Board of Trustees: Resolving to Listen

‘Tis the season for reflection and resolution. As I look back on 2017, my own experience was one of contradiction. Amid considerable local and global political turmoil, I enjoyed many personal and professional successes, including joining FUUSN’s Board of Trustees last Spring. One of the great joys of this new role is having the opportunity to meet so many members of our FUUSN community. I am thrilled that FUUSN folks of all ages have started approaching me at coffee hour, events, and retreats. I am one of FUUSN’s “young folks” (a designation I enjoy as I rapidly approach my 40s) and before joining the Board, I spent much of my time at FUUSN with children, youth, and their parents. Although I love this portion of the FUUSN community, interacting with a relatively narrow demographic gave me a limited view of the hopes, goals, and priorities at FUUSN.

My view of FUUSN is rapidly and joyfully expanding as I meet all of you. In our conversations I have learned that, like me, many of you thrived personally and professionally last year, but some did not. Like me, many of you struggled with local and global political issues, but some did not. And, like me, many of you made new connections at FUUSN last year, but some did not. In a congregation of hundreds, I see patterns of shared experience, and many contradictions too.

Understanding and responding to these contradictions is central to our recent Board conversations about communicating with the congregation. We strive to be responsive to congregational needs and proactive stewards for our community. However, with so many different ideas and experiences, it can be challenging to hear from everyone. We have resolved to become more proactive listeners in 2018. As always, you are encouraged to approach members of the Board at coffee hour and other events. We also aim to carve out more comfortable spaces where folks can have quieter, extended conversations with Board members. And, we have resolved to listen to FUUSN members via social media. Although understandably not everyone’s preferred platform, the combination of photos, videos, and text on FUUSN’s various Facebook pages makes for a rich communication opportunity for those who use it.

As we begin a New Year, we expect many of you are reflecting on your personal, professional, and spiritual priorities. What can FUUSN’s Board of Trustees do to support you in your journey? How would you like to communicate with the Board? We are eager to listen to your suggestions!

                                                                                                                                                                                                           -Brooke Foucault Welles