2021 UCM Working Vision Statement
2021 UCM Working Vision Statement
Note: This Working Vision Statement was adapted from the 2020 Vision (which was approved by the Board on February 2, 2016 and accepted by the Congregation on February 14, 2016).
The 2021 updates were recommended by the Visioning Task Force in May, 2021, to be accepted by the Board May 2021, for presentation to the congregation at the May, 2021 Annual Meeting. As we emerge from the pandemic, the next step is to seek congregational input, and ultimately approval, of the next iteration of our Vision.
We continue to embrace the differences among us. Long-time members and friends stretch their comfort zones and welcome people with a wide range of spiritual, racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds. We are refugees and seventh generation Vermonters; we have different abilities and different gender identities. We are a safe place for people who have experienced deep trauma, including those who experience addiction, homelessness, and mental illness. Our welcoming practices continue to evolve to ensure that all feel equally welcomed here.
When we talk with one another, people really listen and feel heard. We engage in thoughtful conversations about our most deeply held beliefs and passions. Together, we make meaning of the joys and sorrows of our lives. We can disagree and still move forward together. Many new members of all ages bring new verve and creativity to congregational life and leadership.
As a congregation, we engage in serious study of the underlying causes of violence, poverty, racism, and the climate crisis, and the most effective ways for us to act for justice, peace, and environmental sustainability. We are learning about these issues all the time. Out of our discernment process, the congregation chooses the ways we are most called, skilled, and positioned to stand in solidarity with our neighbors and our planet, both systemically and directly. In collaboration with people with lived experience, nearby churches, and organizations, we work to address and diminish our societal problems of homelessness, hunger and incarceration.
Spiritual practice and spiritual seeking continue to center our community. Music, dance, and art enrich our worship. We offer a space for daily quiet meditation. To accommodate our growing numbers, we supplement our main Sunday service with worship at other times and places (such as a half-hour Sunday morning multi-age service and an all-music service). During the summer, after our regular church year has ended, visiting artists, social activists, spiritual leaders, and members conduct services. Our name communicates the fullness of our Unitarian Universalist identity and the richness of our spiritual backgrounds.
Most of us take part in at least one of the broad array of small group discussions, book groups, and classes on subjects ranging from parenting and aging, to Unitarian Universalist history, anti-racism, white privilege, and global water resources. Out of this reflection and study, there is ongoing feedback to the congregation about practical ways for us to live into our Mission.
We have completed a long-range study of our physical space and accessibility needs, that creatively considered options such as new locations, Sunday morning rentals, and reconfiguration of our building. We are starting to move forward with plans to make adjustments to our programs and physical space as needed according to the conclusions of the study, for example pursuing multiple worship opportunities (i.e. in-person and virtual) and expanding our ventilation.
As the climate crisis continues, our congregation acts in solidarity with the climate movement in a manner which recognizes the worth and dignity of all people. We support one another to make the difficult and urgent personal changes necessary to live sustainably. We arrive at church on foot, on bikes, online, or in carpools. As an integral part of Montpelier’s transition from oil dependency to community resiliency, we continue to make our building more energy efficient and to reduce our use of fossil fuels. In all our decisions as a congregation, we consider carefully the resources of the earth we are using. Each of us, at every age, is grappling with how to act out our understanding that we are part of the interdependent web of all existence.
By engaging in beloved community, we feel supported and inspired to be peacemakers, justice-seekers, and loving people of our world.
Click here to read the Governing Board’s Working Priorities for 2021.