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Accountable to the Mission

Greater Nashville UU is committed to congregational governance according to the Governance and Ministry model detailed in Dan Hotchkiss's book Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership.

In it, he explains that the Board is accountable to the mission of the congregation for the wise use of congregational resources to advance that mission.

congregational mission

The transforming power of love is our core belief.
We embody a sanctuary of compassion, integrity, and respect.
We champion justice, equity, and peace.
— The mission statement of Greater Nashville UU

In January of 2017, after a 6 month process of discussion, review, and consultation, the congregation adopted a new mission statement.

This mission guides the congregation now as we work to become ever more welcoming and more deeply engaged in making Nashville a kinder place to call home.


Congregational covenant

We covenant together to make a welcoming community,
To walk together in the way of truth and love,
To seek the life of the spirit, as it is known by each person,
To support each other in thought, word, and deed,
As we work to build a better world.
— The covenant of Greater Nashville UU

Our work together at Greater Nashville UU is guided by two commitments we each make to each other and to the communities we engage. Unitarian Universalists are people of covenant. Covenant is an old word that means a promise. It’s the promise we make about how we want to be in community together. It’s a promise to keep trying. It’s a promise to acknowledge when we fall short. It’s a promise to do better.

If the Covenant is the heart of how we work together, then our code of conduct is the brain. It’s the practical advice for how to work well in a community of loving and fallible volunteers. Our code of conduct is inspired by a number of other excellent projects including Speak Up! and PyCon.


Congregational Code of Conduct

Be friendly and patient.

Be welcoming.

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.

Be considerate.

Others depend on the work that you do. You in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you make will affect co-congregants, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions.

Be respectful.

Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.We should be respectful when dealing with other members as well as with people outside the community.

Be careful in the words that you choose.

We are a spiritual community, and we conduct ourselves with kindness.

Be kind to others.

Do not insult or put down others. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior are not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person.

  • Discriminatory jokes and language.

  • Sharing sexually explicit or violent material.

  • Sharing (or threatening to share) other people's personally identifying information ("doxing").

  • Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.

  • Unwelcome sexual attention.

  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

  • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.

When we disagree, try to understand why.

Disagreements happen all the time. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Remember that we’re different. Our strength comes from our diversity. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.

Set and respect agendas.

When groups of people gather together, it’s important for them to understand the purpose of the meeting. Agendas help set expectations: when meetings start, when they stop, how people should prepare, what activities will occur, what will be discussed. Time is a precious commodity. In a community of volunteers, agendas help us use that time wisely. Consequently, it is not appropriate to attempt to divert a meeting from its stated agenda. Meeting moderators are responsible for helping a group keep to its agenda.

Use established processes.

The GNUUC Board, over the course of the past 5 years, has built policies that guide the working of the congregation. These policies provide mechanisms for conflict resolution and further improvement of policy. These policies provide a consistent, equitable, and transparent process for the operation of the congregation. It is inappropriate to circumvent the established procedures of the congregation.

Ask the Healthy Congregation Team for Help.

Violations of the code of conduct will be referred to the Healthy Congregation Teams and addressed through the GNUUC Grievance Policy, unless such violations are a threat to the personal safety of a congregant. In that case, those issues will be handled according to the GNUUC Congregational Safety Policy.


Management

Operational Protocols

The Board in cooperation with paid and volunteer staff develop operational policies for the congregation.


Finance

The Finance Committee provides technial expertise to the Board in the development of financial  policies.

Personnel

The Personnel Committee is a Board Commitee that provides oversight for staff and benefits.


Nominating

The Nominating Committee is a Board Committee that identifies and helps develop leadership talent.