Get Input from Your Communities of Communities When Developing Guiding Documents Widen the Circle for your Mission, Vision, Covenant, Bylaws, Strategic Plan

Part of Sociocracy Resources

By Renee Ruchotzke

When your congregation is developing or revisiting "guiding documents" for leaders that are endorsed by the congregation as a whole (e.g. mission, vision, covenant, bylaws, strategic plan), you will want to have an effective and inclusive process that makes space for creative ideas to emerge.

In the Widening the Circle of Concern report from the Commission on Institutional Change, we are called to center voices that are on the margins. What does that look like in a strategic planning process, or when you are revisiting your covenant?

Paula Cole Jones offers the notion of a Community of Communities, where groups with common identities and interests meet and discern in caucus groups as part of any process that makes decisions for the congregation as a whole.

The following flow chart suggests that this happen early in the process. Once the working group is convened and has created an initial framing for the project, they can reach out to the various communities as part of the picture-forming process to get a more complex and inclusive understanding of the needs and desires of the different caucus groups. The working group then can synthesize the input and get feedback from the congregation using small, mixed cottage meetings or focus groups before making their first draft of the guiding document.

Flowchart showing a strategic planning process that includes Community of Communities

UU Congregations: A Community of Communities

By Paula Cole Jones

If we thought of our congregations as a community of communities, rather than a family, we can shift our self understanding in way that is more inclusive and expansive.

Community of Communities

Sophia Fahs Lecture by Paula Cole Jones: Building a Community of Communities

By Paula Cole Jones

General Assembly 2019 Event 266 Program Description Whether we consider faith formation, growth, social justice and/or dismantling white supremacy, Unitarian Universalists could use an identity update. This presentation embraces who we are and challenges who we think we are. Seeing ourselves as a...

Sophia Fahs Lecture

Creating a Community of Communities

By Paula Cole Jones, Renee Ruchotzke

Paula Cole Jones introduced the notion of congregations as a Community of Communities to foster inclusion and diversity at last year’s Fahs Lecture. We’ll expand on how to introduce and begin practicing this new framing in your congregation.


About the Author

Renee Ruchotzke

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) is a Congregational Life Consultant and program manager for Leadership Development.

For more information contact .