Values, Mission, Ends — A Call for Congregational Engagement

Values, Mission, Ends — A Call for Congregational Engagement

Congregational Ends adopted by Board of Trustees (June 13, 2023)

At their June meeting, UUCC’s Board of Trustees adopted new congregational ends. The adopted ends are a slightly revised version of what the Board of Trustees originally proposed and shared with the congregation in their report in April 2023. Changes were made in response to congregational feedback captured in the many sessions hosted by the BoT through April and May 2023.

Read more about the adoption of the ends in the Board’s meeting recap blogpost here.

UUCC’s new congregational ends are—

The people of UUCC … 

  1. Grow in spiritual depth, connect to awe and wonder, and nurture one another in the art of being human. 
  2. Deepen our Unitarian Universalist identity, teach it to our children, and share it with the world. 
  3. Strengthen relationships and cultivate an ever-wider, multigenerational circle of participation and leadership at UUCC. 
  4. Build a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community where BIPOC*, LGBTQ+**, and other marginalized communities find respite from racism and other oppressions. 
  5. Care for one another in times of joy, sorrow, transition, and need.
  6. Foster engagement and strengthen relationships within the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, Owen Brown community, and Howard County community. 
  7. Engage in intersectional justice work as a faith practice led by and in relationship with people and organizations who are most affected.
    • Dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves, our institutions, and the broader community. 
    • Reverse and reduce environmental injustice and damage caused by climate change. 
    • Reduce the effects of poverty, including food insecurity and housing insecurity. 

*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. 
** LGBTQ+ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning + other sexualities and non-binary gender 


Values and Mission adopted by Congregational Vote (June 4, 2023)

At UUCC’s 2023 Annual Meeting on June 4, the congregation voted to adopt the values and mission as proposed by the Board of Trustees. There were 138 votes to adopt, and one abstention.

UUCC’s new mission statement is—

UUCC embodies love in action. We:

Nurture spirits
Build community
Act for justice

UUCC’s new statement of values is—

The people of UUCC share these core values:

Awe & wonder
Compassion
Growth & transformation
Interdependence & interconnection

You’re Invited: Values Mission & Ends Structured Feedback Sessions (April 27, 2023)

  • Who: You! These statements belong to all of us.
  • What: A structured conversation on our proposed values, mission, and ends
  • When: Sundays after worship on April 30, May 14, May 21, and May 28
  • Where: Room 150, first floor of OBIC
  • Virtual option: 7PM on Monday, May 1 on Zoom | Join session here!

Over the past 7 months, the UUCC board has led a vibrant congregational effort to elucidate our collective core values, mission and aspirations.  Our UU living tradition demands that these core elements be regularly revisited and updated to remain true to our faith in a changing world.

Please join board members for a structured presentation and feedback session about the results. The values and mission statements will be voted on at the June 4 annual meeting; attending is a good way to become better informed.   Sessions are expected to last about 90 minutes.  (Just drop in – no registration!)

The Board is deeply grateful to each person who participated in our congregational conversations earlier this year.  This process literally could not have happened without you – thank you!


Values, Mission, Ends Report (April 14, 2023)

Thank you again to everyone who has participated in the Values, Mission, Ends discernment process so far!

The Board is pleased to share draft versions of the congregational values, mission statement, and ends. The report details the process undertaken by the congregation over the past several months to lead us to this point.

Please be on the look-out for upcoming opportunities to discuss what these statements mean to you ahead of a congregational vote on the values and mission. 


Values, Mission, Ends Update (March 22, 2023)

A big THANK YOU to all who have participated in UUCC’s Values, Mission, and Ends discernment process so far! 

Together, here is what you have accomplished —

  • 16 facilitators volunteered + trained
  • 13 facilitated conversations, with two more still to come
  • 115 congregants participated in a conversation, (so far!)

Congratulations and gratitude to all. The input you’re providing will shape UUCC’s future.  

What happens now?

The Board will now work with congregational consultant Laura Park to distill your input into a proposed statement of Values, Mission, and Ends.

What do I do next? Will I get to review the draft Values, Mission, and Ends before they are finalized?

