UUCM Listening Sessions: Thank you for helping to shape the work of the church!

Fred Hulting, Board President

During November, December, and January, the Board held a series of open listening sessions that were attended by 45 members and friends of the congregation.  The purpose of these sessions was to gather input that will be used by the Board, Council, and Staff as they plan programs and initiatives over the next couple of years.

What did we hear at these sessions?   We heard that there is tremendous support for the church and its current direction.  You talked about the strength you draw from our community.  You praised the social justice work of the church and expressed a desire to see it make even more of an impact in the western suburbs.  And you said that you were proud of our church values and mission, and that you want us to spread the word and make UUCM more visible in the surrounding community.

In addition, you shared many ideas for making the church even better.  You talked about the barriers created by hybrid church, and ways that we might help our online and in-person communities thrive.  You asked for more connections across generations. You want to make sure people find connections with others who share their interests and passions.  And while programs like social justice are strong, you described other areas that need more attention.  We heard your many ideas for programs, activities, and initiatives, and captured them in 15 pages of session notes.

Following the sessions, the Board held a workshop to synthesize these notes into a few key themes that were then reviewed and discussed with the council and staff.  From that discussion we produced a summary document of priorities that church leaders will use as they make plans and carry out their work.

The priorities of the congregation have not changed much since the last listening sessions in 2019.  But the last two years of the pandemic have had an impact, reshaping the experience of church and creating a future full of new challenges and opportunities.  Thank you for your input, which will help the church continue to move confidently into that future.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the summary! I appreciate the ideas of flexible prioritization, and on developing leaders within the community. I feel like I have heard the theme of “developing leaders” for several years now; are there any plans in place for what this means strategically or tactically?

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  2. Stef, yes, this was one of the developmental goals that the Board identified two years ago prior to hiring Lisa. Nothing substantive has happened in the last two years with the focus on COVID, although the Board has been working its succession plans and experiences for Board members. These themes reinforce that it is still something we need to work on, and we hope to do that in the coming year.

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