What is it?
This will be a year to discern how we become a community:
o that people love and want to serve,
o that allows all members to feel that their work fits into the big picture of the meeting,
o that offers members a universal sense of both caring for and being cared for,
o and that efficiently identifies and recognizes the talents of each member so that we are all left with ample time to deepen our spirituality and community-building.
We hope to be joyful, intentional and corporate in our discernment, to listen to each other and to the Divine, and to listen and share our leadings with one another as we seek a deeper spirituality.
What it isn't
The year of discernment will not be a time to stop our work. We hope it will be a time of excitement and refreshment because work feels different from the usual. We will not be “laying down” committees or asking committees to stop doing certain things. We have also come to realize that work which may seem less essential is often work which people love, and that has led into some close community for the people doing it.
Rather, committees will be asked to examine their work and their mission with questions such as: how is the work connected to the big picture of UFM's work; how can the work be more enriching and fulfilling to committee members; how can (does) the committee build community?
Structural Aspects of the Discernment Year
The structural aspects of the year of discernment will have two parts: the creation of a steering committee to guide the process, and some modest reorganizing of committees to make better use of UFM's existing resources.
Nominating Committee will nominate, and bring forward for the approval of meeting for business, a “Discernment Year Steering Committee.” This committee will oversee the preparation, implementation and analysis of the discernment process and prepare a proposal for the actions that will follow the year of discernment. Nominating Committee hopes that the steering committee would be approved by February and would immediately begin the preparation phase of their work.
Preparation - February through May 2008 (with some aspects carrying over into implementation). Engage the community in an analysis of what is the essential work and how it gets done and/or ask individual committees to consider the essential aspects of their work. Are there other ways to do it? Are there other committees with which they could be cooperating? Work with various committees (Oversight, W&M, Friends Center, Adult Religious Education) to organize the activities of discernment that will take place throughout the year.
Implementation - June 2008 through May 2009. See that spiritual nurturing and community building are taking place. Check in on the discernment processes; help with questions and queries. The Steering Committee could work with the various committees and groups within the meeting to be the guide for these processes, not the “doer.” Implementation could include the proposal of mid-course corrections, if needed.
Analysis - March through May 2009 (or some later period, if proposed by the steering committee). Engage the community in analysis of where we are and what we have discerned. Pull together proposals for the next steps.