from Laura Park, Managing Director
At times like these, maintaining good governance is probably not your first priority, but when I talk with our clients about how good governance supports their efforts to respond nimbly to the current coronavirus crisis, I hear they are particularly grateful for clarity about:
Take, for example, the decision to close the congregation's building. For many congregations, this need came quickly, changing almost overnight. When everyone in the governance system clearly understands the building as a means of the ministry and there are boundaries established that the minister may not endanger the safety of the congregation, closing the building becomes an easier decision to implement quickly and at the appropriate moment.
Or take the decision to continue paying staff during the time the building is closed. The Unitarian Universalist Association wrote a very useful article on this issue. This decision is made much more easily when congregations have clearly articulated core values that call them to compassion. In addition, the boundary that the minister may not allow the congregation to develop fiscal jeopardy provides the freedom to continue paying staff as long as possible, since most congregations will be able to rely on current pledges for the near term to support budgeted staff hours, thus avoiding fiscal jeopardy.
Clear, mission-driven, values-aligned governance happens through intention and practice. Our website has a wealth of information about how you can build such a governance system. Please get in touch if we can support your efforts to use governance well during these challenging times. Be well. Stay safe.
Our thinking about the role of governance in congregational life.