2014-2017 Governance Project


The Futures II Team was formed to study, recommend, and implement changes to reduce barriers to leader and volunteer satisfaction. Initially, thirty interviewers spoke with 172 congregants and staff to uncover the community’s aspirations and dreams.

The feedback was analyzed and a new articulation of our Mission emerged. Once the Mission was adopted by the congregation, the staff, Board of Management, and Futures Team developed Vision Statements and Vision Paths. The Vision Statements and Vision Paths function as the “road map” that give direction to programs that will, in turn, satisfy the Mission.

The Futures II Team next examined ways our organizational structure could be better designed. The Team reviewed several organizational/governance models, consulted with experts from the UUA, and attended workshops to learn what changes we might recommend. The team applied a well-known organizational modeling tool to map current church governance practices. From this, specific improvements to church governance became apparent. The recommended changes, consistent with interview responses, will allow people involved with church governance and church programs to spend their time nurturing their passions rather than wrestling with ambiguity. An additional benefit of this exercise allows us to find volunteers and staff with the skills, commitment, and aspirations to complete the tasks identified through this process.

Where You Come In

The Futures II Team recommends that the church experiment with a different organizational structure to determine whether it will improve our ability to accomplish the visions of the congregation. In order to do this, because the church is a democratic body that operates under member approved Bylaws, we need your help to implement this experiment. What we want to try puts our experiment in conflict with portions of some of our bylaws. We, therefore, need to suspend a number of provisions for a limited time (3 years) to enable us to experiment with the new model. Following the “test drive” period, the congregation will be asked to approve the changes, grant additional time for more experimentation, or simply return to the old provisions. The special congregational meeting was be held March 2, 2014 to vote on this recommendation.

The Bylaw provisions that the Team would like to temporarily suspend include, generally:

  1. Change the Vice-President to a president-elect in order to improve leadership continuity.
  2. Remove the VP’s responsibility for the programs of the church. All Board Members will be able to focus on church governance. Program accountability will be the responsibility of the minister as a chief operating officer (COO).  The COO would also handle routine “business matters” further freeing Board Members to focus their attention on planning, policy, and strategy.
  3. Reduce the number of at-large Board members.
  4. Remove the Standing Committees.
  5. Use different terminology such as “team,” “summit” or “task force” in place of “committee.”
  6. Expand the scope of the duties of the Nominating Committee and explore different ways of choosing the people to serve on that group.

Having worked very hard to identify what the congregation wants for and from this church, we believe this path offers an effective way to achieve our Mission and Visions. We ask you to absorb the communications to come, attend the conversational opportunities, and provide your feedback and concerns to any member of the Futures II team or the Board of Management.

The Futures Team

Cheryl Coppens          Joan McGinn     Peggy Veal

Bill Derr                        Tom Pierce          Aaron Payson

Mary Fitton                 Joan Webster


Find out more and read the:

Click HERE for proposed bylaws changes.

Click HERE for the FUUTURES’ Team Presentation

To learn more about the way our congregation is governed, please read:
Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester (Massachusetts) Constitution and Bylaws