Getting Better at Planning and Measuring, One Step at a Time

OK, I have to talk about “policy governance” here for a bit, but KEEP READING! 

A brief refresher for our newest leaders:  the Board works to discern the will of the congregation and writes Ends Statements that give direction for our ministries and programming.  The Executive (Rev. Mark Ward) takes those Ends Statements, writes a few paragraphs about what he thinks they mean “in action” and then works with staff who work with volunteers to move the congregation toward the Ends Statements.  The Executive is then evaluated on the achievement of the Ends.

This year, the Board suggested that the Executive choose a small subset of the Ends to work on and then propose measurable goals for them.  That way, by next June, we ought to be able to see if we’ve met those goals.   It’s a very sensible way to organize an institution, but it’s not easy.

Here is the Executive’s 2016-17 WORK PLAN FOR ACHIEVING ENDS:


“We will embrace principles, values and practices which explore the sacred in the world and the mystery of existence.”

“We will gather together in worship which guides and sustains our individual and communal response to the sacred through multifaceted creative, artistic, and musical experiences.”

Our chief goal in this area is to more deeply integrate families in the worship & spiritual life of the congregation.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. 30% of registered families will be present in Sunday worship at least twice a month.
  2. The lead minister will report that at least 50 children or youth had roles in Sunday worship at some time during the regular worship year.
  3. The director of lifespan religious education will report that at least 10 UUCA families have developed family spiritual practices at home.
  4. At least 4 parents of children in religious education will have given statements in worship about why this congregation is important to them.
  5. We will hold 6 planned multigenerational activities during the year at which at least 8 children and 4 adults participate.


“Congregants will feel welcome and connected with each other”

Our chief goal in this area is to improve retention of UUCA members.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. 75% of congregants interviewed at each stage of the Connection process – visitors entering new member classes, those contacted after their first year & those contacted after three years at UUCA, will report that they feel welcomed and connected to the congregation.
  2. 66% of new members will report being involved in some activity of the congregation within six months of joining.
  3. 50% of members contacted after their first year will report being currently involved in some activity of the congregation.
  4. 33% of members contacted after three years at UUCA will report being currently involved in some activity of the congregation.


We will act meaningfully and visibly in community service, advocacy, and education.”

Our chief goal in this area is to broaden meaningful participation in the Social Justice ministry of the congregation.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. At least 150 congregants will participate in the Just Change workshop.
  2. At least 150 congregants will take part in programs arising from the Just Change workshop.
  3. At least 25% of congregants will have reported some activity during this church year to broaden their understanding or awareness of racism.
  4. At least 25% of congregants will participate in service, advocacy and education outside of the congregation.

Kay Aler-Maida: Open Space What?

We’ll be launching UUCA’s new active Earth and Social Justice movement this month, September 24-25, with a forum entitled JUST CHANGE using Open Space Technology.

Open what?just-changeflower

If you’ve registered for JUST CHANGE and are familiar with Open Space Technology, you can skip the rest of this. If not, please read on.

Open Space Technology is not the latest coffee shop for geeks (in fact, it has nothing to do with electronic gadgets) but a way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to hold meetings that get stuff done. Participants create and manage their own agenda in parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance.  

The result is effective connecting and strengthening of what’s already happening in the organization: planning and action, learning and doing, passion and responsibility, participation and performance.

Open Space Technology has been around for over 30 years and has been proven successful with groups as small as 5 and as large as 3,000 and with organizations of all types and structures.

How does it work?

The facilitator opens the space by inviting people to post agenda topics. These people become the conveners of those topics.

Participants pick from among the posted agenda items and join small group working groups led by the conveners.

  • All the issues that are most important to those attending are raised and included in the agenda.
  • All of the issues raised are addressed by the participants best capable of getting something done about them, although you don’t need to be an expert to join in. All you need is interest or passion.
  • All the most important ideas, recommendations, discussions, and next steps are documented in a report.

Everyone’s focus is on what speaks to their heart and from that comes the future. Its power lies in the simplicity of drawing on the passions of the participants and opening the space.

This is what we will be doing at JUST CHANGE – opening the space to include you and me and all at UUCA in creating the future of our Earth and Social Justice movement. The future belongs to those who show up.

Kay Aler-Maida, President, UUCA Board of Trustees