It’s essential to be aware of the deep roots of OUC in United Church history and Christian belief … it’s valuable to notice how strong and sturdy the trunk has grown over 3 decades … it’s helpful to recognize the five main branches of our tree as the main ministry areas of our church – worship, outreach, learning, care, and resources … we would be wise to observe how nutrients, both spiritual and material, flow through the membranes of the wood to feed and grow the whole tree … we’re encouraged as we harvest all the different fruit OUC has produced throughout its life so far. But it’s the leaves that capture our imagination.
The leaves of the tree are our ministry, and the power of our many leaves (think photosynthesis here, with the sun shining on our leaves and generating the energy of life) is remarkable. That’s what’s happening here, every day, within dozens of ministry programs, events, and actions. Our individual “ministry leaves” make the difference. Our ministries contribute to the wholeness of all, both within and beyond our congregation. And through our “ministry leaves,” Orleans United is becoming a tree of life in God’s creation.
Toward a “Branch Model” of Governance
The Future Directions Team has been struck by the strength of so many of our OUC Ministry Teams. Without those leaves, we would not be the vibrant church community that is Orleans United. We want this to continue and do not want to add more work or responsibility to those who are Ministry Team Leaders, or to increase risk of personal burnout. We want to “widen the circle” and “share the load.” We want leaders who are enthusiastic about more grass roots ministry activities throughout the congregation. We want to have an ongoing governing body tasked with guiding the future directions of OUC and recommend that this become an explicit role of a new Council model.
The trunk of our tree is Council, and currently the Council with Members-At-Large to nurture and anchor the many ministry leaves on our tree.
Newly elected Council Members will be tasked with establishing useful connections with Ministry Teams. We see each new “Member-At-Large” as relating closely with a small portfolio of Ministry Teams (e.g., Elders, Property, Choir), growing relationships with those Team Leaders, supporting their work where needed, while promoting creativity and resiliency within all ministries of the congregation.
Effective July 1, 2014
COMPOSITION (11 voting members and 2 non-voting members [Clergy])
- 3 Lead Members (Chairs) – to guide the Council and Congregation
- 4 Resource Members (Treasurer, Secretary, 2 Clergy) – to supply the Council with useful information for their work
- 6 Members-At-Large, elected by the congregation, to relate personally with Ministry Team Leaders
MEETING FREQUENCY (6 regular meetings per year, plus more as required)
- August, October, December, January, March, May (open to all)
- Anticipates email conversations as required to handle emergent tasks
MEMBERS-AT-LARGE CONTACT WITH MINISTRY TEAM LEADERS (portfolio of 3-4)
- Each portfolio will include a broad spectrum of ministries from 5 main ministry areas
- After establishing an understanding of each Ministry Team and a relationship with Team Leaders, ongoing contact will be 3 times a year minimum (Fall, Winter, Spring)
- Contact should include conversations about current actions, new directions and grassroots initiatives, recent struggles and successes, communication strategies, needs that Council help and support, guidance and encouragement of leader, information from Council
COMMUNICATING MINISTRY TEAM INFORMATION WITH COUNCIL
- Highlights from different Ministry Teams at each Council meeting
- Consultation with Council about ministry initiatives
- Actions requested from Ministry Teams
- Face to Face conversation with Council on specific matter
COMMUNICATING WITH THE CONGREGATION
- Quarterly report of Council Actions and Ministry Initiatives (Annual Reports)
- Highlighting ongoing business and planning of the Congregation
- Reflecting holistically on the health and wellbeing of the Congregation
ESTABLISHING USEFUL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN MINISTRY TEAMS
- Helping Ministry Teams work on projects together
- Suggesting ways Ministry Teams can support each other
- Raising consciousness of other Ministry Teams activities
GUIDING THE FUTURE DIRECTIONS OF THE CONGREGATION
- Re-imagine Council agenda that encourages conversation about moving forward in ministry as much as reviewing the past efforts
- Time dedicated at each Council Meeting to long range strategic planning
- Continue the strategic planning mandate of the Future Directions Ministry Team