the OUUC spark
May 25, 2023
Making a Vision a Reality - Rev. Sara Lewis
We’ve probably all had an idea or a vision of something at some point - that business you might start, book you might write, project you’d like to launch, or party you’d like to host. Whatever the idea might be, it can be delightful just to have the idea. And it can also be wonderful to make your vision real, to do the work to actually follow through on it.
Within the systems of our congregation, how do ideas and visions become real things? I’d like to tell you all the story of the new Equity Library that Jo Ann Young started this year as an example of how visions can become realized here.
The first step for the library was as an idea in Jo Ann’s head and heart. She had an idea of something that she would enjoy doing and that she believed would benefit the world and be in alignment with our OUUC mission. That’s step one: what would you like to do and how is it in alignment with our OUUC mission? Once you know that you’re ready for step two.
Step two is to begin talking to other people and asking questions. Questions like, is anyone already working on similar ideas? Who will be affected by your idea? Who should be consulted? And who might help? Do others also like this idea? Do they share your vision? Would they like to work on it with you? If their vision is slightly different, how do you together craft a new shared vision? Jo Ann began talking to people about her library idea by making an appointment to talk to me and to Anissa, to find out what was already available for children in the OUUC library and to explain her idea. She asked for ideas of other folks who might like this idea and share this vision.
Around about this time it’s good to move to step three - crafting a written plan. The plan doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to have all the details but it’s good to have something as a starting place that can be shared. Something with estimates or answers to questions like: what is the purpose of this project, what good impacts do you envision from this project, how is it in alignment with our congregational mission and values, who is part of this project, what resources (space, time, money, people, etc) are needed, what is the communication plan to let everyone know about it, and other things like that. Jo Ann wrote up a plan like that and brought it to the Faith in Action Leadership Team and to me and Rev Mary.
And that is Step Four: to bring the plan for the idea to teams and the staff in that ministry area. Not sure who that is? Ask! If the first staff person or team you reach out to doesn’t think they are the right people, they can help you find the right ones. At the moment, if your vision involves the Resource Ministry (buildings and grounds, finances, equipment, website, and so forth) the person to start with is Darlene, our Congregational Administrator. If your project is in spiritual life (worship, pastoral care, spiritual practices), you should talk to Rev Mary. And if it is in education or faith development, faith in action, or community life (social groups, events, and membership) then the person to talk to is me, Director of Community and Faith Development.
After Step Four there may very well be other steps. If money is going to be needed, talking to the staff who manage existing budgets to see if there is money available is a good next step. And if it is the time of year for putting in requests for the next year’s budget, you can make a request for funds to be in that budget. Jo Ann did just those steps - she approached me about existing budgets, and so some initial expenses (books, a book cart) were supported by the Family Ministry Budget. And she put in a budget request for the new budget year (which ended up not being in the final budget after necessary budget cuts … that happens too).
Finding the right space is another task. Other users of a space need to be consulted. How will your project affect others? Jo Ann talked to Rev Mary and me about where she would like her library to sit, and then others were also consulted, such as Marie, our facilities manager. We worked out a space use plan together.
And then there is communication. How will you let people know about your project? We have a variety of communication methods at OUUC, and a staff communications team of Teresa, Communications and Tech Coordinator, Darlene, Congregational Administrator, Rev Mary, and myself, the Director of Community and Faith Development. Contact any of us to begin crafting a communications plan.
These were the steps that brought our new Children’s Equity Library into existence. This beautiful library started off as a vision. And now it is a reality. Come and check out the library! And tell Jo Ann how cool her vision is!
The Tiny Little News Show
Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Location: 2315 Division St NW, Olympia, WA, USA
Phone: (360) 634-2005
Tuesday - Thursday, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Rev. Mary Gear, Minister
Rev. Sara Lewis, Director of Community and Faith Development
Troy Fisher, Music Director
Darlene Sarkela, Congregational Administrator
Teresa Madsen, Communications & Tech Coordinator
Marie Arensmeyer, Facilities Manager
Anissa Bentlemsani, Religious Education Assistant
Carbon Marshall, Tech Specialist