary minister and votes on fiscal decisions and major initiatives.
We internally use a policy governance style-organizational system, which guides action with broad statements of goals articulated by our leadership. It is a transparent system that establishes clear lines of authority and accountability while encouraging open communication and avoiding micro-managing. Policy Governance entrusts people with the freedom to do their jobs creatively and effectively.
Board of Trustees Meetings
For the 2021-22 church year, the Board of Trustees will hold business meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. (except for the June meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, June 15.) Members and friends are welcome to attend. Click on the meeting date links below to see the meeting agenda and get the Zoom meeting link:
2020-2021 Approved Meeting Minutes
Links to helpful Governance Documents and Resources:
ASUC Bylaws – last revised and approved Dec. 3, 2017
All Souls Board Policy Manual Approved – approved Jan 12, 2021
Feedback Procedure Feedback-Procedure
Safe Church Policy All-Souls-Safe-Church
The Board Policy Manual is a work in progress and will be routinely updated. Anyone with questions or comments about policies, procedures or any other aspect of governance, please contact Rev. Joel or a representative of the Board’s Governance Task Force (Jean Miller, Bob Rayhill, and Cathy Tanner).
2021-2022 Church Year Key Elements
The annual Vision of Ministry is developed together by the Board and minister and is utilized to inform ministry activities and programming. Our 2020-2021 Vision of Ministry is:
- Keeping our congregation connected and cared for during this time of isolation
- Continuing to plan for a successful interim ministry
- Planning for financial sustainability
In the future, the church’s annual Vision of Ministry will be informed by “Open Questions” that the Board, staff and congregation consider together over the course of the previous year—questions which are designed to facilitate meaningful conversations about our congregation’s future. We are in the process of determining our Open Questions for the 2021-22 church year.
Additionally, the Board set operational and aspirational goals for itself which can be found here:
Information and History on Policy Governance
In 2015, the All Souls Board, together with Rev. Anastassia, began the process of researching and then moving toward a policy governance structure utilizing Rev. Dan Hotchkiss’ Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership as its basis. This work involved the creation of a governance task force, extensive study, congregational input, a bylaws update, and crafting and re-crafting of the first draft of the Board Policy Manual. Recently, Rev. Joel’s insight and experience with policy governance helped us finalize the first draft of the Manual, which was approved in January 2021. (See link above).
The Board Policy Manual defines the Board’s own role and the roles of others, delegates authority, gives guidance, and creates accountability. Policies provide a framework for decisions to be made by individuals and by the various groups within the congregation away from the Board table.
By policy, the Board fixes responsibility for making decisions, protects the congregation’s human and material resources, and sets standards for the conduct of the congregation’s work. As policies continue to be created and refined, the Board Policy Manual will be updated. Policy governance allows the board to focus less on daily operations and more on mission, vision, evaluation and strategic planning.
A good description of what we are working toward with policy governance can be found in this article and is copied here:
What a governance change process tries to do, is to define clear spaces for discernment, for strategic planning and goal setting, for energetic, innovative programming and service, and for celebrating what is going well and shoring up what needs improvement.
The hoped-for results?
- A Board that articulates mission and vision, evaluates results, and ensures responsible stewardship of resources.
- Ministry leaders, paid and unpaid, who create effective programs with the support of a structure that delegates authority and requires accountability.
- Members and others who enjoy many opportunities to learn and grow and serve in an atmosphere of trust and creativity where structure, goals, and purposes are clear.