Governance Overview

At First Unitarian, we fully strive to honor the UU principle supporting the use of democratic process in our congregation. We aspire to open, transparent, frank, responsive and respectful leadership that truly honors the inherent worth and dignity of all.

Governance at First Unitarian starts with you, our members. There is no higher authority in our church than the members acting collectively at our Annual Meeting or at a Special Membership Meeting. Under our church bylaws members elect the church governing body, referred to as the Board of Trustees, approve the annual church budget, consider Bylaws amendments, and make the final decision as to approval of any call of a new Senior Minister. Without our members, there is no church to govern.

Our Board of Trustees is the legal representative of the church and oversees general church business, subject to the will of the Church membership. The Board comprises nine members. Three new members are elected at each Annual Meeting to serve three-year terms. The Trustees elect their President, Vice-President and Secretary from their membership, each of whom serve one-year officer terms. Board members have expected roles and responsibilities.

The Board strives to advance the Church’s long-term Mission and Ends. The Board approves a series of written church Governing Policies and holds the Senior Minister accountable for compliance. Ours is a form of policy-based governance. The Board meets monthly. Church members are notified well in advance of meeting dates, with access to agendas and documents. They are encouraged to attend and invited to address the Board at any time.

The Board and our Senior Minister are accountable to the Church membership for the organizational performance of First Unitarian Church. As the Church’s religious and operational leader, the Senior Minister oversees Church staff and reports monthly to the Board of Trustees. The Senior Minister, staff, Board, and church membership constitute a partnership in the governance of First Unitarian.

Church member involvement in our governance is a year-round endeavor, with ongoing opportunities to participate in church governance, including through:

  • Attending and speaking at Board of Trustee meetings
  • Informally sharing ideas or concerns with the Board and Senior Minister
  • Responding to surveys and participating in meetings, such as those called to prepare the annual budget
  • Serving as non-Board representatives to Board Committees, including the Governance Committee
  • Serving on the Board
  • Participating in the annual meeting and any special congregational meetings

For further information about First Unitarian governance, contact a Board member or e-mail the Board of Trustees at BoardofTrustees@UCDSM.org