Yes! The Board will be looking for your feedback on their draft statements later this spring.


Values, Mission, Ends Background Information

Once again, it’s time for us to evaluate our congregational priorities and decide how we want to move forward in the world.

The UUCC governance process calls for the Board to periodically and extensively consult with the congregation to develop meaningful mission-defining statements for UUCC.

Based on recommendations from the Trust and Reconciliation report and actions derived from the Group Relations Workshop in 2022, the UUCC Board of Trustees has chosen to undergo a discernment process to define an updated set of Values, Mission, and Ends (the detailed plans that reflect who we are together, and who we want to become as a congregation). 

Since UU congregations are self-governing, individual member engagement is critical to the success of this process.

The UUCC Board, with the support of Rev. Paige Getty and the Executive Team, has engaged an experienced Unitarian Universalist congregational consultant to guide us. The consultant has recommended, and the Board has approved, a plan to hold a series of small group facilitated conversations where UUCC community members will identify key values as well as share stories that reflect their individual perspective in answer to a “powerful question.” Board members will distill the essence of the collective voice of UUCC in drafting new Values, Mission, and Ends statements.

Small group facilitated conversations are taking place between February 12 and March 2, 2023. See below for the full schedule and to sign-up!

Your voice matters.

We’re looking forward to working together with you. 

If you have questions, please reach out to any member of the Values, Mission, Ends Shepherding Committee (valuesmissionends@uucolumbia.net), Board of Trustees, or Executive Team. 


Values, Mission, Ends Conversation Schedule

Thank you to all that participated in a facilitated conversation between February 12 and March 2.

SUNDAY, Feb 12 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 170 — childcare available!
MONDAY, FEB 13 — 6:30 to 9pm | Room 150
WEDNESDAY, FEB 15 — 9:30 to 12pm | Room 150
FRIDAY, FEB 17 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 150
SATURDAY, FEB 18 — 9:30 to 12pm | Room 170
SATURDAY, FEB 18 — 1 to 3:30pm | on Zoom
SUNDAY, FEB 19 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 170
SUNDAY, FEB 19 — 6 to 8:30 pm | Room 170 — childcare available!
TUESDAY, FEB 21 — 6:30 to 9pm | Room 150
WEDNESDAY, FEB 22 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 150
THURSDAY, FEB 23 — 6 to 8:30pm | on Zoom
SATURDAY, FEB 25 — 9:30 to 12pm | Room 170
SUNDAY, FEB 26 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 170
MONDAY, FEB 27 — 6 to 8:30pm | Room 150
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1 — 1:30 to 4pm | Room 150
THURSDAY, MARCH 2 — 6 to 8:30pm | Room 150

Resources

What to Know about the Values, Mission, Ends Discernment Process

Values, Mission, Ends FAQs

Values, Mission, and Ends (VME)

In the words of Laura Park, the UU congregational consultant guiding UUCC through our Values, Mission, Ends discernment process, Values, Mission, and Ends can be understood as answers to a series of increasingly specific questions. Each question lays the foundation for the next. To learn more about her approach, you may be interested in reading her book on governance, Nested Bowls.

Values 

What transcendent, timeless qualities of our religious community will we embody in all we do? Understanding our values allows us to articulate a congregational mission and to define “ends,” or specific goals to be accomplished in the next five years. 

Mission

If we live fully into our values, what is our transcendent purpose? What overarching difference are we here to make and for whom? Whose lives will we change and in what way? Our mission describes the ways in which we live out, and act on, our values. 

Ends

What specific, measurable differences will we make and for whom? Ends help us establish metrics for success.

Vision

In the past, UUCC had a Vision statement in the form of a list, which the Board used as the congregational input to define our Ends statements when we began to use policy-based governance in the early 2000s. In 2017, the UUCC Board decided to eliminate the Vision statement because they felt it was redundant with the Ends. Therefore, there is currently no UUCC Vision statement. Because the Values will serve as the foundation for the UUCC Mission and Ends that are developed during the process that we’re undertaking now, we may no longer need a congregational Vision statement. 

