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  • Amending Bylaws

    All bylaws need to be amended from time to time. Ideas and thoughts change, and new situations arise that need to be addressed in the bylaws. Bylaws should include provisions on how they can be amended.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Bylaws Task Forces

    Working on Bylaws means learning together, designing a transparent process with input, and building consent before congregational voting.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Writing Effective Bylaws: Emerging Practices

    The Bylaws provide the formal structure of your congregation and allow for maintaining and changing that structure. Bylaws hold the highest level of authority of congregational guiding documents and are the hardest to change.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/10/2019
  • Writing the History of Your Congregation

    A shared history is a powerful bond and an awareness of history can foster a sense of pride and a feeling of connectedness. The telling of this history, whether in oral or written form, is one of the most important ways that newer members of a family are welcomed into the group...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/24/2019
  • Annual Reports

    Annual reports, often published in conjunction with a congregation's annual meeting, provide an opportunity to report on the annual goals that are serving the mission and vision of the congregation
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/24/2019
  • Let’s You and They Fight: Triangulation

    Whenever two parts of a system become uncomfortable with one another, they will turn their focus to a third person or issue as a way to stabilize their own relationship with one another.
    By Kenneth Hurto | 3/22/2019
  • Strategies for Adding a Service

    Adding services can provide a wonderful, invigorating climate for growth of all sorts, both individual and institutional. But large-scale change without adequate planning not only may doom the change but also may create additional problems. Therefore, ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Considering Your Staff When Adding a Service

    Adding a worship service inevitably means more work for the congregation’s staff, both professional and support.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Considering Religious Education When Adding a Service

    One of the key challenges in adding an additional service is providing religious education for children. What is needed, what will be offered, and how it will be done are large questions that need and deserve special consideration.
    3/22/2019
  • Sample Surveys for Adding a Second Service

    Three sample surveys that can be modified easily for your specific situation.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Common Concerns about Adding a Second Service

    Any change is difficult for an organization, but the change in number of worship services seems to prompt some particular fears and feelings. They need to be articulated, recognized, affirmed, and responded to so the change can move forward effectively. The following are some...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Logistical Questions for Adding a Second Service

    Adding an additional service will have a real impact on congregational life. Once the decision to add a service is made, the designing and implementation stages begin. Here are a list of questions to help guide your planning:
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/22/2019
  • Tips for Engaging Controversial Issues

    Church leaders need to give serious consideration to whether a controversial issue should be acted on or not.
    By William E Gardner | 3/22/2019
  • Policies on Public Witness, Actions and Statements

    Some of the most volatile disagreements in the life of the congregations have to do with who speaks for the congregation on controversial issues. How does a congregation decide?
    By William E Gardner | 3/22/2019
  • Embodying Beloved Community and Covenantal Relationship

    Establishing and maintaining Beloved Community depends on establishing and maintaining covenantal relationships. The covenant is our sacred promise of meaningful relationship, which we mutually develop
    By Jan Christian, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 3/18/2019
  • Being a Mission-Centered Congregation

    A congregation’s mission is an answer to the question, “Why does this congregation exist in the world?” Congregational leaders are constantly faced with a barrage of decisions. Without a clear mission, how can they make those decisions?
    By James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 3/18/2019
  • A Theology for Leaders

    What do we need as a core theology to take down today's giants of racism, patriarchy, environmental destruction, and other ills of the 21st century?
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/1/2019
  • Governance Manual for Congregational Boards

    What are the basic documents that every board member should have at their fingertips? Here is a handy list to construct your own board manual.
    By Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe, David Pyle, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 1/22/2019
  • 20 Suggestions for a Welcoming Congregational Office

    An accessible, attractive and efficient office space makes staff, volunteers and visitors happy and productive!
    By Anne Odin Heller | 11/21/2018
  • Job Descriptions for Board Officers

    What are typical job descriptions for the officers on a congregational board? Here is summary of typical roles and responsibilties.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 10/31/2018
  • Keeping Your Church Building and People Safe

    Where to find information and links to UUA resources from out Safe Congregations team. It includes resources and sample policies to prevent and address violence, abuse, harassment, inappropriate behavior, and other threats to safety.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 10/31/2018
  • October is Benefits Tune-Up Month!

    Is your congregation an employer? In other words do you pay folks to do work? Be it a minister, religious educator, custodian, musician, administrator or some other position? Are any of those folx participants in any of the UUA plans? Retirement, health insurance, etc?
    By Jan Gartner | 10/4/2018
  • Who should be the Congregation's Executive in Policy Governance?

    Congregational Life Staff are often asked who performs executive functions in UU Congregations under policy governance. Here are some considerations.
    By David Pyle | 9/27/2018
  • Help Keep Your Board Out of the Weeds with "Dashboard" Financial Reports

    It's hard for boards to operate with a 30,000 foot view of the congregation's finances when they are given detailed spreadsheets of tracking the minutia of the budget. A much more useful tool is a "dashboard" report.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 8/16/2018
  • Whole Congregation Decisions

    Which decisions should be made by the "congregation in meeting" via a congregational vote according to congregational polity, and which decisions can be made by the governing board?
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/4/2018
  • Two Services - Considering, Doing, Thriving!

