At our joint Board/Ministry Council annual retreat last January, we identified four broad congregational goal areas for 2018 – 2019:
- Family ministry, intergenerational connections
- Building relationships between UUFA and the greater Athens community
- Communications: building trust, making sure all voices are heard
- Discernment and engagement: have structured deep conversations across the Congregation
The Board revisited these goal areas in August and created specific objectives for ourselves as this program year began. Now, six months later, it is worth thinking about how much progress we have made.
Here, then, is our mid-year report.
1. So far, the focus of the Board’s work on the goal of intergenerational ministry has been supporting the RE program. We hired Kelli McConnell as our new DRE, which required an expanded budget. We added to the EOV project to install new flooring in the Hoffman RE Wing, paint the walls and doors, and resurface and paint the ceiling. We added an expanded youth room to the project. The playground has been redone and the patio and new doors from the Fellowship Hall were late additions to the project as well. In our current follow-on campaign to raise an additional $36,000, projects to further support RE are prominent. We hope to redo three RE classrooms and install a safer and more attractive architectural fence around the playground.
2. Initiatives to build better community relationships within the board’s purview mostly concern use of our building. Throughout the Expanding Our Vision project, we have emphasized that increased and renovated space will allow us to more effectively live our values. Our Social Action Committee and other UUFA groups can meet and plan without the vexing space conflicts previously faced. Community groups can be invited to meet at the Fellowship because we have more space. We negotiated an arrangement with Congregation Children of Israel to hold their services at the Fellowship for the next eight months while their building project is underway. Other community organizations have asked to use spaces for meetings and events. Our revised rental and space utilization policies will continue to encourage groups to come into UUFA.
3. Better communications within our Fellowship and with the wider community is an ongoing challenge. We instituted monthly “Get on Board” columns in Tapestry this year and we are increasingly mindful about the importance of regularly posting our meeting minutes promptly. We still have work to do on the uuathensga.org web pages dedicated to the Board’s activities.
4. The Board partnered with the Committee on Shared Ministry to undertake a planning and discernment process. A questionnaire that explores the fundamental areas of value within the Fellowship went out in December to all members and friends. Responses will be tallied and then small discussion groups will be formed this winter and spring. We want to ensure that every voice is heard. This process will inform planning goals and we may want to revisit and revise our mission and vision statements as a final stage.
Like all of the other aspects of the Fellowship, the Board of Trustees has been busy this year as we complete our transition to our new building and find ways to use our spaces more effectively.
Bob McArthur, President, Board of Trustees