Good administration is an essential backbone that holds up the spirit, justice, and community-building work of the congregation. It is much easier to pave the way to justice with well-oiled machinery. I am most familiar with the policy governance model as laid out by Dan Hotchkiss. I was serving the First Unitarian Society of Madison shortly after their board transitioned to policy governance. FUS hired Rev. Hotchkiss to consult and I was able to see firsthand how ideal policy governance was set up.
I began serving Community UUs in Brighton (CUUB) 5 years ago. As a young congregation they had little policy or procedure. Over the course of my ministry, I assisted with creating a building use policy; a safe congregation policy; a staff handbook, which included procedures for contracting, onboarding, dismissing, and compensating employees; and a procedure for program counsel to select and approve programming. I also updated the disruptive person/conflict management policy to become a right relationship policy.
Church governance work is not what most people think of when asked about the mission and vision of their community, but you can’t easily do any other work without it.
I worked as the senior development officer for a business incubator called TechTown for three years. I got that job, even though I was utterly unqualified for it, because the executive director of the organization realized I was good at talking to people about their values and what they were passionate about. I have been doing fundraising ever since. At Starr King School for the Ministry I called alumni and talked to them about their fond memories of their days at the school and asked them for money. I wrote grants for the YWCA of Berkley/Oakland by telling stories about what their programs were doing for the community. I have continued to fundraise at my current congregation. The images below tell the story; the red arrows indicate my arrival at CUUB. (The dip at the end of the second chart resulted from the passing of a major donor.)
During a pledge drive Julie gave a presentation that asked us to look at our budget and look at our priorities in life, then compare to see if we were spending money on the things that meant to most to us. That year I significantly increased my pledge.”Jeannette Darbe, CUUB Vice President
My current congregation’s communications co-chair described me as the Goldilocks of technology. I don’t know too little: I can use Google Docs, use social media, run Zoom meetings, edit the website, and do minor video editing. I transitioned pretty seamlessly to virtual services as far as tech was concerned. I also don’t know too much: technology isn’t so intuitive to me that I can’t explain it to those who need help using it.
First Unitarian Society in Madison, where I did my internship, broadcast their services online in the pre-COVID era. I have seen the benefits of offering a hybrid service, where people can both meet in person and join virtually. I have helped my current congregation prepare for reopening not only with policy, but with considerations for how to continue to offer online service as well as service in person.
It was very important to me that technology not be a barrier to anyone’s access to community. Below you can view me giving a Zoom training.
A note about social media: In 2018 there was a very contentious governor’s race in Michigan. Social media was especially contentious, so I took what I thought would be a temporary break. I found that my general mood improved after deactivating my social media accounts, and I never went back. I’m competent with social media. I would be happy to use church social media accounts to promote the organization. I would even be open to a discussion about creating a professional social media account. However, I prefer not to use personal social media accounts.