Vision of Ministry for 2023 – 2024

As you may know, each summer the Board of Trustees and the minister develop a Vision of Ministry for the coming congregational year. The annual Vision of Ministry provides goals and direction to the minister, staff, ministry teams, and board committees as they develop programs and initiatives. The Vision of Ministry builds on conversations that the Board has had with members and friends of the congregation the previous year, information from the staff, and what we are seeing as trends and needs in the wider community.

We’re excited to share with you our Vision of Ministry for August 2023 – June 2024, which the Board drafted at our retreat in July and adopted at our meeting on August 16, 2023. This vision is intended to serve as a framework to guide and inspire more than a checklist of todo items, and we hope that you’ll join us in engaging with and developing programming to support this vision.

2023-24 Vision of Ministry

  • A year of welcoming, hospitality, and homecoming – including sharing responsibility for welcoming and integrating visitors, making creative use of our building, encouraging more member-developed and easily-accessible programming
  • Nourishing resilience as a community – including joyful resistance to extremism,  building bonds with each other and allied groups, engaging in creative conflict, deepening and respecting diverse spiritual practices, and adapting to climate change
  • Practicing personal care and compassion for others – including recognizing the effects of the pandemic and political realities, cultivating sustainable practices, practicing patience and setting realistic expectations, focusing on the positive, and resisting perfectionism

Alongside these themes, we also developed two key questions for staff and members to use when developing programming: 

  • How can we make it easy for people to engage with programming? 
  • How can we invite UUS groups into enacting the vision of ministry?

We are also encouraging staff and leaders to use the basic Vision of Ministry from the last two years as a framework to develop programming that addresses the overall vision:

  • Connecting with Ourselves – engaging in meaning-making; developing our understandings of who we are as Unitarian Universalists and engaging with Article II (draft new Unitarian Universalist values, principles, and purposes); and cultivating joy, resilience, and sustainability within our justice work
  • Connecting with Each Other – cultivating welcoming and hospitality, getting to know people you don’t already know; developing opportunities to resist oppression, create joy and love, and change together; asking “How are we serving each other’s growth?”; and nourishing multiple communities within UUS
  • Connecting with the Wider Community – connecting key groups into our building (JCIC, Backyard Abundance, Quire, and similar); operating The Learning Space; being more visible and known in the wider community (prioritizing how we do outreach, groups we connect with) especially in Coralville, Tiffin, North Liberty, and BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities; and connecting through different kinds of community-creating programming like Summer of the Arts

We also developed two multipart open questions, which the Board will be using this coming year to gain insights that will help us plan for the future, including developing our Vision of Ministry for next year. Please look for communications from the Board about the open questions and ways to engage with them. The first opportunity will be after our All Ages worship service on September 17.

Again, we hope you’ll join us in thinking about how we can all work together and develop programming this year that expands our welcoming, hospitality and homecoming, nourishes resilience, and practices care and compassion for ourselves and each other. We’re excited to work with you towards these goals!

In Community,
Rev. Diana Smith, Minister
Jeff Walberg, President of the Board of Trustees

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