On Saturday, September 9 the Board held its fall retreat lasting about 7 hours. All current Board Members plus Interim Minister Reverend Posa participated.
We began at 9:00 am with our initial ccheck-inand startup activities. Then opportunity was afforded for Reverend Posa to share his initial impressions of OUUC following his having conducted in excess of 50 lengthy mostly one on one interviews of congregational Members and Staff all since his arrival August 1. At his request the interviews had been scheduled by the Transition Team and included Board Members, Committee Chairs, Staff, former Board Presidents and a number of congregants. The objective was for the Reverend to gain an initial impression of where things stood and what concerns folks have. To me it seemed he had learned a great deal in a very short period of time. His keen insight impressed everyone. Overall he felt OUUC, while having experienced a momentary setback, remained by virtue of its membership strength and breadth of involvement, an exceptionally strong religious force in our community, far greater he said than our membership numbers would have suggested. We face a number of challenges but he feels we are up to them.
While there were numerous positive themes surrounding what Reverend Posa had learned the angst and concern surrounding the mutual resignation of Reverend Perchlik was clearly interwoven into congregant impressions. Mention of this caused continuing Board Members to momentarily revisit the painful circumstances that had surrounded it. My own impression, as a new board member who was not involved, continues to be that the decisions of the Board and of Reverend Perchlik surrounding his resignation had not been in any way impulsive, as has been intimated by some, but rather they grew out of an emerging mutual acceptance that the relationship was not going to work.
Our conversation then turned to deciding when we could take up discussion of the letter of concern sent by a number of congregants. They had presumed we would discuss their letter at this retreat but that was not possible given our agenda was already overly full. Since it was obvious they had spent considerable time preparing what they had written we wanted to set aside adequate time for considering it as soon as possible. We had earlier decided to schedule a number of 4-hour work sessions this fall to help us to catch up and so we selected Saturday September 23 for the first of these and reserved time then for consideration of their concerns.
Then we spoke briefly about how congregants ought to be held accountable to model covenantal behavior and afterward we broke for lunch.
In the afternoon a two and a half hour online Zoom session had been scheduled with our policy governance consultant, Laura Park. Topics planned for discussion included what the board should look for in the form of executive reports and what the board’s role should be in reviewing executive performance. Since he has served in the executive role Reverend Posa had earlier provided sample copies of his reports to we Board members as well as to Ms. Park. Her presentation included a wide range of example illustrations of reports from her church and all, as well as Reverend Posa’s, were discussed at length.
Ms. Park discussed the significance of the role of the minster as executive as well as that of the board as the fiduciary overseer of the institution including monitoring executive performance. Because of his past experience acting as an executive Reverend Posa actively participated in this discussion also. In discussing the board’s role Ms. Park pointed out that as trustees of the institution when we judge its performance a “reasonable person” test, meaning how would a reasonable person judge what is happening, can be a helpful guide. How annual surveys are used to gain important congregant input was also discussed and sample survey instruments were reviewed.
Though it had been intended that we discuss updating our monitoring calendar our conversation with Ms. Park ran long and we ran out of time. So our calendar will be considered at a later date. The retreat ended at about 4:00 pm.
Afterward Helen Henry briefed those of us needing help, me in particular, on use of REALM which was greatly appreciated.
– Don Melnick, Vice President