Dear Unitarian Friends,
Happy Asian Heritage Month! I encourage you all to visit the Alliance For Arts and Culture website to find out about resources and upcoming events for those looking to learn about and celebrate the legacy of Asian Canadians both past and present.
Speaking of learning, our Decolonizing Practices Workshop for staff, board and membership was a ground breaking first step on a long, fulsome journey for this organization. In the months ahead and throughout next year, there will be more anti-racist and anti-oppression engagement so stay tuned!
As you know, the Board recently approved a new Organizational Design that will clarify lines of communication and accountability for everyone. It also frees up the Board to become a more Strategic Board as opposed to a Liason Board. The most significant difference is that the job of the Board – to further the mission and vision of the congregation – will now be their top priority. Management oversight of day to day operations will be the responsibility of a small body made up of Board and staff. Our fabulous new Congregational Administrator Casey Wallace along with HR is in the process of hiring our new Membership Outreach Coordinator. This role was created as part of our new org design as well.
Speaking of things a Strategic Board does, we created a UCV Task Force for Sanctuary Upgrades and hired two professionals in technical theatre to work with them who will ensure that this massive task is done well, on time, and within budget. The upgrades to our sound and lighting systems and chairs replacing pews will make our Sanctuary more flexible and thus inclusive to diverse spiritual practices (walking meditation, circle dance), artistic expression (jazz/choral groups, cabaret fundraisers, writers festival venue,) and wheelchair accessibility.
The Board recently refreshed and strengthened our commitment to our Covenant of Healthy Relations and adopted a new policy around disruptive behaviour. Please take a moment to read the Covenant below and remember to be kind. Covid has taken a toll on everyone, and we must remember to breathe and think before we act.
Finally, I would just like to reiterate how in awe I am of our membership and the energy and commitment we continue to exert toward furthering our values and principles. From lovingly tended gardens on our campus to refugees being sponsored to wild salmon being defended in partnership with First Nations, Vancouver Unitarians can and are changing the world, helping to transform it into a more compassionate and equitable one. Meaningful action creates hope. So stay actively engaged, fellow Unitarians, and take care. We will gather in person again soon.
In hope and faith,
Covenant of Healthy Relations
This is a covenant to guide how we behave towards each other and to groups and individuals within the congregation. The objective is to enhance a safe climate that is courteous, friendly, supportive, respectful of others, open and honest.
Because I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of each person, I will endeavour to:
1. Be compassionate and supportive in my relationships with others, assume their best intentions and be curious rather than judgmental.
2. Communicate with active listening and consideration. Explain concerns to the person directly and share differences respectfully. Focus on the current problem – not the person.
3. Balance being open to new ideas with respect for our traditions.
4. Be attentive to our community’s needs, generous with my talents and careful with the church’s resources.
5. Keep the big picture in mind, be patient with myself and others and stay engaged in the process of change; participate in the decision-making and respect the decisions that are made.
6. Discuss conflicts in our church in a way that respects the privacy and dignity of those involved.
7. Recognize and praise others and myself for the work we do in the church and be forgiving when we make mistakes.
8. Support, in a constructive way, the work of the minister, staff and congregants.
9. Deepen our connections by getting to know and understand people of all ages and points of view within the congregation.
10. Nurture my own spiritual needs in this community and support others in their search for truth and meaning.