Getting started

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The UU Church of Spokane is in its third year [2005] of a policy governance style of governing. We started the first year with Board & leadership training, adopting a very general set of governance policies, writing our Ends statement, forming our Management Team and congregational informational sessions. We agreed up front that we would live with being out of compliance with some sections of the Bylaws while adapting the new governance style.

Over the next two years we have completed re-writing our Ends Statement and all but one section of our Governance Policies. We also developed a flow chart for a Complaint & Inquiry Process. In our third year we have just completed proposed revisions of our Bylaws to reflect current practices. We also just completed a weekend, incorporating congregational training with Board and Management Team training to take stock of where we are, look to the future and make adjustments in those things which needed work. I think our timing was excellent. We have had time to get comfortable with the concepts and implement much of the processes needed for this type of governing, but haven't been in it for so long that we can't remember the olden days! We also are in the process of formally developing a good set of orientation materials for incoming Board members.

One of the best things we did this year was to purchase, "The Board Member's Playbook," by Miriam Carver and Bill Charney. The scenarios are excellent and easily adapted to our particular concerns. The Board used one a month for several months with Board members completing the exercise prior to the Board meeting and then discussing it at a meeting. It helped us think about how to deal with certain situations, and helped us to become very familiar with our Governance Policies as we had to read them each month in order to complete the exercise.

Our Board has three year terms which makes this year's current Board the first one on which everyone has been elected to the Board while under the policy governance form of governing. This is a significant milestone in our progress. Our focus for the upcoming year is leadership and congregational training to help everyone become more informed and comfortable with the concepts.

Cathi Lamoreux, President, UU Church of Spokane Board of Trustees - 3/31/2005