Monday, April 26, 2010

Healthy Relationships

Third in a series of posts about the April 2010 UUA Board meeting

What happens when 25 UUA board trustees start making "cold calls" to UUA congregations to ask about healthy relationships between the Board and their congregation?

Well, they are not all "cold calls" -- but the random selection of 100 congregations for this project means many trustees are calling congregations outside of their districts, in addition to the face to face meetings between trustees who know the leaders of the congregations they are meeting with well. We intentionally choose a representative sample of congregations, not members, so half of the congregations we are interviewing have less than 100 members (as do half of the UUA member congregations).

The interviews are not completed, but an early, consistent, and not surprising finding is that most congregations we have talked with feel they have no relationship with the Board, good or bad. When they think "UUA" they think staff. Congregations are appreciating the contact, as are the trustees. The interview process is based on Appreciative Inquiry, which asks people to identify some of the best of the past, so that it can be part of a bridge into the future. We are getting a number of concrete suggestions for how we create a future healthy relationship -- we will be providing a summary at General Assembly, and I will post more here when the interviews are completed.

What I am most struck by though, is how many of the conversations really do end up painting a picture of a UUA with fully engaged congregations achieving things that matter. Asked how she would feel if we really were able to work together to accomplish what had been identified, one interviewee simply said "I would cry".

Next post: The Observer

No comments: