22 November 2004

My Congregation's Difficulty with Welcoming Congregation

This response from my congregation's board was sent to me in my congregation's December 2004 draft newsletter that I received today:

To: All Souls at All Souls UU Church
From: Secretary, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Shreveport LA
Subject: Welcoming Congregation

The Board wants to clarify that the exploration of the Welcoming Congregation program is offered through the Social Concerns covenant group and is an opportunity for interested members to gain information and share experiences. The Board is not attempting to move the congregation toward pursuing this program and will leave that determination to the membership and the interest level generated.

And here is an edited version of the response that I sent to my congregation's Interim Minister, Board President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer:

I'm feeling both angry and sad about this recent board action. I feel betrayed by the board's retreat from UU social justice work. Furthermore, I feel betrayed by the board's treatment of the dedicated volunteers who have given their time in supporting what was intended to be a congregation-wide social justice effort.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is the board (acting on behalf of the congregation) approved our starting the Welcoming Congregation process when John was serving on the board a few years back. If my recollection of congregational history is correct, then I'm confused by the board's recent statement. Did the board vote to reverse their previous vote approving the start of the Welcoming Congregation process when John was on the board? Why the retreat from social justice? And why do it in such a way as to hurt those asked to volunteer by the church for this work?

This statement from the board isn't consistent with the previous board actions as I understand them. Furthermore, it's pretty shitty to ask volunteers on the Social Justice Covenant Group to do congregational committee work (e.g. form a Welcoming Congregation Committee) and then kick them in the ass by saying it's not a congregation-wide effort (and implicitly say that the congregation and board really doesn't want or appreciate their efforts).

This recent action make me question our congregation's and our board's commitment to UU social justice work and our shared UU principles. And perhaps I'm in the wrong congregation if this is how congregational volunteers are treated by the board when asked to do social justice work for the congregation.

I'm confused, angry, and hurt. I would like a phone call or conversation on this matter from someone in a leadership position who can answer my questions and concerns.

... And I'm waiting for that phone call or conversation.

03 November 2004

An Electoral Haiku
by Jay Hipps (from Salon.com)

Gullible Red States
You know not what you have done
Too bad for the rest

... and I think that sums it up for now.