L to R: Carol Cumming Speirs (Eastern), Neal Cameron (Youth Observer), Rev. Debra Faulk (Minister Observer), Keith Wilkinson (BC), Jane Ebbern (Western), Jaime Dunton (Eastern), Tanya Cothran (Central), Kristina Stevens (BC), Lorna Weigand (Central), Susan Ruttan (Western).
The CUC Board held its annual fall meeting & retreat in Toronto from 21 – 24 Sep 2016. Here are some of the highlights of decisions and actions.
1. Reaffirmed our commitment to the CUC Vision Implementation Team.
2. Approved an updated Mission statement for the CUC: Growing Vital Unitarian Communities.
3. Conducted a joint board and staff SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). From this we saw some key priorities to be:
- Develop a sustainable funding model for our operations;
- Improve our website to serve both members and visitors
- Continue Truth, Healing and Reconciliation work with indigenous peoples
- Continue building resources, and link to the many useful initiatives of the UUA
- Continue to build a strong relationship between CUC and UU Ministers of Canada (UUMOC)
- Enhance our leadership development efforts, especially for youth and young adults
4. Finalized a statement that helps articulate the CUC’s value to its members/owners:
The CUC is a beacon for Unitarian Universalist communities across Canada, providing them with leadership, support and connection as they strive to foster a just and sustainable world and to enrich the spiritual lives of their members.
5. We formed a task force to investigate how to provide more equitable compensation for our staff.
6. We must continue to develop a fair model for annual program contributions (APC) based on annual expenditures. A revised APC method is in the works, that will aim for sustainability for both congregations and the CUC.
7. We need member generosity if the CUC is to thrive. Therefore, in addition to paying APCs this year, we invite additional voluntary donations to the Friends of the CUC Fund. For example, if the 4,500 members of our member congregations gave an average of $50/year we would generate over $200,000 and be able to compensate all of our staff at an appropriate level.
8. We will continue to issue public statements from our National Voice Team with input from our Monitoring Groups. Three statements have been issued since May and a fourth is in the works.
9. Reviewed steps necessary to fulfill our compliance agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency.
10. Affirmed the need to streamline our communications by further modifications to the policy governance model such as:
- using more familiar language for some of the concepts,
- more clearly identifying which goals and measurements the board will track from the many objectives and measures that staff use to be accountable for their work
11. Get more timely and accurate financial information to the board and membership
12. Continue to use web platforms to improve communicate with members, and make Zoom web meeting tools more available
13. Continue to encourage innovative practices that help our members serve their varied communities
14. Identify practical tasks that volunteers can appropriately take on at the National and Regional levels to become more involved in our national community
15. Continue work with UUMOC to develop more streamlined processes for grant applications and funding, like Sharing Our Faith and Northern Lights.
Less Tangible Outcomes
16. In informal evening sessions, we shared stories about all of our congregations and fellowships. Woohoo!!
17. Got to know each other better and bond as a functional team.
18. Benefitted from the silent meals that were part of the expectations of the convent where we met (partly for reasons of economy). The silence allowed us to a) reflect on what had gone on in the earlier session, b) be mindful of the particular items of food we were eating, or c) read the back issues of The New Yorker magazines that were stowed under the dining tables in the convent. (Simultaneously, we felt frustrated by the lost opportunity of chatting over meals with board and staff members we didn’t know very well.)
19. Attended an upbeat and inspiring Sunday worship service at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. It was a reminder and affirmation of why we do this work!
20. Affirmed and celebrated each day our commitment to the UU movement through the inspired ceremonies that Rev Debra Faulk, Minister Observer to the Board (MOB) designed for us.