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Board Planks November 2015

What is a Healthy Congregation?

Throughout the fall, more than a dozen First U member-leaders are participating in “Creating Healthy Congregations” workshops, joined by several leaders from congregations, including Harrisburg, Mill Creek, and Chester River.  Many of our members have attended this workshop in past years, and the providers of the workshop at the district level this year were delighted to see such a high participation rate from our church.  Suzanne Perry is applauded for her wisdom and efforts to bring the workshops to our First U community, and Rev. Dr. Richard Speck is leading this training.
The central message of healthy congregations is that our congregation is one, complex system of inter-related parts.  We are truly an interdependent web, connected within and amongst ourselves and to the outside community of UU faith as well as communities and world at large.  The more we come to understand ourselves as one large whole, the more we can focus our attention on boosting our health and resilience.
Looking at ourselves in this way can be illuminating and elicits important questions about how we are functioning as a whole.  How are we inter-related within our church?  Do we focus on relationships between different people and groups at our church, or just on parts?  Do we fully understand how our sharing of our work aides the whole system? How do we manage conflict among people and groups?  Do we intentionally promote collaboration and cooperation within our church?  Do we focus on group identity and our mission?  Many, many other relevant inquiries come as a result of this looking at ourselves systemically.
Do you believe we are a healthy system?  If so, why and if not, what would help us further develop into healthiness?  Let me know:
Yours most faithfully,

Ostin M. Warren,
President, Board of Trustees