A Welcome Letter from Our President
Chris Edkins, Board President
Welcome to Westside Unitarian Universalist Church! We are a liberal religious community nestled in the heart of East Tennessee. Our members and friends come from many backgrounds and hold many beliefs. Though we share a diversity of ideas about the mysteries of life, we are united by shared respect and mutual support of each other’s unique spiritual journey.
I came to Westside in 2003. My life seemed full of good fortune and I was looking for opportunities to give back. It seemed that most of the service opportunities in the area were associated with the Christian denominations, and as a self-professed agnostic they did not seem to be a good fit. I still find those opportunities to be of service at Westside, as well as having a wonderful community of friends.
At Westside we cherish the deep personal connections we have with each other. We are free to be our authentic selves and know that through sharing our vulnerability, we deepen our sense of belonging. Whether we are gathered together for worship on Sunday morning, learning together at religious exploration classes, sharing thoughts at book club, or playing board games together, we do it in community and with intention.
We share no creed. Our worship services are built around rituals and practices that are meaningful to us. Some Sundays we worship by reflecting on sermons given by either our settled minister or laypeople from the congregation or the wider community. Other days we may worship by walking the solstice spiral, sharing poetry together, exchanging flowers in flower communion, or participating in a Purim spiel. We worship by serving homeless families as a host church for Family Promise. We worship by picking up trash along Grigsby Chapel road and keeping it beautiful. We hold the belief that anything that makes us feel connected to the divine is an act of worship.
Please explore our website and find out a little more about us. Feel free to reach out if you have questions. I hope that you’ll find something that resonates with you, and that we’ll get to meet in person soon.
President, Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees Philosophy of Governance
The authority of the Board is derived from the trust placed in them through a vote of the congregation, or the appointment by the board as in keeping with our bylaws, to the roles they now hold. It is understood that the Board of Trustees has an identity which transcends the identities of the individuals who now serve and it is understood that the board “speaks with one voice” in its decisions and policies. The sacred obligation of the Minister and Board is to serve the Mission and Vision of the congregation.
Mindful of our respective roles as spiritual leader and fiduciary guardians, we, the Minister and Board of Trustees do hereby covenant with one another to:
• talk to each other
• be kind and authentic
• listen deeply
• give all members present time to process information before responding
• assume the best of each other
• be knowledgeable of foundational documents of the church
• learn together
• build relationships with one another
• serve the community inside and outside the church together
Mindful of our respective roles as leader of the congregation and fiduciary guardians, we, the Board of Trustees do hereby covenant with the congregation to:
• communicate decisions and policies to the congregation
• listen deeply to the congregations concerns
• provide advice and counsel to the committees of the board
• live up to the Covenant of Respectful Relations
• manage the finances of the church in a conservative and responsible way
• encourage growth and change
• work to expand the membership of the congregation
• maintain, clarify and communicate the mission and vision of the congregation