#373 | Gordon Van de Water | Strategic Plan

Submission 373
Gordon Van de Water
First Universalist Church of Denver

What is your suggestion or idea?

I suggest the UUA take the following
approach to implementing the action recommendations of the A2SC Report.

  1. Retain the current Section C-2.1, “Principles”.
    These are bedrock principles that remain relevant. The current principles, with
    the 8th principle added (or perhaps moved, with some edits, to the Purposes section),
    should be reviewed to see if the language needs updating along the lines
    suggested in the 2010 proposal to revise Article II.

  2. Re-cast the A2SC recommendations into a strategic plan
    format that: (a) leads with an analysis of changes in the larger world to which
    the strategic plan responds and an analysis of needed changes to the UUA’s
    operating environment and structure; and (b) edits the proposed actions as
    needed to conform to our underlying principles and increase inclusivity (as
    recommended in Barry Mahoney’s suggested amendments).

  3. Discuss this new approach at GA23, amend it as
    needed, and direct the UUA president to submit the resulting strategic plan to
    the Board of Trustees for review and transmission to GA24 for a final vote.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

Following a
close reading of the Study Commission’s Report, I conclude that the proposed
changes to Article II lay out an action plan for the UUA and its congregations
that is better suited to being a strategic plan for the organization. I say
this for two reasons: (1) embedding an action plan in Bylaws which are reviewed
every 15 or more years takes away the UUA’s flexibility to respond more quickly
to changing conditions; and (2) a strategic plan is regularly reviewed, say
every 3-5 years, and adjusted to meet current conditions.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

This idea has been circulated among leaders at First Universalist along with other ideas for improving the success of the A2SC report. Altogether, about fify members of First Universalist of Denver had an opportunity to provide feedback on the strategic plan idea along with other suggested changes. Roughly half of this group provided positive feedback, about 40% did not comment, and the remainder provided negative feedback.