Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: The Wi$dom Path: An Adult Program on Money, Spirit, and Life

Handout 1: Case Study – East Red Velvet UU Fellowship

Part of The Wi$dom Path

East Red Velvet UU Fellowship is in the midst of budget planning for the next program year. Each committee was asked to submit a budget request for consideration. Last year’s budget included significant staff salary and benefit increases, so the unstated goal of the Stewardship Committee is to keep this year’s budget increases to a minimum. The Music Committee is overdue in submitting their request and, given that they represent a significant portion of the budget, the overall process is stalled.

The board president has called together the chair of the Finance Committee, the music director, the Music Committee chair, and several board members for an informal meeting to discuss the situation and how to move forward.

Role 1

You are the chair of the Stewardship Committee. You feel personally responsible for the success of the stewardship campaign and are anxious that it won’t go well.

Role 2

You are the chair of the Music Committee. When you were recruited, no one mentioned that you would be responsible for creating a budget. Money is not something that was ever discussed when you were growing up and you don’t feel comfortable talking about it in a group. The music director gave you some information, but it is not clear to you what you should do next. You feel inadequate and it feels like the Stewardship Committee chair is pressuring you for an answer.

Role 3

You are the Board president. You are annoyed with the Music Committee chair because they seem to know nothing about the music budget. They seem to not want to deal with it. You have bypassed the chair and gone directly to the music director.

Role 4

You are the music director. The board president keeps asking you for information about the budget, yet it is clearly stated in the Music Committee charter that they are responsible for creating and submitting the annual budget. You have given the Music Committee chair all the information needed to complete the budget request, including information that the cost of instrument maintenance and tuning will increase significantly this year. You feel caught in the middle and don’t want to embarrass the committee chair, but you are concerned that you won’t get the money you need for next year’s program.

Role 5

You are on the board. Your spouse is the chair of the Social Justice Committee, and they have asked for an increase in their budget this year for a special project they are very passionate about. If the music budget increases, the Social Justice Committee’s request will be tabled. You don’t have the personal financial resources to support this project and your spouse will be very disappointed if the budget increase doesn’t come through.

Role 6

You are on the board. You are uncomfortable with the information you have about the positions of other players in the scenario and you advocate for people being open about their viewpoints, knowing this is better for the congregation.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • What healthy and/or unhealthy communication practices did you observe among the role players?
  • How might people’s reticence to discuss money directly play into the healthy and unhealthy communications?
  • What other healthy behaviors might the players have engaged in, given their roles and circumstances?