Update: SJ Funding Input Circles

Rev. Erin and social justice teams held an open social justice potluck on June 12th.  Ten people attended and joined in conversation about creating a process to decide how we will allocate our remaining social justice funds for 2018-19. (Please see the background section below for information about the unallocated funding.) While ideas were shared for how to spend the money, we focused primarily on recommending a process to make this decision.

While the remaining funds to be allocated are only $4,827, we are viewing the development of this process as a trial run for how we could welcome congregational input next winter in developing the social justice budget before the annual budget drive begins.  We want to be sure that anyone interested has a chance to ask questions and offer their thoughts before the final budget requests are submitted. This process will then fold into the larger process for developing an overall budget goal for the congregation’s operating budget.

Proposed Process:

  • Erin and members will collaborate to create a vision and set of responsibilities to form a new Social Justice Team to work with her in strengthening and nurturing our shared justice ministry. These responsibilities would include inviting congregational input in establishing our justice ministry’s budgetary goals.

The following steps would take place after the congregation’s visioning and mission work is completed this fall to ensure mission alignment. They will also begin after Rev. Erin has returned from maternity leave this winter. The Social Justice Team, which will include Rev. Erin, will:

  • Initiate a stakeholder process to invite input in developing the guiding principles and values to be used in decision-making for our justice ministry programming and budgeting, ensuring alignment with our congregation’s ends statements.
  • Invite social justice groups, the congregation and staff to participate in at least two open stakeholder meetings on different days and times to solicit input for allocating the remaining SJ funds. The team will also reach out to staff and leaders in our Faith Formation programs – YRUU, COA and children’s programming – to invite collaboration in our justice work and planning.
  • Create and publicize an online form for people who cannot attend to provide input.
  • Review congregational, ministerial and staff input and the guiding values/principles for our justice ministry to propose allocations for the remaining SJ funds.
  • Solicit feedback through at least two forums and an online form.
  • Amend the proposal as necessary and submit to the senior staff team.
  • Invite others to join them in evaluating this process and creating suggestions for the future.

Background:  The offering generates approximately $33,000 a year.  Half of this is donated to our Faith in Action Outreach Partners. The other half supports the justice activities of our church in the wider community. This year, there remains $4827 to allocate, as illustrated below.