Often when congregations are facing big decisions, embarking on vision or planning processes, they find themselves wondering how best to proceed. It is often useful to seek input from the members of the community, and to free up all members so that they can participate fully. Congregations also know that it is important to do the work in a way that includes a variety of viewpoints – so that our UU values of democracy, inclusion, and diversity are represented in the work and in the results. CUC staff recognize this need and have recently provided training to a group of people who are now able to act as facilitators for your congregation.
The people we invited to the first facilitator training session are all Canadian UUs, all have some experience leading groups and include ministers, religious educators, and lay leaders. The initial group was also selected with geographic representation in mind, making it easier and less expensive to use them in this work. Staff brainstormed lists of people and looked for people we knew who had a depth of experience in UU community. This ‘starter’ group was intentionally small, partly because we had limited capacity and partly because we wanted to be able to assess the need, reception, and effectiveness of the program before we expand it. No doubt there are other excellent people who could be considered in the future!
If you are beginning a planning process, starting to ask questions about the future of the congregation or if you find yourself stuck and unsure of how to proceed with work you are doing, please contact your CUC regional staff person (Joan Carolyn, firstname.lastname@example.org for BC and Western Regions or Linda Thomson, email@example.com if you are in the Eastern or Central Region). They’ll talk to you about the issues and questions you are facing and, if appropriate, will connect you with someone who can work with you. The cost for the facilitators (including travel and honorarium) are part of the CUC regional budgets (supported through congregation’s Annual Program Contributions) and are offered at no additional cost to congregations.