Reflections on the First Leading Large Board Training

By Lillian Drab-Braddick

A UU Institute course banner with the wording "The Strategic UU Board 260" in white letters on a purple background with a photo of a brass measuring instrument to the right.

Members of your Southern Region worked with Team LeaderLab & UU Institute to bring the new Leading Large Board Retreat to our large congregations this summer. Over 200 congregational leaders engaged with the Strategic UU Board prework materials in The UU Institute with almost as many participating in a live session on Saturday, August 26. These dedicated Board members, Religious Professionals and Staff represented Unitarian Universalist congregations that serve over 21,000 members & friends nationwide.

During the live session, discussion in small groups encompassed the challenges & opportunities of Change, including engagement & demographic shifts, post-COVID adaptations and finding balance within new financial realities. Small groups sought Clarity together, around roles, right relations and policies & practices. Communication was a common theme, spanning internal connections, including transparency and documentation of board decisions, and external outreach. Strategies emerged for engaging our communities of communities about the direction of our congregations, including a renewed focus on hospitality, investment in small groups and continued utilization of new technology.

Participants shared positive indicators of change in our congregations, with increases in Engagement, Connection and Commitment to Mission & Vision highlighted. Deeper Faith Formation and the navigating of Conflict in a transformative way were also uplifted.

Sincere gratitude to all who participated in this new offering, thank you for dedicating this time to developing your leadership and deepening connections with fellow leaders of large congregations.

Special thanks to UUA staff collaborators from throughout the Association and our Region, with gratitude to Rev. Tyler Coles, of Team LeaderLab & UU Institute and Regional Lead Natalie Briscoe and Kathy McGowan for helping lead the live session. Finally, major kudos to Rev. Renée Ruchotzke for her visionary leadership of this new training and skillful direction of the live session event.

For those who couldn’t participate this summer, we’ve got great news! The Strategic UU Board series is available in the UU Institute to experience on your own time. Over 70% of participants who took the post-session survey found this prework ‘Highly Relevant’ and ranked these resources ‘5/5’.

Begin ‘The Strategic UU Board’ Training anytime on the UU Institute website.