Policy and Governance: Not as Dry as it Might Seem!

by Ann Fletcher

P&G stands for Policy and Governance. Keep reading—it gets better. Below is a “Lite” version of basics to give you a taste of how you connect with the overall church.

Why does the Board have Committees? To help in the work of governance by assisting with Financial Stewardship (including Endowment), Personnel, Nomination of Leaders, and specific shorter term tasks. The “new kid on the block” is the Policy and Governance Committee which helps the Board ensure its policies function well.

Why does the Staff work with Teams and other Groups? To help in the ministry of the church to accomplish the Mission and Vision adopted by the Congregation, in partnership and in accordance with our UU Principles.

What does that have to do with me? Members enjoy a better experience when the church runs smoothly and collaboratively toward the congregation’s mission. The Board and the Staff follow the Congregation Bylaws and Board Policies. Keeping these documents updated and relevant has a positive effect on members’ experiences. And members and their groups can participate in policy change proposals and can comment orally or in writing on them before the Board takes a final vote.

Why do church groups (Committees, Teams, etc.) need Charters? Charter agreements help ensure that groups reflect our church values and that their tasks are done in a legal, effective, and efficient way. The P&G Committee created an updated charter template to assist groups in addressing these areas and offers support to them as needed. Through this process, we are learning much we can use in the future.

Many church groups have been working together to answer questions in the charter template, like “what are we really working to accomplish, what do we have the authority to do without going to get permission, and how do our efforts express the Seven UU Principles?” Once approved, these charters define the authority of the people doing the work (yea! power to the people!) and link their goals to the big goals we are all aiming for as a church (yea! coordinated effort!).

How might I, an average member, do my part in church governance? Learn about and use Right Relations as you participate in any of the following:

  • Help develop and use the charters of groups you belong to,
  • Read Board/Committee Communications and Links,
  • Participate in Town Halls, First Saturday Conversations, and Congregational Meetings,
  • Talk with Board and Committee Members–Be Curious/Ask Questions,
  • Use Public Comment Opportunities

Although the highly detailed work of the P&G Committee is not for everyone, everyone can enjoy a little P&G Lite now and then. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And you are a part that makes the whole greater!

Submitted by Ann Fletcher, Policy and Governance Chair. Other Committee Members include Dick Jacke, Tom Doe, and Jack Slowriver with Jennifer Sumner as Special Consultant.