Helpers among the community of Pittsburgh area UUs. Link to the main Sunnyhill site.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


On February 28th twenty-five of your friends gathered to take the Next Steps toward the future of Sunnyhill. We began the workshop by looking specifically at the current Mission Statement of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills. With my suggestion of how they could look at the Statement in four parts, I asked them to draw (yes, draw) their individual Visions in those four areas of Sunnyhill five-years from now; which they then shared around their tables.

As you will recall at the January 10th Identity Workshop seven groups each came up with their own Identity Statement ? their description of Sunnyhill as it is right now. A small group tried to combine those statements and produced a document that very nicely put everyone?s images into eight categories. I then took both lists and asked them to focus on four areas which seemed to me to be most representative and which offered the best possibility for exploration: Our Membership, Our Governance, Our Diversity, and Our Participation/Stewardship. After they rearranged themselves at the four tables (one for each topic) I asked them to use the Mission Statement, Identity Statements, and their own Visions to answer the question, ?What would it take to fulfill your vision?? Here is my rendering of what they wrote and articulated as their visions.

Our Membership: In 5 years our members will be committed to maintaining the health of our church community and united in fulfilling our Mission. Our members will be diverse and welcoming.

Our Governance: Our vision of governance is
1) A welcoming and transparent process
2) Foster a group culture of Right Relations (The Promises)
3) Sharing responsibility ? what does the Board decide vs. what the membership decides
4) Clear expectations on all sides
5) Ease communications ? a good and efficient feedback loop to governance
6) Explicit vs. implicit decision making
7) Use Annual Meetings & Budget Meetings better? using all of the above
8) All members are responsible to obtain information needed to help in decision process

Our Diversity: They agreed on a vision to either ?Celebrate Our Diversity? or for the need for a ?Unifying Principle? (which could be respect for life, respect for the individual, enrichment, understanding, among others) but did not decide on a priority between them. Among the ideas they were working on were: while the Sunday morning services articulated the Unifying Principle we could add an evening service that would specialize in one aspect of Our Theological Diversity (Pagan, Christian, Eastern, and Humanist) and appealing to young adults. The minister would focus on the unifying services and help facilitate the evening services, which they hope would raise visibility.

Our Stewardship/Participation: Develop and implement a 5-year plan including
? Continuing stewardship education
? Participation in the ?3Ts? (Time, Talent, Treasure) as a requirement for membership
? More youth involvement
? Redesign the annual stewardship census
? Open and effective communication on goals and progress

These were their Visions and their beginning steps for the future. I then asked them to plan the Next Steps ? to spell out completely (what, how, by whom, by when, resources needed) their Vision. In the limited time they had they each began the process but ran out of time. So, we have decided to continue the process on April 4th with the ?Next Next Steps? (poor title but you get the idea). Please plan on joining us from 9:00 to 1:00 and be a part of the process to mapping out Sunnyhill?s future! Sign-up in the foyer this Sunday or reply to this email ? be sure to let us know if you need childcare.

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