In the Fall of 2018, the UUCB Board of Trustees introduced “Your Board Is Listening” (YBIL), the first in a series of listening sessions as a critical part of its annual cycle of strategic planning. Twelve sessions were facilitated during October through December involving a total of 96 participants; in addition, four written responses were received from members of the congregation. Participants answered two high-level questions:
1. What needs to change as our congregation grows? What needs to be preserved?
2. How do we encourage all members, friends and visitors to bring more of their authentic selves to our community? What barriers are there to achieving this? What is working well now?
Once the sessions were completed and written responses were received, all the individual Post It notes from the flipcharts and items in the written responses were compiled and categorized to identify the themes which emerged. (Please note that the comments reflected both positive statements and suggestions for improvement.) Following is a summary of the 505 comments by themes:
· Welcoming/Hospitality 87
· Worship/Music 79
· Affinity Groups 57
· Facility 54
· Responding to Change 47
· Small Groups 28
· Volunteers 24
· Religious Education (RE) 22
· Communication 20
· Miscellaneous/Other (fewer than 20 responses): Justice, Larger Community, Governance, Dismantling White Supremacy, Planning, History, Staff, Next Generation, Elders, (More) Fun, and Pastoral Care
A detailed summary of the comments, all of which have been documented in an extensive spreadsheet, will be an integral part of the UUCB Board’s strategic planning in January. In addition, the comments related to various functions within the church will be shared with their respective leaders, staff members or committees for follow up.
Many thanks to all who participated in this first congregation-wide idea gathering in recent history! Your comments and feedback during this process are invaluable in our work to continuously improve our church community and the important work we do together as we deepen faith, live well, and enact justice.