Wondering with AWE, June 2018

Serving Our Values, Mission & Vision, by Rev. Alison Wilbur Eskildsen (AWE)

June begins a new theme for the month—service. In religious contexts, leaders of faith communities may be called ‘servant’ leaders.

You might think that I, and other religious leaders, serve you, the members of this congregation. That’s partially true. We serve your needs by offering you opportunities to grow in how you understand the meaning of life, by caring for you when you are challenged in some way, by organizing activities for you to make the world a better place for all, by making significant connections with others, and more. In doing these things together we actually are serving each other. This is our shared ministry.

But more importantly, we are serving the mission (or purpose of UUFA) and the vision (what we aspire to become). Here are the mission and vision as created by the congregation in an open and democratic process:

Our Vision – The vision of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens is to be a beacon of liberal religion and spirituality in Northeast Georgia. Guided by our Unitarian Universalist principles, our light will shine more brightly as we welcome greater diversity and search for deeper meaning. By speaking and acting for justice, and modeling sustainable stewardship of personal and earth resources, we strive to transform our world. Adopted 5-15-2011

Our Mission – The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens is a caring congregation of diverse peoples, ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. Our purpose is to support our members and to commit deeply to our shared Unitarian Universalist principles by worshiping, playing, and exploring life’s meaning together, thus promoting love and justice in our larger community and the world. Adopted 5-15-2011

These statements are now seven years old. Experts suggest that since membership changes over time and since time may change a group’s priorities, these should be reconsidered every 5-7 years. So it’s time to discover how our mission or vision might need to better reflect us. The process not only checks in with current ideas, it provides a chance for current members to invest themselves with that mission and vision. Given that we will be completing the expansion of our building and parking in the fall, and although we made some initial programming plans for that the new space, in the fall may be a perfect time to revisit these statements.

Additionally, at this year’s Board of Trustees and Ministry Council planning retreat, the two groups determined four general goals for the upcoming year. These will inform both governance and ministry activities, many of which are already in the works. They are:

–Family ministry, intergenerational interconnectedness
–Building relationships between UUFA and others in greater Athens community
–Communications: process (effective), building trust, making sure all voices can be heard
–Discernment: have structured deep conversations across the Congregation

I hope you’ll be part of our Fellowship activities that serve these goals in the coming program/fiscal year to begin in July.

Until then, blessings to you.