Tag: identity

Rethinking Our Identity – Ministerial Transition Team

Rethinking Our Identity

Ministerial Transition Team

Sign up for a workshop to help rethink our identity – read on.

We have described the five phases of a ministerial transition in previous messages and presentations, but to put it most simply, we need to answer three key questions in this transition process:

  1. Where do we come from?
  2. Who are we?
  3. Where are we going?


  1. Where do we come from?

We spent the first months of our ministerial transition creating our Congregational History Wall to look at our heritage and our history and to remind ourselves of how this congregation has been shaped and formed.

  1. Who are we?

We are now in the process of rethinking our identity. The UUA’s Janus Workbook, created to support ministerial transitions, describes this transition phase as “illuminating the congregation’s unique identity, its strengths, its needs, and its challenges”. This is the most important step to complete in our ministerial transition before we search for a new settled minister.

  1. Where are we going?

As we rethink our identity we will envision the congregation we want to be(come) in our future. Determining where are we going includes reviewing our membership needs, how we are organized, and how we will develop new and effective leadership. This transition is ongoing throughout our interim period.

We began this work in the fall with the creation of three task forces:

  • The Organization Design Task Force recommended changes to our organizational structure that the Board has accepted and is implementing.
  • The Long Term Staffing Task Force recommended a new Congregational Administrator position, a new Congregational Membership Coordinator position, and expanding Kiersten Moore’s role to become Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration. The Board accepted all these recommendations and is implementing them.
  • The Young Persons Engagement Task Force presented its findings and shared them with the congregation.

The MTT will be providing support to the Board on the implementation of these task force recommendations.

In January, the MTT created, at the Board’s request, the Decision-Making Task Force to review the four year UCV site redevelopment decision-making process and to provide recommendations for future decision-making processes. This task force will report back in June and will include among its recommendations a more visible and prominent place for our congregationally approved Covenant of Healthy Relations.

Rethinking Our Identity

We plan to engage every UCV member in rethinking our identity. We are organizing 2 1/2 hour workshops based on Appreciative Inquiry principles, an approach to organization transition that focuses on moments of exceptional pride and performance and creates a future that nurtures and supports even more pride and performance. We will answer the question “Who are we?” by sharing our best and most powerful memories of our lives in this congregation.

The process to rethink our identity is based on a set of ‘thought-provoking questions’ (see below). We work in pairs in the workshop to share our responses to these questions and then reconvene in the larger workshop group to identify the common themes in our answers. We then imagine, based on these themes, some ‘possibility statements’ about who and what we would like to be, but that we have not yet achieved. Workshops generally have 6 or 8 participants, but we have also had success with 3 participants.

The workshop has been rewarding and meaningful for those who have participated. All have found it a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. Many appreciated the chance to see and talk to others in this congregation, something we have been missing during the pandemic. We will let you know when provincial guidelines will allow us to hold in-person workshops, probably on our UCV campus (even if outside only).

We will invite those who cannot participate in a workshop to review the thought-provoking questions with another person in a one-on-one interview. We want everyone to have a conversation with at least one other person about their answers to these questions. We will ask those who are not able to do this to respond individually to the thought-provoking questions.

Here is an abbreviated version of these questions:

  1. Reflecting on your entire experience at UCV, remember a time when you felt most engaged, alive, and motivated. Who was involved? What did you do? How did it feel? What happened?
  2. What are the healthiest, most life-giving aspects of the relationships among people at UCV? What would you say is most important about how we relate to each other? Give some examples of how we live together at our best.
  3. What are the most valuable aspects of our congregation’s worship? What makes your worship alive and meaningful? What shapes your Unitarian faith?
  4. What do you believe are the most important and meaningful elements of our congregation’s engagement with the local community, the nation, and the world?
  5. What are the most important things our Unitarian community has contributed to your life? Who or what made a difference?
  6. What are the most valuable ways you contribute to our congregation – your personality, your perspectives, your skills, your activities, your character? Give me some examples.
  7. What do you think is the most important, life-giving characteristic of our UCV congregation? What makes Unitarians or UCV unique?
  8. Make three wishes for the future of our Vancouver Unitarians congregation. Describe what this faith community would look like as these wishes come true.
  9. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We invite existing committees, teams, and groups in the congregation to contact us to organize a workshop with you.

We also invite individuals who are not part of any active groups in UCV to contact us and we will organize groups of 6 or 8 at a time that will be convenient for all participants.

Please also contact us if you have any questions or want more information about this transition process.

Rob Dainow ([email protected]; 604-523-0123)  Vivian Davidson ([email protected]; 778-318-3713)  Marg Fletcher ([email protected]; 778-772-1120)  Leslie Hill ([email protected]; 604-321-7175)