Dumb Economics or Fulfilling Our Mission?

How do we see ourselves in the world? Why do we gather as First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco? How do we engage each other and with our groups in the city? What actions do we take to fulfil our purpose for existing?

Vision, mission, covenant, and strategic planning. They are critical to every meaningful organization. They essential to making a difference in our own lives, to making a difference in the world.

Our vision and mission let us know if spending $100,000 more a year serving renters than we charge them is dumb economics? Or,  is providing space to non-profit groups part of how we fulfill our mission? Is doing Social Justice a critical component to our religious life? How about music, or calling on our members when they are ill? Are they core to our being?

As I mentioned last fall, it is time for the Congregation to reassess, confirm, and modify the answers to these key questions we last answered together 30 years ago when we talked about our Roots and Wings.

Talking seriously to ourselves, asking deep questions, and developing a plan for our community will take 18 months or so. The first steps have started!

In January, the Board brainstormed during an all-day training facilitated by the Rev. Jonipher Kwong of the Pacific Western Region. The focus was on exploring the current Best Practices for strategic planning – including the precursors of visioning, mission statement writing, and covenanting. At the end of the day Trustees expressed unanimous agreement on the outline of the process for the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco.

Here’s what we all agree are the steps to follow (click on slide for a larger version):

Strategic Planning Steps

Although the Board is fully supportive of the steps, the actual work of gathering information from the community, wordsmithing, checking in with the Congregation, planning, checking in with the Congregation, and devising implementation steps will be led by a Visioning and Planning Commission to be formed this spring. This group will build on the work of the Task Force for Future Ministry and team with the Membership to articulate a vision for the community, our mission, our covenant, and then plans for the future.

On April 7th a training for 40 or so leaders of our Society will explore in more depth the planning process. In May or June the Task Force will be selected. And, then the real work will begin!

I believe wholeheartedly that this is the right time for our community to renew its vision, update its mission, and determine the best actions to take together. We will be asking committee chairs and other key leaders to come. If you would like to come to the April 7th meeting, please let me know, especially if you’re newer or haven’t been in leadership recently.  Our space is limited, but we want to accommodate as many people are we can!

Questions and comments are appreciated. Please contact any Trustee or me at Moderator@uusf.org.

Facilitator Rev. Jonipher Kwong with the Trustees, Director of Finance and Administration Saira Malik, and the Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern at the Visioning and Planning Training in January.

Facilitator Rev. Jonipher Kwong with the Trustees, Director of Finance and Administration Saira Malik, and the Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern at the Visioning and Planning Training in January.

About Galen Workman

Galen has been a member since 1982. He most recently served on the Board from 2013 - 2018 and as Moderator from 2017-2018. He is also a member of the board of the Hinckley Fund. He has been Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Board, on a ministerial search committee, active in social justice activities, and on the Nominating Committee. Galen is married and spends time away from church showing his dachshunds and squaredancing.
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