Seek Freely — Connect Authentically — Serve Passionately
For a more just and loving world.
Our Mission/Vision history
During the 2012/2013 year, the Board of Trustees discussed the need to refine and distill our vision/mission statement for the following reasons:
- It is a healthy practice for an organization to revisit and revise their vision/ mission statement every few years. Our previous statements were published in 2008.
- A focused and memorable phrase affirms our communal purpose and reinforces Congregational identity.
- A distilled and portable phrase clearly expresses our Congregational purpose to the outside world.
The Vision group comprised Rev. Shawn Newton, Margaret Kohr, Art Brewer, Karen Dunk-Green, and Catherine Lake. Margaret Kohr as President initiated and led the early discussions and provided information on the vision/mission process for organizations. Our visioning process included periodic Board discussion, email dialogue, and two lengthy meetings by the focus group (June and November). The group reviewed our current vision/mission statements and researched other UU congregation statements. Shawn provided a visioning model of three words.
The group spent much time in reflection and exploration. We talked about how individuals connect their journeys to the UU movement; how we want to change lives to build a better world; how we offer a fiercely unique way to be in religious community and to grow spiritually; how in our being together, we provide a haven in a turbulent world and a home where we can seek our own life’s meaning.
We talked about finding three key words to define the core of why we are in community. Our goal was to find active words that each member of our community can embrace. Words that celebrate our beloved community, provide sustenance to each journey, and inspire our future together and in the larger world.
We kept returning to the Covenant that we all share aloud every Sunday. We measured our rationale, descriptors, and key words against our Covenant.
After gathering verbs and clustering concepts, we arrived at:
to which we added modifiers, differentiating our communal purpose and congregational character:
We believe that these words naturally interconnect; these words contemplate the individual and our community and the larger world; and these words resound with active momentum.
This renewed and focused Vision was presented at the November 30, 2013 Congregational Meeting of Toronto First Unitarian by the Vision group. The three words "Seek — Connect — Serve" and accompanying modifiers were well–received. People expressed their reactions through a feedback and discussion process involving over 60 members. The input from that meeting prompted the Vision group to provide a fuller context through a concise and more descriptive statement:
Committed to love and justice, we seek to understand the meaning of our lives, connect with others in common purpose, and serve life to build a better world.
We trust that you find this focused vision meaningful, emotive and inspiring. And that you will embrace it with enthusiasm. Consider these words and phrases. How does the statement and each word resonate with you?
Seek — Connect — Serve
Within our faith community, how do you seek, connect, and serve? What actions/ideas arise for you in thinking about our shared journey and common purpose? Together, how will we enact our vision to
Sources from the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
Love is our doctrine,
The quest for truth is our sacrament
And service is our prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve life,
To the end that all souls shall grow
into harmony with the divine —
Thus do we covenant with each other and with all.
Vision Statement 2007
Ours is a congregation rooted in Unitarian Universalist values, as expressed in our principles and purposes. Within this enduring community, each individual is free to grow personally and in spirit. We strive together to nurture a caring, inclusive vibrant congregation and to contribute to a better world.
From our Vision Statement 2008:
1. Our congregation
We will be a vibrant community, energetic, passionate, and forward-thinking. Ours will be a place where we find connection, meaning, and a sense of purpose that carries over of dedication, compassion, and commitment to one another and to the larger world.
We will all feel we belong. We will treat one another with respect, love, and compassion. We will address conflict to foster healthy relationships.
2. Our religious quest
We will deepen and enrich the diverse spiritual lives of our members, in accordance with our Unitarian principles, by encouraging and celebrating a variety of expressions of spirituality. This will be a place where we can heal ourselves and join with others to heal the world.
We will create a climate of security and abundance through effective use of our resources (leadership, volunteers, staff, finances, communications, and property).