    Out of space? Good for you! Here are some things to think about and plan for. Going to two services offers advantages beyond solving space problems. It offers choices in service timing, for instance. This might seem like a small matter at this point, but congregations who shrink...
    By Christine C. Robinson, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 4/3/2018
    Filed in: LeaderLab
  • Anxiety and the Brain

    Learn how the human brain is impacted by anxiety in organizations like congregations.
    3/16/2018
  • Executive Sessions

    pen process and transparent communication are essential to self-governing institutions like congregations. Board meetings are usually open to any of the members. If this happens, good hospitality and boundaries can make it a positive experience for all. But there are also times...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 3/16/2018
  • Executive Committee Policy

    Congregations often have unexpected issues that arise between board meetings that need immediate attention. An Executive Committee typically conducts the current and ordinary business of the congregation between meetings of the Board of Trustees.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 3/16/2018
  • Board Retreats

    Many congregations start the church year with a retreat for the Board of Trustees (including the Minister). Ideally, this retreat is held Friday evening through Saturday afternoon, at a site away from the place you usually meet. Perhaps you could go to someone's lake cabin or a...
    By MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 2/28/2018
  • The Peril of Anonymous Feedback

    Healthy and transparent communication needs to be mutual, with all parties taking responsibility for their words. Leaders should have firm policies against accepting anonymous feedback. And yet, there are times when cultural differences or power differentials require a nuanced...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 2/28/2018
  • The Unique Finances of Your Minister

    You’ve probably heard that there are special tax rules for ministers. Most church leaders don’t need to be experts on ministerial compensation, but it’s important to understand the basics of how payroll and taxes for the minister differ from other employees. ...
    By Jan Gartner, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances | 2/23/2018
  • Great Teams Make Great Boards

    Congregational boards are intended to provide collective discernment;rather than be a forum for competing interests or agendas. Faithful boards arein alignment with and accountable to the mission and vision of the congregation.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/14/2018
  • Creating Healthy Communication Channels

    The flow of information in an organization is a bit like the flow of water after a rain. Ideally, the information is shared evenly, and the members are able to absorb it like loamy soil. But information that triggers anxiety can be like a heavy rain. Without established channels...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/10/2018
  • Confidentiality and Healthy Disclosure for Boards

    Balancing transparency and confidentiality can be challenging for congregational board members, staff, and other leaders who have access to sensitive information. Healthy, vibrant systems need as much open communication as possible. White Supremacy Culture sometimes uses "the...
    2/9/2018
  • My Love-Hate Relationship with Surveys

    I have a love-hate relationship with surveys, especially surveys used as a part of congregational planning. Frankly, used in this context they can often do more harm than good. When used as one among a number of ways of collecting data, they can get great and comparatively easy...
    By Ian Evison, MidAmerica Region of the UUA | 2/9/2018
  • How to “Right Size” a Governing Board

    Congregational Governing Boards have different structures, cultures, assumptions, and responsibilities in different congregations. The size and structure of a governing board is dependent upon the roles and responsibilities of the board itself. Here are a series of factors that...
    By David Pyle | 2/9/2018
  • Overcoming the Resistance to Change

    Organizations, like all systems, seek equilibrium. If a congregation is thrown out of balance by the prospect of change, most members will seek to restore order and sameness. This is natural and should not be a reason to judge one another. Healthy organizations have developed...
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 2/9/2018
  • A Quick Look at Written Congregational Surveys

    Surveys that work best come out of an understanding that the job of leadership is not to “make people happy” but to help the congregation live out its mission. Surveys that are useless at best and divisive at worst typically seek to honor personal preferences about various areas...
    By Jan Christian, Pacific Western Region of the UUA | 2/2/2018
  • Planning for Building Maintenance

    "Deferred Maintenance" and "Building Reserves" are terms that are often tossed around when talking about the budget, but what do they mean?
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/29/2018
  • 6 Styles of Congregational Governing Boards

    Every Unitarian Universalist Congregation is designed differently. How each congregation functions is a blend of congregational experience, culture, and history. Congregational structures are also affected by whether and which other congregations members have attended or been a...
    By David Pyle | 1/17/2018
  • Develop Leadership Development Teams, Not Just "Nominating Committees"

    Sustainable leadership development cannot be reactive to these kinds of crises. Leadership Development should be an ongoing process in your congregation that includes the following practices: Identify, Invite, Inform, Involve and Inquire.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/16/2018
  • Creating a Purpose-Based Budget

    We often claim that budgets are moral documents, and that congregational budgets should reflect our values. But line item budgets that include "office supplies, utilities, salary" and other such descriptions don't show how these line items serve the mission of the congregation....
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 1/5/2018
  • Practicing Intercultural Agility

    In order for a congregation to reflect the global majority in its membership, its leaders must learn to model how to de-center the culture of the congregation from White identity and culture. Here are some practices to get you started.
    By Renee Ruchotzke | 11/15/2017
  • Tools and Methods to Keep Meetings Fresh and Effective

    A wide assortment of tools and methods can enhance a meeting’s productivity and enjoyment. (Yes, most meetings can be fun!) Below are a few suggestions. ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • Handling Difficult Behavior in Meetings

    Learn about some common difficult meeting behaviors and a few strategies to cope with them.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • Dealing with Conflict in Meetings

    Learn about how to prevent destructive conflict in meetings by nurturing a culture that promotes respectful communication and creative interchange.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • Tips for Holding a Meeting

    Learn how to better prepare for a meeting with tips on setting up space and meeting flow.
    11/3/2017
  • Meeting Preparation

    Planning well in advance enables leaders to relax and be more present at the actual event, in addition to creating a comfortable environment for participants. The following are nine key areas to consider in preparing meetings. ...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017
  • Maximizing Participation in Meetings

    If meetings are to be truly meaningful and transformational, it is crucial to involve participants fully. Read eleven ways to maximize participation.
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 11/3/2017

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