“Congregational polity” is the Unitarian Universalist technical term for the way in which churches, fellowships and societies of this denomination are governed. In plain English, we govern ourselves. We select our own ministers, raise and spend our own money for salaries, building upkeep, supplies, and community outreach, as established in budgets we set for ourselves. We exist without any need for such hierarchical figures or structures as bishops, archbishops, presbyteries, dioceses, stakes or synods.
Which is not to say that we have no structure at all. The Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City is a member of the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which serves our own and other congregations in a variety of ways, including providing consultants for fund-raising, for instance; and helping churches “match up” with ministers who meet and understand our interests and needs.
A wonderful UUA magazine, UU World (uuworld.org), brings worldwide thought and concerns into UU homes every other month. Our congregation is a member of the UUA MidAmerica Region, an organization of twelve Midwestern states whose members and delegates meet annually to share program ideas.
UUSIC holds two congregational meetings a year. At one of these meetings, it elects its own leadership, in the form of a board of directors (president, vice president, past president, secretary, and treasurer.) Each year, we create an “Annual Report.” Trustees, also elected to the board, guide the society’s finance, program, buildings and grounds, and administration.