As we come to the end of the first Phase of our capital campaign, the focus is beginning to shift from reviving our historic building to reviving our mission.
The Board has continued to consult with Dan Hotchkiss as we continue that transformation. His consistent perspective has suggested the work of creating a shared mission would require substantial effort by the Board, Minister, staff, and congregation. Additionally, the Board and Minister would need to be supported by improved governance processes that relieved them from routine and tactical decisions.
As the tremendous turnout at the two Imagination Cafés (Jan. 28 and Feb. 11) testifies, the church is off to a great start. To complement and enable this missional work, a parallel effort on governance has also begun: the Board created a Governance Task Force (currently consisting of Bob Gibbons and Dave Juitt) intended to help build a shared understanding of which kinds of decisions can be made by whom, with a goal of optimizing the management and operations of the church so that our precious resources (like space or money or staff time) can be devoted most effectively.
As an example, one important (and sometimes difficult) aspect of church governance focuses on the use of the church’s facilities. Who has priority for using our spaces (both within and outside the congregation)? Who can use the space for free, and who must contribute rent (and how much)? Do members of the congregation have special privileges? Do some organizations (e.g. mission-aligned or partners) or activities (e.g. weddings or protests) have special status? Who makes the decisions?
The goal of the Governance Task Force is to look at time- and resource-consuming issues like these to create general policies, policies that will better guide church administrators in making these decisions more equitably and easily. The first of their policies was presented to the Board, and passed unanimously, at the February meeting. That policy specifies a small number of “classes” of users – like members or partners, for example – so that decisions can be more easily made. That policy document will be included in the minutes of the Board meeting for anyone to reference, and we will make sure that Jane has copies in the office as well.
More clarifying policies will be coming as we strengthen the church for mission work. If you have an issue that you wish the Board would address, please send a note to Bob Gibbons or Dave Juitt for the Governance Task Force.