By Julie Bock, Congregation President 2016-18
This year, the Board of Trustees is embarking on a journey to listen to the congregation about the best of who we are, in order to imagine what could be. This is the heart of First Church. It’s about whom we see ourselves becoming, how we want to move through the world and creating a road map of how to get there. And you have the opportunity to actively birth this vision.
Beginning in October, the Board of Trustees will sponsor Our Courageous Future: Deepening Our Vision Together workshops to hone our vision and Ends. Again, using an Appreciative Inquiry process, a Big, Juicy Question (you’re going to have to stay tuned for it!) will be presented in small groups. A question that will help us clarify our values and where we want them to take us in the future. These sessions are going to be engaging, active, and encourage us to look at how our past and present informs our future, asking us to courageously and boldly envision our dreams.
As you might remember, in the fall of 2015 the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee entered a new era by adopting a new Mission Statement: Nurture the Spirit. Engage the Mind. Inspire Action.
First Church democratically selected this phrase after a careful process of Appreciative Inquiry. It is a strengths-based expression which advocates collective inquiry into the best of what is, in order to imagine what could be. Many of you engaged in listening sessions which worked in a specific format, leading with a provocative question. Our Transition Team took on this important task to develop a mission statement that was relevant and resonated with our passionate congregation.
We now need to engage in a similar process to develop our vision – in the form of Board End Statements – for First Church’s future. Our mission is what we do. Our vision is where we dream to be in the future. Our Ends are the congregational goals that: 1) guide the work of our congregation, 2) grow out of our longer vision, and 3) last 3-5 years. This is BIG work so we have engaged a consultant to help us with the process.
After we listen to your dreams this fall, your Board of Trustees will take all that passionate information and have a retreat in midwinter, guided by our consultant. From the time spent analyzing all that material, we’ll produce visionary Ends Statements that the congregation will be able to digest and provide feedback on.
We anticipate completing this process in spring 2018, wherein our brilliant staff will be given the job of implementing these congregational dreams.
I hope that you see that this is a transparent and democratic process. I hope you are as excited as I am to start this journey to realize our dreams, plan their attainment, and start living them!
To sign up for the workshop and to see the dates and times, click here.