An Update on our Board Consultation from the Board of Trustees to the Members and Friends of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
After the Congregational Budget meeting last December, your board began working with a UUA consultant, the Rev. David Pyle, from the Joseph Priestly District. We have found the consultation process to be very helpful in affirming what works well for our church, and in addressing what we need to do differently. Our fundamental aim is to take a new approach in our working relationships and processes to better identify, preserve, and enhance our ability to serve the mission of our church.
Our first strategy is to adjust our system of policy governance to make it more responsive to our congregation’s needs and circumstances, and to better facilitate efforts to fulfill our mission. This includes developing a more collaborative relationship between the board and the senior minister, with reduced emphasis on the executive function of the senior minister and increased emphasis on the proactive visioning function of the board. These changes will serve First Unitarian in the present with our current leadership, and in the future with ministers and board members in decades to come.
We are also assessing our staffing structure in light of our membership and budgetary limitations. This process includes informational staff interviews conducted by the UUA and a careful effort to allocate staff based on our programming needs. The board will make staffing decisions taking into consideration the recommendations made by Rev. Pyle. This process will also involve some changes in volunteer positions, such as implementing a finance team to work with the board. We will provide an update on staffing at the annual meeting in May.
Beyond these structural changes, we plan to administer two self-assessment instruments in the fall.
A ministerial assessment, “Fulfilling the Call,” will involve a task force working with our Senior Minister and representative members of the congregation. Working within a covenantal process, this assessment will help our minister identify his strengths and reflect on areas where he might grow.
A congregational assessment will also be done, using an assessment tool called, “Understanding our Ministry Together: An Evaluation Process for Congregations.” It employs small focus groups and an adaptable set of questions to assess holistically the effectiveness of the ministry of the congregation, lay leaders, and minister(s).
The questions in the assessment may be similar to those posed by Steven Mead, our Interim Director of Religious Education.
We will benefit from the guidance of Rev. Pyle in both the ministerial assessment and the congregational assessment. Both assessments will need to involve follow-up.
It is clear to us that this process needs to take time. We must all commit to bringing this church to a state of sustainable health to more fully serve its members, its larger mission to the community, and Unitarian Universalism in our hearts and in the world.
Our Board of Trustees:
Kathy Parker Bob Mitchell
Becky Studer Corey Layman
Marty Lieb Audrey Masalehdan
Bari Roman Betty Duquesnoy