Thursday, May 31, 2007

Welcoming Congregation and Controversy

I agree with Peacebang about giving a church that you are serving as a professional, total "blog silence" (like radio silence). (Unless it's a church-sanctioned blog.) I don't extend that to the church that I am a member of. So long as I can maintain a certain level of anonymity and am speaking in generalities about the church as a whole, (as opposed to speaking about certain members), I feel comfortable sharing. I hope that some of the things I muse on might strike a chord with others. I know that I occasionally feel alone in the wilderness and I learn so much when I read about someone going through something similar.

As I have subtly and not-so-subtly touched on, we have some important votes coming up in our congregation. It occurred to me today that we're having an "only in a UU church" moment. It is humorous, to me anyway, as well as part of it being frustrating.

One of the things we will be voting on is whether to become a welcoming congregation. Will we make the effort to not only welcome the GLBT community, but to make changes to be more inclusive?

That's not the controversy.

The controversy is about having a disruptive behavior policy.

Only in a UU church ... though it frustrates me (the disruptive behavior policy part -- I'm pleased as punch that it seems "Welcoming Congregation" is a "yeah, of course!"), I am glad that if we have to have a controversy, it falls that way.


Jamie Goodwin said...

I have ran into the "Disruptive church: controvery myself.

For much the same reasons you stated (not wanting to pointout certain members) I will not get into it but to say... I feel your pain.

aenodia said...

Before I retired I belonged to a small congregation that did not have paid clergy. We did not have a policy about behavior and when a situation arose we sought outside help from the Center for Conflict Resolution. Still we did not develop a policy about disruptive behavior. Since we had a period of discussion built into the service most Sundays we had the potential to have disruptive behavior frequently. We just sort of stumbled along. Since I moved and joined CLF (Church of the Larger Fellowship) the congregation has sought to grow and hired consulting ministers. The first one got the congregation started on developing a "Right Relations" document or covenant I'm not sure since I have not been part of the discussion. Even 11 years later I still get the newsletter.

It seems to me a good idea to put behavior norms in positive terms. This is what we affirm we will do and how we will behave with one another. Then as part of that policy include consequences for behavior that departs radically from the covenant. For all I know that could be what your congregation is doing.