Governance Task Force

Charged by the Board to help envision a new governance model for First Universalist Church of Denver.

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Governance Task Force

Governance Vision: update coming in November, 2020!

This update was first published on September 4, 2020 in the Happenings email newsletter:

Last Sunday, The Governance Tax Force (GTF) shared a DRAFT Governance Vision Statement (GVS) with the Board of Trustees, Senior Staff and the GIG. The Governance Vision Statement is a high level, aspirational outline of what governance should aspire to be at First Universalist.  Look for the DRAFT Governance Vision to be shared with the congregation later this Fall, after these groups complete their review.

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Join the GIG: Governance Interest Group

The Governance Input Group (GIG) is composed of interested members who would like an early opportunity to see what’s coming out of the GTF, provide thoughtful comment and participate in conversations with the initial drafters of the work product. If you happen to be busy with something else or you simply aren’t interested in a topic, you may pass. Please consider joining. If this sounds interesting, email Diane Butler at [email protected]

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From the Governance Task Force Covenant:

We will be open and transparent with our communication with the congregation. Here is an outline of the flow of work from the GTF to the Congregation:
GTF -> BoT & GIG & staff-> congregation -> BoT or Congregation for final approval/adoption

Each step is an iterative process that may take 3 weeks or more and includes opportunities to provide input, ask questions and make suggestions, both in writing and in person. Watch Happenings, listen for announcements at Coffee Hour and monitor this website for progress reports including what the Governance Task Force is currently working on; when draft proposals and policies are moved along the pathway of review and input; when congregational review meetings are scheduled and when meetings are scheduled for formal adoption or approval, as needed.

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On The Creation of the Governance Task Force

The Governance Task Force was set up in 2020 to further the efforts of the Board of Trustees to research and envision a new governance model for our church. 

What did the Board research before creating the Governance Task Force? 
Get the full report here.

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The Governance Task Force is pleased to share the draft revised Bylaws for review by the Congregation.

You can access the draft here and accompanying note here. The revisions are intended to both address changes consistent with the affirmed Vision of Governance and Governance Proposal and embody other revisions drawn from earlier Bylaw review processes that have taken place in recent years. We are making this draft available now, along with a shorter explanatory note, to provide ample time for all members of the Congregation to review the draft, pose questions and make suggestions. We will be scheduling several opportunities for discussions with members who wish to join and will also be having focused discussions with the Board, staff, Governance Input Group, and other church groups. Plans call for the revised Bylaws to be put to a vote during the fall Congregational meeting. The draft Bylaws are in both a PDF version and a large font Word version that cannot be directly edited. The content of these versions is the same. Upon opening the Word document, you may see a message “Restricted Access - Permission is currently restricted. Only specified users can access this content.” You should still be able to view and print the Word document. To provide adequate time to incorporate feedback, we would ask you to share any written questions, feedback etc. with John Ehrmann at [email protected] by August 9. Thank you in advance for your assistance and partnership in moving forward with this very important aspect of revised and renewed Governance for First Universalist.

Best regards, Governance Task Force of the First Universalist Church of Denver John Ehrmann and Ronda Palsulich, Co-Chairs

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Thanks for the feedback!

We want to thank those people in the congregation who have taken the time to review and comment on the July 9 draft of the revised bylaws over the last several weeks. We received an abundance of very helpful comments and suggestions - almost 40 pages total, in addition to the feedback we have received from the Governance Input Group, Board of Trustees, staff and other church groups. We are in the process of reviewing ALL the input and making further revisions to the draft bylaws based on your feedback. Then, that revised draft version will be up for an approval vote at the October 3 Congregational Meeting.

Guided by many sources
Given the number of comments, we are unfortunately unable to respond on an individual basis to each person. However, be assured your comments are being reviewed and discussed by our drafting team – we appreciate the insight and experience of every person who responded and we will take every contribution into consideration. We know you understand we will not be able to reconcile all input via revisions to the draft. We are being guided by the Governance Vision and Proposal, both of which have been affirmed by the congregation; as well as several written sources on church governance, review of the bylaws and experiences of a number of other UU churches from across the country, and input from resources at the UUA.

Continuous improvement
We have taken to heart one note we received, "I just have the following five comments with respect to the revised bylaws and I will not leave the Church if they are not adopted!" We hope everyone can approach this process with similar openness and grace – we are doing our best to incorporate the sentiments expressed by the congregation, and we are developing this next draft of the bylaws on your behalf in the most conscientious manner we can. This is the next step in the ongoing process of refreshing and renewing the governance of First Universalist. And, the Governance Vision calls for the bylaws to be open to further refinement and revision as we move through the implementation process together.

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