The five fundamental tasks of our Vancouver Unitarians congregation during our ministerial transition are to successfully navigate our:
HERITAGE – Coming to terms with history by reviewing how this congregation has been shaped and formed.
LEADERSHIP – Reviewing our needs and ways of organizing and developing new and effective leadership to accompany times of transition.
VISION / MISSION – Illuminating and redefining our identity, sense of purpose, and direction.
CONNECTIONS – Renewing, expanding, and strengthening our relationships and resources in the wider community.
FUTURE – Preparing to engage in a new future with renewed vision, stewardship, commitment, anticipation, and zest.
Coming to terms with our history and heritage is the foundation for being able to envision and move into the future. Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? These are the questions we have been exploring as we have built our Congregational History Wall (UCV Stories) over the last few months.
We presented several short videos in January and February Sunday services to highlight some of these UCV Stories: the Members page, the Controversies and Fights page, and two presentations on the Environment page.
The February 28 service – “The Never-Ending Story” – illuminated some of the important themes that have shaped and formed us over our 500 year history as a faith tradition and our 119 year history as a Unitarian congregation in Vancouver:
- The founding beliefs and principles that cost some of our first leaders their lives and paved the way for what has remained a progressive, non-dogmatic religion that values independent thinking and social action, well-exemplified throughout UCV’s 119 years.
- The ways in which we have encountered and suffered from conflict situations, notably with past ministers, and how this experience can and should shape how build our path forward – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
- Our deep roots and long-standing commitments to social action in response to some of the biggest and most challenges issues in each generation.
We have a rich tradition and a strong foundation to build on. March is the month when we begin our visioning conversations to explore our identity and sense of purpose. What we learn in these explorations will clarify the directions for our future. This is a very exciting part of our work together!
The Ministerial Transition Team (MTT) is adapting the Appreciative Inquiry approach to organizational transition to structure this transition phase. We will engage in structured conversations with as many congregants as we can in group workshops, one-on-one meetings, and individual surveys. These conversations will focus on seven questions:
- When did you feel most engaged, alive, and motivated at UCV?
- What are the most valuable ways you contribute to our congregation?
- What are the most valuable aspects of our congregation’s worship? What shapes your Unitarian faith?
- What are the most important and meaningful ways we engage with the world around us – locally, nationally, globally?
- What are the essential, central characteristics that make UCV unique?
- What are the most important things UCV has contributed to your life?
- What are three wishes you have for the future of our Vancouver Unitarians congregation?
The answers to these questions will tell us a great deal about who we are, what we value, and what we aspire to.
We will work with existing committee, teams, and groups in the congregation to enlist your help, and we will summarize all the feedback we receive from the responses to these questions and share it with the congregation as we craft our collective visions for our future.