Committee on Wellbeing of Shared Ministry (COWSM)
First Unitarian Church of Oakland
Committee on the Wellbeing of Shared Ministry
December 12, 2021
The Committee on the Wellbeing of Shared Ministry (Committee or CoWSM) shall represent the whole of First Unitarian Church of Oakland and shall monitor, evaluate, protect, educate, and advise in respect to the effectiveness of the fulfillment of the Church’s mission through the total of its ministry, inclusive of both professional and lay leadership functions.
The Board of Trustees will appoint Committee members, on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. No Church employee or contractor may be a Committee member. The Nominating Committee itself will select candidates from a prioritized list prepared by the CoWSM with input from the Board. Each member will serve a term of three years with a staggered rotation. The Board may remove a member from the Committee at any time without cause.
The Committee shall have a minimum of three members and a maximum of five members. The Lead Minister is a consultant to the Committee, is not a member, and does not vote.
The Committee selects a chair or a rotating chair structure and informs the Board of Trustees and the congregation whom to contact.
The Committee is an “Advisory Committee” under Article VI, Section 2(b) of the Bylaws. The Committee has the authority and power of recommending. The authority of the Committee is not a deciding but rather a discerning and advising authority, which is vested in it by the Board of Trustees and the congregation, specifically for the purpose of attending to the health and wholeness of covenant in congregational life.
Assessment. The Committee is responsible for developing and implementing a “full body scan” and evaluation of the congregation’s wellbeing, grounded in the church’s Mission and Covenant. The full body scan shall be a high-level, comprehensive look at all of the Church’s collaborative ministries, using applicable instruments and resources for communication and connection, selected by the Committee based on Unitarian Universalist Association and other relevant best practices. The Committee conducts the full body scan, reports findings to the Board, and conveys specific recommendations to leads of any relevant ministry at least once every three years or more frequently at the Committee’s discretion. The CoWSM’s role does not replace the ends monitoring role of the Board of Trustees.
Education and development. The Committee engages regularly with congregants and supports their continuing education to promote awareness and higher levels of commitment to the congregation’s mission-covenant and shared ministry. The Committee is responsible for development of connection with seminarians and affiliated ministers and for congregational sponsorship of ministerial candidates.
Consultation. The Committee consults with the Lead Minister as regards effective leadership and relationships, including planning for continuing education, sabbaticals, personal support, and other professional development; and with all other ministry leads as appropriate and meaningful. This also includes supporting a minister’s UUA fellowshipping process, if applicable. The Committee recommends the Lead Minister’s compensation package to the Board. Given its focus on the totality of the ministries, the Committee does not serve specifically as a support group for any particular person, role or group.
Recommendations. The Committee makes recommendations to all ministry leads relative to elevating their effectiveness, focusing on positive potential.
Conflict management. The Committee responds to any conflict or circumstance that might threaten or have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of the congregation’s shared ministry. The Committee’s primary role is to listen in a neutral, non-judgmental manner, to help the aggrieved person(s) understand and articulate their concern(s) and to encourage direct communication where possible. The responsibility for the resolution of member conflicts remains with the individuals involved, although the Committee will, in many cases, offer its services as facilitators. The Committee is not responsible for the outcomes of conflict resolution processes.
The Committee will strive to be in regular communication with the Board about its activities and recommendations. At a minimum, the Committee will report its activities to the Board at least on a quarterly basis.
The Committee will meet at least monthly and more often as needed and as agreed upon by the Committee. Routine meetings are closed. A majority of the Committee members shall constitute a quorum. The Committee may invite nonmembers to attend open meetings, but these individuals have no voting power.
The Committee will review its charter at least biannually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for review.
This charter was approved by the Board of Trustees on December 14, 2021. This charter was last updated on December 12, 2021.
Signed: Kathleen V. Radez, Board President
Meri Nieda Lane, Board Secretary