How We Govern Ourselves

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)—the national association of UU congregations.  The UUA is not a governing body. Our church governs itself.

This congregation is large enough—almost 700 adults and 200 children—that we need a formal structure to make things happen. In 2004 we adopted “Policy Governance” as the model that would provide that structure. Policy Governance is a governance model first developed by business consultant John Carver in the 1970s.  It has been promoted by the UUA and adopted by many Unitarian Universalist congregations.

Policy Governance can be boiled down to the following operating principles:

  • The governing board—our Board of Trustees—focuses on articulating vision, comprehensive policy-making and oversight.
  • Executives—our Coordinating Team, supported by other professional staff and volunteer teams—are empowered to make day-to-day decisions.
  • The Board controls staff not by telling them how to do their jobs, but by setting boundaries—defining what’s unacceptable—and allowing staff to design their work within those boundaries.
  • The Board does not involve itself in the day-to-day management of the organization.

On the following pages, you can learn more about the key components of our governing structure. They are our Board of Trustees, our Coordinating Team and our volunteer teams. You can also find all of the written policies that guide how we operate:  our Mission Statement, our Ends Statements, our Bylaws and our Board Policies.

Role of the Membership

Before moving on, however, let’s consider the role of the congregation or, as it is called in our Bylaws, “the Membership.” According to our Bylaws, the “Membership is the ultimate authority of the UUCC,” which exercises authority directly in the following ways:

  • by calling or dismissing Ministers, except for limited-time contracts
  • by electing the Trustees who constitute our Board of Trustees
  • by reviewing and approving the annual budget
  • by approving the purchase, sale or lease of any real estate
  • by approving our borrowing funds or spending unbudgeted funds when the amounts exceed 10% of the operating budget.

If you are a member of the congregation, you have less formal “jobs” as well:  to be involved in whatever ways are a good fit for you, to share your time and other resources, to pay attention and speak up when you have something to say and to support your Board and staff. Members help carry out the work of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte through volunteering for social justice outreach and advocacy, teaching CYRE classes, serving as lay service leaders, singing in the choir, serving on teams such as Congregational Care, Stewardship and Finance – and in countless other ways. See the list of teams elsewhere on this site.