… we foster a trusting environment of collaboration, care, and creativity in which we all thrive, collectively and individually, demonstrate a relational approach to teamwork, and serve the ends of this congregation.
Congregational work is joyful and fun and meaningful. No two days are the same. We get paid to read and think and write and talk about things that are important … or at least interesting. We get to be creative and innovative. We conduct programming that touches people’s lives in profound ways. We offer space for healing and growing and changing. We facilitate connections among people who might never have met otherwise. This work is rewarding.
And it is definitely people work—unique, relational, quirky, conflict-ridden, loving, miscommunicative, energized … all the things that humans bring to human living.
It’s true in our work with you—the congregation—and it’s true in the relationships among us who serve on your staff team.
Eight of us work for you: Hannah, Kelli, Michael, Robin, Sara, Sean, Valerie, and I (see our photos and read more about each of us here). Back in September, we devoted two days to a staff development retreat, facilitated by Sana Saeed and Rev. Libby Smith from the UUA’s Central East Region. In addition to conducting exercises to help us know one another better and strengthen relationships as a staff team, Libby and Sana also encouraged us to craft a staff covenant—an expression of how we will conduct ourselves with each other, recognizing that our jobs exist to serve the mission and covenant of UUCC, but that our staff relationships are not the same as member-to-member relationships; thus, we need a unique covenant for our unique relationships.
We all contributed fodder at that time—naming our own needs and the promises we can make—and in the months since then we’ve devoted time in our staff meetings to talking about particulars. What does collaboration mean and look like? Is trust granted or earned? What are the features of good communication?
The process itself has been valuable. We’ve been vulnerable and honest with each other. We understand each other better. And we’re pleased with the product that begins, “We, the staff members of UUCC, covenant to exemplify these practices in our interactions with each other as we serve the congregational mission with openness and joy…” (Read the entire covenant here.)
We know that it will continue to be hard, this being human together. But we will hold this covenant as a reminder of who and how we intend to be.
I often have mused that the work of ministry would be so much easier if there were no people involved. It would be entirely uninteresting … and probably easier. But I’m not actually looking for easy. I’m looking for meaningful, healing, rewarding. And you, UUCC (and staff!), continue to deliver. Thank you.
With love and appreciation,
P.S. These next two weeks (from Monday, January 25, through Monday, February 8) I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from UUCC work—i.e., no Zooming on Sundays or otherwise, no email, no phone calls. See you in February!