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How Things Actually Work At UCH

Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out who to talk to when you have a suggestion or comment about how UCH runs. Here’s some help:

The Board of Trustees: These folks are elected by the congregation to safeguard the church’s assets, plan for the future, and create and monitor implementation of policies by which the church accomplishes its mission. The Board periodically leads the congregation through the process of determining its mission. Its two meta-responsibilities: Observe congregational culture and act to improve it when necessary, and monitor the work of the minister (as the CEO) to ensure the administrative needs of the congregation are being met.
Policy is set by the Board of Trustees. A policy is a general statement about the intent of UCH to act in a specific way.
A policy is a general statement of the intent of the organization to act (or not act) in a specified manner. A policy ordinarily should not be linked to a specific event, or specifically list steps that should be taken. A policy should be like the needle of a compass, which points toward the North Pole but does not include all the stops and turns that may be necessary to get to there. A policy changes infrequently, and only after information on whether the policy is achieving the desired results is received and analyzed by the policy-making body. If a member of the congregation thinks that a policy ought to be changed, the president of the board is the right person to contact; the president will bring the issue to the whole board, or ask the congregant to propose changes and persuade the board to adopt them.
Administrative Guidelines are set by the Minister, acting as the Chief Executive Officer of UCH. An administrative guideline is how the CEO carries out Board policies on a day-to-day basis. The Board expects administrative guidelines to allow staff members to conduct themselves within the limits of policy.
Administrative guidelines are not ordinarily approved the Board of Trustees, and may change from time to time as the CEO believes necessary to carry out Board policies. The CEO makes staff members aware of the guidelines and any changes; staff members are expected to follow the administrative guidelines in their work for the congregation. When a staff member follows administrative guidelines, it is because they are expected to do so by the minister and by the Board. If a member of the congregation thinks that an administrative guideline ought to be changed, the minister is the right person to contact.
Day-to-day operations of the church include things like office hours, building cleaning and maintenance, paying bills, arranging for rentals, bank deposits, flower-ordering, and plowing of the parking lot. The minister makes sure paid and volunteer staff takes care of the day-to-day operations of the church, and that they do so consistent with Board policies and administrative guidelines.
Day-to-day operations include everything about UCH that is concrete and visible to the outside world, including Sunday services. Some day-to-day operations are reserved for the minister, some are settled upon paid staff members, and some are fulfilled by volunteers under the direction of staff.
What role does the Board play in running the church? The Board sets broad policies for the minister (as CEO) to follow, such as “UCH shall be a physically safe place for all who visit its buildings, and all its buildings shall be physically accessible for those with disabilities.” The minister (as CEO) is responsible for creating guidelines that ensure the policy is carried out. The minister may assign staff or recruit volunteers to assist as needed, and is responsible for making the Board aware of the resources needed to carry out the policy. The minister reports to the Board on whether the policy is being carried out, and the Board must ensure its policy is being carried out, either through reports made by the minister or through direct observation.

Staff are the people who make sure church happens. We have paid staff and volunteers-as-staff (VAS).

Paid staff
are church employees who report or indirectly to the minister. They are responsible for carrying out the instructions of the minister or their supervisors, following administrative guidelines. Paid staff who receive information and requests from congregants may channel such information and requests through their supervisors before taking action.

Volunteers-as-staff (VAS) can be recruited by the Board or by paid staff; they are volunteers who function as staff report to paid staff, doing the day-to-day operations of the church as requested. Volunteers-as-staff do their work in conjunction with paid staff and are supervised by paid staff.
Like paid staff, VAS may channel information and requests through supervisors before taking action.

Who does the Board supervise and direct? The only person who directly reports to the Board and receives direction from the Board is the minister (the CEO). Some staff report directly to the CEO and others report to other staff, who in turn report to the CEO.
What part do congregants play in the day-to-day operations of the church? Congregants who are recruited for (or volunteer for) volunteer-as-staff positions carry out the duties they are asked to do under the direction of paid staff. Congregants who see a problem in the building, such as a ceiling leak or non-functioning door, should bring it to the attention of the church administrator through an available printed or e-form or through email. The minister has directed the church administrator how to take care of such problems. Congregants who have suggestions for how day-to-day operations should be conducted should speak to, call, or email the staff person who is responsible for the particular operation. Staff who receive information and requests from congregants may channel such information and requests through their supervisors before taking action.

Worship service operations are under the direction of the minister. Everything that happens in conjunction with worship services is done under the direction of the minister, or by the minister. The minister may consult with the Board on important matters, and follow the Board’s suggestions.
Worship service operations include when the doors to the building open, whether services are held in cases of inclement weather, ushers, seating arrangements, flowers, who is speaking from the pulpit, and what is said, what hymns and readings are used, whether the choir sings, where plate donations go, and coffee hour.
Religious Growth and Learning operations are under the direction of the Director of Religious Growth and Learning, who supervises the RGL volunteers-as-staff, and reports to the minister. The Director of RGL also supervises part-time RGL staff.
Our RGL program provides young people with age-appropriate instruction about faith and the world; the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program provides age-appropriate information and discussion about the stages of life and includes information about sexuality.
Lay-led ministries are groups of church members and friends who are interested in specific topics, such as women’s spirituality or the environment. Any member wishing to create a lay-led ministry may do so by completing a form showing the interest of six members and describing the ministry’s connection to UCH’s mission. Lay-led ministries may meet in church space and request support services from staff. Lay-led ministries contribute brief written reports to the church’s annual report and are usually revenue-neutral (they support their activities through donations).
Board Committees are groups created by the Board to assist it in carrying out Board duties. Board committees are appointed by the Board, follow Board direction, and report to the Board.
Task Forces or Working Groups are groups of folks recruited to assist paid staff with the day-to-day operations of the church. People volunteer to be in these groups or are recruited, and do their work in conjunction with and under the supervision of paid staff. People in Task Forces or Working Groups are Volunteers-as-Staff (VAS).

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