Congregational Listening Session


Monday, March 29, 2021    
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Dear UU La Crosse Members & Friends,

At a recent Board retreat, Rev. Leslie led us in reflecting on the before, during, and after of the pandemic. Along with considering what to take with us and what to leave behind as we inch toward “after”, we talked about collective trauma, common trauma responses, and how humans heal from trauma. What stood out for me was one common trauma response: the feeling that whatever one is doing is not quite enough or that one must do it all. Our leaders are grappling with many challenges: what does it look like to return to in-person gatherings with equity for those who are not yet able to join us, how safe is “safe enough” for in-person, and how to nurture and sustain our leadership base among Teams and Board. One thing stood out from me in the discussion of how to heal from trauma: the way back home is with each other. In relationship, we learn what we can trust again, we tell our stories and remember, and we recreate our identities and hopes. Together is the way forward, and it is the antidote to one variety of trauma response – expecting oneself, one person, or one group to have all of the answers.  Note that you too can participate in this retreat – look in our newsletter for links to the registration for Bridges to the Future.

One issue the Board has been working with over the past year is how to support better communication among teams and staff and ease of daily operations. We face a shrinking volunteer leadership pool for Board and Team work and burnout is common. In looking at our staffing, we currently have staff positions for 4, 5, 5, 6 and 20 hours per week in our budget for our Connections Coordinators, Office Administrator, Tech Coordinator, and Nursery Coordinator. Added together, these positions make a full-time position. In March, our Board came to the difficult decision that we can better support our work with one full-time person rather than five part-time positions. One person can be the center of communications and knowledge, attend meetings, and be the “hub of the wheel” for our operations. In combining these hours into one person, we will lose some capacities – we’ll have to rethink how we manage technology for Sunday Services and how we leverage volunteers. We’ll still have paid staff for direct care in our nursery and perhaps some paid staff to help us bridge our technology needs, but the coordination of all of those activities will be centrally located. This also consolidates the number of hours that the Board and Staff must spend in supervisory and staff meetings, allowing for less confusion or duplication of efforts. On Monday, I informed Donna, Emmy, Giorgia, and Jen of this proposed change and the coming elimination of their positions and I shared this information with other staff and the leaders of our teams. We have all seen the impact of the skill and care that these four staff have given our fellowship. We have developed deep relationships with these staff; they are part of who we are as UU. We certainly will have lost opportunities and some confusion as this change is made. We hope to post the new position next week and current staff are invited to apply. Each of these staff have generously offered to stay on as needed during the transition for training and coverage.

As you think about this change, please know that you can contact to share your feelings and concerns. I also invite you to reach out to these staff with your care and love. The Board will host a listening session on Monday, March 29th at 7 pm via Zoom – this is a time when you can ask questions and share your feelings in community. The Board is charged with studying over time the issues that affect our fellowship and making good faith decisions about what we believe is best for the fellowship. While this process is not conducive to large-group decision making, it is important for us to hear from you and for us to have ways to share out what we are able to share about this decision. It is always best to hear first-hand information rather than to have rumors or misinformation circulating. The way back home is together.   

In Fellowship, 

Marilyn Huckenpoehler

UU La Crosse Board President


Listening Session, Monday, March 29th at 7pm

Meeting ID: 978 2230 8195
Passcode: 454483