Governing and Managing the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence


Shared Leadership

Responsibility and authority for our congregation is broadly shared among our minister, staff, lay leaders, and members.  Shared leadership is consistent with, and a part of, our shared ministry.

Members and Congregational Polity

Like other Unitarian Universalist congregations, the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence is self-governed.  We support Unitarian Universalist principles as dues-paying members of the Unitarian Universalist Association, yet we are independent.  Our members support the work of this congregation with funds and volunteer time.  Members approved our mission and are ultimately responsible to see that we govern ourselves, invest our resources, and manage programs to further our mission.  Members call our Minister, elect the board of trustees and officers, approve the annual budget, and authorize congregation-wide social actions.

Minister:  Our minister, the Reverend Janet C. Bush, provides spiritual leadership, leads worship, oversees our programs, provides pastoral care, supervises staff, and represents our congregation to the larger community.  The Minister works in partnership with lay leaders, our staff, and volunteers.

Board of Trustees:  The board of trustees leads and governs the Society on behalf of our members though policy, planning, and financial oversight.  Trustees develop the annual budget and monitor finances. The board appoints committees and task forces and convenes congregational meetings. It advises staff, Councils, and committees on programs and operations.  It stays informed about key programs and activities and may provide input and advice as needed.

Coordinating Council:  The coordinating council is comprised of committee chairs or their representatives to facilitate communication and cooperation among committees.  The council seeks opportunities to further the mission or programming of the Society, and addresses problems that arise in the Society’s operations.  Council members provide support and advice for committees and provide a forum for discussion among lay leaders.  The council advises trustees on plans, policies, and the annual budget.

Leadership Team:  A leadership team comprised of trustee officers, the coordinating council moderators, and the minister coordinates our system of shared leadership and communicates with and refers actions to the council, trustees, committees, and staff.  Trustees may authorize the leadership team to take specific actions on its behalf.

Religious Education Council, Committees, and Volunteers:  Our Religious Education (RE) Council works with our Director of Religious Education to oversee programs for children and youth.  Many volunteers serve our community through teaching, coordinating programs, hospitality, pastoral care, and much more.  Our committees include: Worship, Newcomer Connections, Stewardship, House and Property, Pastoral Friends, Social Justice, Safe Relations, Partner Church, Small Group Circles, Adult Education, Finance, and others.