Reconstituting Abundance

Last Sunday, Chris Hahn began the Sunday service welcome by saying, "it's my privilege to serve on the board of trustees here at First Unitarian." The way he phrased it really caught my attention--I don't remember anyone putting it that way before. It is a privilege to serve as a trustee of this church, our beloved community. I've learned more about this community and myself by being on the board these past two years than I did in the previous ten. It can be a challenge, though for me much of the challenge comes in wanting so much to do a good job for the church, and not always being able to live up to our vision. (OK, sometimes it's challenging because we don't always see eye to eye. What, Unitarians disagreeing?! Say it's not so!)

At this month's board meeting, we continued the work on our strategic goals that we started at our retreat. The most pressing issue the Board and ministry sees at this time is to reconstitute our Abundance Ministry. A few hardy souls have continued the Abundance work, following up with pledge letters, sending thank yous and the like. But they could really use some help. So the Board decided to create a task force to rebuild Abundance. The task force will be made up of Board members, Finance Council members, the Abundance group and a few other folks. They will be working over the next few months to identify leadership, articulate the structure, processes and tasks of Abundance, and create a plan for follow-up and support.

As an aside: Some of you may be wondering just what Abundance does. The Abundance Ministry is our year-round stewardship campaign. Instead of having a campaign once a year when everyone pledges their financial support to the church, we have moved to a model in which congregation members are divided into twelve groups, and each month the members of one group are asked to pledge. Letters are sent to the people in the group, which they are asked to return with their pledge information. Follow-up calls are made to those who haven't responded and thank yous are sent to those who pledge. The Abundance Ministry, in coordination with the staff, handles this process. It includes LOTS of data input and maintenance. You can see why it could take a small army to manage all this work!

The board also continued our discussion of our youth member vacancy. Celeste Johnson, our current youth member, has agreed to work with our Director of Religious Education Eric Bliss and our new Youth Coordinator Emily House to develop a plan for how the youth might like to be involved with church governance. Chris Hahn will take a look at our by-laws to see how or if they will need a change, depending on what Celeste comes up with.

It's a privilege to work with the smart and dedicated people that serve on your Board of Trustees. I learn from them every month, and have learned a lot about myself in the process of working with them. This isn't a role I ever imagined myself playing, but I'm glad the universe lined up to allow me to play it, because I'm having a whole lot of fun!