Visioning Process

Our New Vision

Over the last two years we have been working on the visioning process for the future of First Church.  Thanks to all who participated in our visioning project.  This vision was adopted by the Board in August, 2015.

First Unitarian Church is a beacon of hope for us and our community, a Spiritual center in the heart of the city that helps each of us to find our moral compass, calling and challenging us to build the beloved community with an ever deepening sense of spirit, diversity and inclusion.

Our Visioning Path

“Our aspiration is to nurture the individual spirit and, together, build the Beloved Community.” -- Reverend Bill Sinkford

Starting Dec. 11, 2014, and continuing for four weeks, the board wants to share with you the journey we are on, that by the end of this church year, will lead us to a vision for First Church for the next few years.

First Posting (Dec. 11, 2014):

Where We Started
• In the fall of 2013 consultant Nancy Olson conducted sessions with congregants to help us share our dreams for the future of First Unitarian Church.
• We looked at developing a spiritual and socially conscious path for the future. 
• Other smaller sessions took place during the later part of the year.
• More than 300 congregants participated in these exciting discussions.
• From these meetings recurring themes appeared.  
They are:
• Center for Spiritual Deepening
• Welcoming, Inclusive and Diverse Community
• Center for Community Involvement and Justice Making
• Center for Strengthening UU's Connections

Second Posting (Dec. 18, 2014):
Center for Spiritual Growth & Engagement
• Visioning our future at First Unitarian Church
• At the beginning of our 2014/15 church year Rev. Bill Sinkford’s sermon brought together the themes into these key points:
• Spiritual Growth because we yearn for a depth of spiritual life that can see us through, and help us find meaning for our lives.
• We yearn for depth of connection to others, to ourselves and to the Spirit of Life, or however we may name it.
• A center for spiritual growth that not only nurtures us, but calls us into engagement with others and with our world.

Third Posting (Dec. 23, 2014)
What We Have Implemented
Parts of the vision have already been implemented, including new ways we’re getting out message out:
Increasing our technological communication including live-streaming our services, twitter feed, facebook, and use of video clips.
Strengthening our collaboration with the Mt Hood Cluster of UU churches and our District.

Fourth (final) Posting (Dec. 29, 2014)

Your Involvement in the Future - beginning in the new year we will be preparing to continue the process:
Roll out of Pathways for Engagement 
Involving the congregation in a “Listening Project” to validate this vision path.
Stay tuned!

Visioning graphic

Results from the Combined Vision Survey
Here is the summary from last spring's survey:

Results from the November Visioning Sessions 
We had some very exciting and informative sessions in November with members and friends of the church and here are the results from those gatherings:

Here is a "Vision Landscape" that shows the themes that were created during the group meetings' processes.

Visioning Process 
Description and Timeline
(As described by our consultant, Nancy Olson)
Creating and moving into possible futures for First Church is a long range process, although it can easily be conceived in three, fairly straight forward phases:

Phase I: Engaging the congregation in conversations about what matters to them; co-creating and developing future scenarios
Phase II: Finalizing specific scenarios; developing strategies to move toward the scenarios
Phase III: Revising and implementing strategies; living into the desired futures

The process described herein specifically addresses Phase I, with the understanding that the process may move along at a different pace and parts of Phase II may also be accomplished. Planning and time frames for Phases II and III are totally dependent on the outcomes of Phase I and are mentioned here simply as place holders for a beginning to end view.

Phase I:
Engaging the congregation and co-creating future scenarios.
August 2013-March or May 2014

Intentions of Phase I
• Strengthen and build ownership in church community;
• Create welcoming space that cultivates engagement, commitment, diversity of thought;
• Facilitate conversations which invite future possibilities to emerge;
• Involve broad participation of members, friends, participants and key community groups;
• Integrate vision process into existing structures for engaging congregation and gathering information;
• Provide efficient avenues for collecting and collating information;
• Provide ongoing feedback to congregation re: results and progress;
• Acknowledge engagement and accomplishments throughout Phase I;
• Ensure participation and gather information needed to develop future scenarios for First Church.

Phase I Deliverables (by May 31, 2014)
• Broad base involvement in vision process;
• List of possible future scenarios;
• Replicable process to use in subsequent planning;
• Recommendations for next steps;
• Draft of 2014-15 process for Phase II and/or Phase

Process Design
Phase I has three tracks: Historical Data, Engagement (or Strategic Conversations) and Leadership Coaching. 
The focus of the Historical and Survey Data Track is to gather and collate information from:

• First Church history (historic records, past long range planning, past campaign, what learned, etc);
• Pertinent info from congregational surveys, additional church data gathered from other sources.

(Additional data will be needed once particular scenarios have been identified. This relates more to Phases II and III.)

The focus of the Engagement Track is on facilitating thoughtful, relevant conversations which encourage individuals to share their stories, dreams, longings, and connect those with others and the future of First Church. The Engagement Track constitutes the bulk of the visioning process. The goal is to reach a broad base of members, friends and affiliated community groups through several venues, including:

• Conversations with board, ministers, staff, committee chairs;
• Structured conversations through the Annual Fund Drive gatherings (September-October);
• A series of large scale congregation-wide conversations held in November and March;
• Small group discussions with children, youth and young adults (age 18-23) (December-February);
• Conversations with affiliated groups (January-February);
• Additional surveys, if needed for those not reached through the above conversations, via social media.

Board Officers, Executive Team and other key committees/leaders would receive on-going Leadership Coaching, guidance and support through-out the vision process.