Collegium exploring 'urgent' questions about national structure, staffing
Written by Edith A. Guffey
June - July 2006
July 1, 2006

"Part of the work of any organization is to continually assess how the work is being done as well as the effectiveness of the work itself."

Sometimes I lament being an administrator and wish I were more gifted in something much more exciting or jazzy than a person who primarily attends to the internal life of an organization. We all have our particular gifts and "the grass is always greener on the other side." I'm sure there are times (maybe not many, but surely some!) that others wish they dealt with more concrete parts of life and ministry than they do on a daily basis.

I say that as I write this column because I would love to write about the great annual meeting I just attended or to tell you about some of the exciting plans for 50th Anniversary or talk about my personal commitment to a particular justice concern, something that would be more "glamorous" and engaging.

But what I think you really need to hear from me is what's on the horizon for us as a church as we take another look at how we are doing the work that we are called to in the national setting.

Part of the work of any organization is to continually assess how the work is being done as well as the effectiveness of the work itself. We do that on an ongoing basis, but at times it is important to do so in a more intentional way.

At the request of the Collegium, the Executive Council agreed that we take another intentional look at how our current structure either supports or inhibits the work we are called to do in the financial context within we live. In short, what it means is that we are grateful for the hard work that so many have done over the years that has moved us organizationally to a new place. And in many ways that process has worked well.

We have also learned the challenges of how we are structured. We agree that now is the time to ask some additional and difficult questions that have been core to how we have organized ourselves and have been among us for a very long time. Questions that were there even in 2000, but we were not in a position to address. These are questions that we would be asking even if the dollars were plentiful. The financial context makes the questions more urgent.

Those questions are detailed in the report of the Collegium to the Covenanted Ministries' boards of directors and to the Executive Council and is found at ucc.org. I encourage you to read it carefully.

We are not interested in another 10-year restructuring process. Instead, we are very interested in exploring how to build on what we have done and how to continually assure that the work of the national setting is using the resources we have been given - both financial and human - in the most effective and faithful way.

Nothing glamorous, nothing jazzy, but so important to our life and witness as the church. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin this important work.

Edith A. Guffey is associate general minister and a member of the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers.  

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3801
guessb@ucc.org