A few months ago I wrote about what I learned from our beloved American Staffordshire terrier, Miss Daisy. Thinking about this inspires me to write my last blogpost about what I’ve learned this past year – my final year – from serving on the board.
- Collaboration is key. No one person on a team is the only leader. We each step up to lead when our individual skill set is needed. This coming year you have elected Sheila Whybrow president, and Sheila and Holly Coryell will collaborate to lead the board. Collaborative leadership provides for a supportive environment.
- That said, it is important that the board speaks with one voice. Open discussion, differing with respect, working toward “Yes, I can live with that” is the goal. Leadership helps move that discussion forward and ensures that all have a voice.
- Being on the board takes courage. We deal with challenging issues and decisions. We do our best to do the work of the church with our purposes and principles, our bylaws, our policies, and our covenant as guideposts. It is complicated.
- Differing is important. Differing respectfully with an open mind is essential. My point of view is only one of many. Being in covenant means we express, we listen, we discuss and we support the outcome.
- Situations can be complicated with information and history – sometimes confidential – that present a challenge beyond a simple facade.
- Infusing meetings and our work with reverence, deep respect, appreciation, care for each other, and fun makes a huge difference! Being able to share grief, friendship, and laughter matters.
- Connecting with others in our denomination locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally is a powerful experience. It has helped me understand that we share similar concerns and challenges and that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from each other.
- Working toward beloved community and widening our circle is amazing work. This does not mean, however, that we are unboundaried. Appropriate boundaries are an important element of healthy relationships.
- Communication is hard and essential. What makes perfect sense to me makes no sense to someone else. We keep trying.
- Grace creates openings for connections. Judgements do not. Assume good will, ask a question and listen to the answer, establish healthy boundaries, acknowledge others’ experiences, understand that the obvious may not be.
Be well, have fun, find joy, and be surprised. It has been an honor to serve.
With deep care and respect,
President, Board of Trustees