Refreshing Our 30-year-old Vision

“Congregations do not easily enter into conversations about having bigger dreams … when they are satisfied with the way things are going,” write Gil Rendle and Alice Mann.

Things are going well in our community, and most people approaching Board members are telling us that they are very comfortable with the way things are going. Still, my fellow Trustees and I believe that this IS the time to start talking about our bigger dreams.

UU Visioning EyeRev. Vanessa Southern is starting her ministry with us, and she and the Congregation should talk about our visions of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco in the world. What will our community look like in five, 10, or 25 years? What will we be doing? What will our reputation be? What will it feel like to come to a worship service? What other visions do we need to explore?
We need to know how we see ourselves in the future so we can then draw up goals to help realize our visions. And, the visioning and goal setting both come before the actual work of planning the actions we want to take.

This talking to each other will take many months, and none of us on the Board know the timeline, who in the Congregation will lead the process, or many other details. The Board and Rev. Southern are just starting this exploration based on our discussions at the late October Board Retreat. As soon as we decided to start planning, we wanted you to know our intention to work together on our vision, goals and eventually action steps.

The 1987 “Roots and Wings” dialogue was the Society’s last comprehensive look we at our mission, vision, goals, and plans. It’s time!

More immediate plans the Board has been working on with Rev. Southern include the potential engagement of an Intern (student) Minister in the church year starting in July, 2018.  Our community has a history of providing students practical experience in the Unitarian Universalist ministry, and Rev. Southern believes employing an Intern next year would be both appropriate and enriching. The Board has authorized the engagement of an Intern, and we will be establishing an Intern Committee to nurture the selected candidate, introduce them to the Congregation, and look for donated (or affordable) housing for them!

At its October meeting the Board gratefully accepted the unrestricted bequest of John DiDonna. The Bylaws require that 2/3 of such gifts be handled as if they were endowments (allowing the spending of income but not principle), and the Trustees decided to allocate the required two-thirds to the Castile Intern Fund. The remaining 1/3 was received as gift income for the operating budget, less $400 which will be used to purchase 20 Teal Hymnals.
The Board was very happy to hear from Linda Enger, the Chair of the Capital Improvements Project Management Team. Linda briefed Trustees on the status of the planned projects, all of which are going well. The IPMT asked to spend an additional $12,000 on the organ renovation, and the Board unanimously approved that request.

Finally, Trustees are looking forward to working with the Stewardship Committee and the

Galen in front of Rose Window

Membership to ensure that pledge income for the Operating Fund meets the budget target. The approved budget included a 10% increase in pledge income, and we are still missing pledge commitments from some happy members. HINT: if you didn’t get around to returning your Operating Fund pledge last year, please contact our Director of Finance and Administration Saira Malik ( or 415.776.4580 x 152) so we can record your intentions.

Please contact any Trustee or me ( or 415.647.8830) if you have questions or would like to express an opinion!

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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