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Focusing Our Vision

UUAA's year-long visioning project, "Vision 20/50" collected congregants aspirations into a final report, “A Congregational Vision” , which was presented at the Annual Meeting in May, 2020. The report identified three priority areas and three foundational areas to guide and focus our future work together, work grounded in our UU Principles, UUAA Covenant, and UUAA Core Values. We will join in work toward climate justice, anti-racism/ anti-oppression, and radical welcome, while also working on a few of our structural needs-- strengthening our communications, financial health and our community support.

 

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So much of our community's actions and efforts - from the music we sing, to the work of our Faith In Action groups, to the content of our Sunday services - are already steps toward racial justice, climate justice, and radical welcome. Even before defining them as Vision 20/50 priorities, these themes have served as our collective North Star, there is beauty in seeing all of the ways our community is working towards that light.  Defining these priorities coming out of our Vision 20/50 process lets us be more purposeful, mindful, and celebratory as we strive toward achieving what we want to see in our UUAA community, SE Michigan, our country, and the world.

 

 

 

Action Planning - How can all of us live into our vision?

Board members Rick Witten and Kathy Edgren are serving as co-chairs of a Vision Steering Committee (VSC), which the Board charged with designing and overseeing a process for guiding and monitoring Action Planning in our three Vision 20/50 Priority Areas:

Climate Justice work

Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression work

Radical Welcome work

 

Timeline for Action Planning

September-October, 2020: Information Gathering on UUAA’s Capacity and Infrastructure

Co-chairs Rick & Kathy interviewed staff and lay leaders who are currently involved in work related to one of the three Priority Areas. They talked about what is working well, where groups are struggling, and what additional support could be helpful.

 

September Workshop during 'Welcome Back Week'

Twenty congregants attended a UUAA Welcome Back Week Zoom meeting that provided a history of the Vision 20/50 project and asked attendees to give their thoughts on effective ways to foster collaboration among groups,who should be involved and what the steering committee should be considering. This link will show you the participants’ feedback.

 

 November, 2020: Launch of Vision Steering Committee Meetings

This steering committee meets monthly to discuss the current capacity of UUAA’s infrastructure and what support is needed to guide a successful action planning process. The VSC also plans to address how this process will be woven into the foundation work and other business of the congregation, and how the Board of Trustees can monitor progress on the Priority Areas goals. The Steering Committee includes lay leaders and staff representing our three Priority Areas.A Vision Steering Committee “Work Group” was also formed as a more task-oriented subset of the VSC. This committee meets weekly and creates space for more in-depth discussions about how to create the specific steps needed for action planning—including ways to involve our youth and community partners.

 

Throughout 2021: The VSC will develop plans to guide the congregation through an Action Planning Process. This open and inclusive effort will draw on our collective ideas, talents and connections to generate goals, projects and tasks centered around our Three Priority Areas. The output of Action Planning will include a Strategic Plan for the next several years, as well as an intentional process for ongoing, iterated planning to allow flexibility and adaptation to a changing world.

 


 

PRIORITY AREA UPDATES

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Climate Crisis Action Group co-leaders, Jeannine LaPrad and Ruth Mohr, have invited about 25 people from UUAA groups working on climate-related issues to begin discussions about an organizing framework and structure for congregants to work together to advance our climate justice and sustainability goals and to identify what projects might be possible in 2021. The UUA’s revised Green Sanctuary Program is a possible framework for action planning, and could also be used to re-certify our congregation as a green sanctuary, meeting the newer, higher climate justice and environmental standards. Members of the following groups will guide these initial discussions:  the Climate Crisis Action Team, the Mindful Eating Team, UUAA youth working with the Sunrise Movement, and the Sustainability Team, which is working with U of M students on a carbon neutrality audit of our building. 

Opportunities for your involvement are coming soon.

 


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 The UUAA “Racial Justice Arc,” was designed to serve as a container to carry UUAA’s efforts in this Priority Area.  UUAA’s Coordinator of Congregational Life, QuianaDenae Perkins assembled a team of 18 congregants from her Welcome Back Week workshop to help define, refine and implement a structure that can support a range of congregational actions on local, regional, and national levels.

A trial set of activities will launch in February to honor Black History Month. In March the group will open up to other interested groups and individuals. Watch for exciting news from this group.

 

 

 


radicalwelcomequilt

 

 Members from several UUAA groups are working together to form a Radical Welcome Steering Committee guided by UUAA’s Coordinator of Welcome Ministries and Membership, Hannah Hotchkiss. The committee is participating in a “Transforming Hearts” workshop, which will provide a foundation for deepening understanding of what “Radical Welcome” means and how it can be articulated to the congregation.

In February, the Steering Committee will meet to more fully define their group, and in the coming months, the team will invite others to join. Future activities could include book discussions and forums. Watch the E-News and Newsletter for updates and information.

 

 

 

 


 

PROGRESS ON OUR FOUNDATIONAL WORK

 Staff and knowledgeable congregational leaders are working together on the three foundational areas outlined in “A Congregational Vision.” It’s important that these be addressed in parallel with the Priority Areas to ensure success and sustainability of our vision goals. Here are some highlights of work that has begun:

 

Strengthening Our Communications

Creating comprehensive internal and external communication processes for a congregation our size is a complicated endeavor and will take some time. Some foundational changes are beginning.

Kari Gottfried, UUAA’s part-time Communications Ministry Specialist, is working with a Communications Team of lay volunteers and staff to create content for social media, revitalize the UUAA website, and update and create communications policies. This team is also thinking about ways for groups in the congregation to publicize their events and communicate with the wider congregation more effectively.

UUAA's new Realm congregation database includes tools that promise to improve intra-congregational communication. The system has a built-in web accessible (private) photo directory and group communications tools. Congregants will be able to customize the information and events they see and interact with. Be sure to sign up and begin exploring!

Strengthening Our Beloved Community

Creating a Beloved Community is a long-term commitment to having deep discussions and sometimes difficult conversations with each other. "What are the underlying assumptions of our culture?” "Are we really accepting of ALL no matter their faith, class, color, and mental health?” The Racial Justice Arc, the Trans Inclusion seminar, Interweave, the Womyn's Council, and the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry are examples of groups exploring how we can create a place where all can come together as ourselves, knowing we are all different, with different ways of being—and how this makes us all stronger.

 Strengthening Our Financial Stability

UUAA's Realm database has financial tools that will make it easier for congregants to renew their yearly pledges, track their donation history, and text donations. Watch for new features as they become available.

 Executive Minister Cassandra Hartley and Stewardship Chair Beth Hospadaruk are facilitating a multi-week workshop called “Wi$dom Path.”  This UUA seminar explores personal attitudes about money and how money can connect us to our values and faith. More financial-themed classes are planned.

 All three foundational areas are strengthened by features in our new Realm database. If you have not yet signed up for Realm, you can request an invitation to join by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.To read more about Realm, click here.

 

 

Thank you for taking time to learn more about our efforts to move Vision 20/50 forward. Your questions are welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

Vision 20/50 Resources

Want to learn more about our Vision process and background? Check out these resources:

 Vision 20/50 History & Timeline

 Vision 20/50 Partner Outreach & Feedback Summary

 Our Core Values - How should we bring these alive in our work?

Our History - What are we proud of that we would like to do more of in the future?

Mayor's Proclamation and Partner Organization Appreciations on our 150th Anniversary in 2015

 

 

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