NEW BREATH! NEW CONNECTIONS! NEW FIRE!
This past Sunday, Jenna McPartland, Tom Hearne and Rev. John told us about an approaching endeavor that is emerging in our congregation. With the start of the year, it has been proposed that we initiate a process known as ‘Appreciative Inquiry” (AI). AI is a process of identifying our individual and congregational strengths and joining them to our aspirations. This initiative will enhance our connectedness and soulfulness. It will also guide us in generating a new collective vision for our future as a congregation.
You might ask: Where did this initiative come from?
A working committee was approved by our Board of Trustees last summer. That committee included Jenna McPartland (COM), Ravi Sankar (BT & PCC), Steven Grathwohl. (BT & Finance), Luke Garvey (BT), Tom Hearne (PCC) and Rev. Jim Francek (PCC). As a committee they were to review options for addressing the cultural aspects of change and specific issues that surfaced within our community. To achieve our purpose, we very quickly concluded that in the interest of objectivity and credibility, we needed outside help. We solicited input from the UUA and other independent resources and identified three candidate organizations. We then interviewed, solicited proposals, compared the proposals and held further interviews to compare the approaches. As a result of this process, we selected the Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change.
The Rocky Mountain Center uses appreciative inquiry as the basis for going forward. This approach has a strong track record in faith communities, including the Gathered Here process conducted by UUA nationally, as well as in our own congregation in 2011. It embraces a positive, generative philosophy, building on our individual and collective strengths to reconnect with each other and our beloved community. When following conflicts, it strengthens relationships and builds stronger communities. It follows a principle of social construction that embraces our community as a whole, levels the power dynamics and is inclusive of all.
As part of this process of rebuilding our energy and forward movement, we will have a full discussion of the role of forgiveness as an essential experience in any healthy organization. And as we grow to practice “appreciative forgiveness”, we expect a collective experience of growth and maturity.
We look forward to launching the Appreciative Inquiry effort and It is our hope that the following aspects of our community will be enhanced:
- Enhanced Leadership – with greater diversity and inclusivity in decision making processes
- A picture of who we are and what our aspirations are as a group.
The next stage of development of this effort is the creation of our Congregational Team. This group of 10-15 people will be as broad a representation of our community as possible. With that in mind congregants will be invited to serve on this team within the next few weeks – and volunteers are welcome! We hope each of you will be an active participant in the Appreciative Inquiry process. There are many ways to engage, including:
- Serving on the Congregational Team to guide the process
- Being interviewed and interviewing others
- Participating during Sunday service
- Joining ad hoc task teams to help organize and conduct various activities
- Attending our Community Summit event (TBD)
If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact one of the persons on the committee. listed above.