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.