Covenant(s)

Congregational Covenant: Our congregation recites in worship each week the congregational covenant that was developed soon after Rev. Paige Getty was called. This covenant affirms shared promises to each other. A majority of the current congregation joined after the group process that generated our congregational covenant. The UUCC Board has not yet decided whether or when to update our congregational covenant, but it may be appropriate to do so when the decisions are finalized at the UUA level about revisions to Article II of the UUA bylaws, which is expected to replace the 7 Principles. A vote on a revised Article II is projected to take place at the UUA General Assembly in June 2024. 

Covenant of Right Relations (CRR): UUCC is currently in the process of socializing and exercising a Covenant of Right Relations. The purpose of this covenant is to establish specific agreements about how we will interact with each other. Many UU congregations have a Covenant of Right Relations to support maintaining healthy relationships and to support resolution of disagreements when they arise. The Covenant of Right Relations Committee was established by the UUCC Board in fall 2021 in response to a recommendation in the Trust and Reconciliation report. The committee formulated the draft CRR during 2022 and is engaging with the congregation to exercise, evaluate, and if necessary modify it in preparation for a vote to adopt it at the UUCC Annual Meeting in June 2023. We will be using the CRR to guide the conversational norms during the small group meetings for the Values, Mission, Ends development process.  

The UUCC Governance Process states in section II. A. 2. That at least every 7 years, the Board must work with the Executive Team, and “through extensive consultation with and involvement of the congregation” to develop the foundational guiding documents for UUCC. The most recent review was in 2017 but did not involve a congregation-wide discernment process. The process we are undertaking with Laura Park is intended to enable UUCC to develop governing documents that holistically represent the perspectives of our current congregation and our collective intentions for what we want to be and do in our current and future environment.  

The process of identifying our congregational Values will take place throughout Spring 2023. All members of the UUCC community are encouraged to provide input through a series of facilitated conversations. The Board of Trustees will distill this information into a proposed statement of values. At the annual meeting in June 2023, the congregation will vote to accept the stated values or return to the discernment process. 

The process of articulating new Mission and Ends statements, building on the values we establish together and based on the content of the small group conversations conducted this year, will be developed by the UUCC Board. This work will require more time so it will continue into the next fiscal year. 

The brief covenant that we speak at the beginning of each worship service, which refers to the Principles of Unitarian Universalism, will be revised following the UUA’s release of the updated Principles. 

The Covenant of Right Relations has been in progress since 2021 and, if approved by the congregation, will serve as a foundational document to support the Conflict Management Ministry which emerged as an action from the 2022 congregation-wide Group Relations Workshop. You will hear more about this work, and the team supporting it, in the coming months.

Broad congregational engagement is needed to allow the Board of Trustees to draft a values statement that truly reflects our community. 

If only a small part of the community participates, or if participation in the process is not representative of our community, the outcomes may not be sufficiently meaningful.

The discernment process we’re beginning now will help to answer this question. As we consider what difference we want to make and for whom, we will define our intentions for our role within and beyond UUCC. Join a small group facilitated conversation to contribute your perspective!

The Ends that are developed as part of this process are intended to provide a measurable benchmark. Ends should define what we want to accomplish by when, and at what cost. Clear, measurable Ends will support the Board of Trustees to evaluate the extent to which the Executive Team (Rev. Paige Getty and Executive Director Valerie Hsu) guides the congregation to achieve our intended results.

Yes, please!

This conversation will become more productive as more of our community gets involved. Since we’re establishing the foundations and priorities that will guide UUCC over the next 5-7 years, anyone with an interest in the future of the congregation is encouraged to participate. What kind of congregation do you (or would you) want to be a part of? What role do you hope this community can play in the world? You’re here at exactly the right time to help shape the answers to these questions, and your perspective is essential. 


“Faithful Questioning” Reflection by Rev. Paige Getty

On Sunday, January 8, 2023, Rev. Paige Getty led a service entitled “Faithful Questioning” which introduced the Values, Mission, Ends initiative to the congregation. We invite you to read the closing portion of her refection using the button link below, which provides context for our upcoming collective effort.

You can also listen to her full reflection here, which starts at 44 minutes, 50 seconds.