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7 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2008 - 4:30PM #21
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657
I agree with you. Thanks for making the points and doing it so well.
We just lost one of our members two weeks ago. He died at the age of 100 and some months. He hadn't been able to get to church for years, but he loved the congregation and considered himself a part of it. If you want to see a bunch of people burst into flames and go berserk, tell THEM Max wasn't a member anymore. ;)

I can't speak for anybody but myself, but I like things the way they are in my congregation. I get there as many Sunday's as I can. Sometimes I'm sick, or not awake enough to drive the distance, or the roads are icy. I help with clean-up, I'm on the Membership and Caring Committee and attend meetings, do a lot of relevant email, do my bit on the phone-tree, give a certain amount of money a year. There are other members who are they more than I am, work harder and more often, give more money. There are some who can't get there often at all because of job shift or sick kids or whatever. We all do our best. And we don't consider somebody not=interested until they've been gone for a long time, don't answer the phone, mail is returned, etc.

If somebody asks me what UU's believe, I tell them we are all individuals and each of us has a personal belief system..but that we all agree to the Principles and try to live by them. If they don't get it, that's not my problem. If they want to know more, I point them to literature, websites, etc. If they don't think my congregation is "real", I don't lose one moment of sleep. And I don't volunteer what I might think of THEIR church, either.  ;)

I like UU the way it is. The way it is is WHY I checked it out..and eventually joined. Why I encourage friends and relatives to check it out. If it changes, or more specifically, if it turns back instead of moving forward, I'm gone.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2008 - 4:45PM #22
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,079

FRG wrote:

Doesn't this pretty much say it all?
_____________________________
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

With a minor change.  :)

Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2008 - 4:57PM #23
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

AintKatie wrote:

We just lost one of our members two weeks ago. He died at the age of 100 and some months. He hadn't been able to get to church for years, but he loved the congregation and considered himself a part of it. If you want to see a bunch of people burst into flames and go berserk, tell THEM Max wasn't a member anymore. ;)



Come on, AintKatie, this is neither an accurate nor just representation of my position. I'm obviously not talking about someone of advanced age who isn't well enough to come to services or be involved in church affairs.

Thanks, Metachosis. I perceive you to have understood what I was trying to get at.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 7:33AM #24
bob2
Posts: 179
AintKatie said,"As Bob2 pointed out in a lengthy response to some critiques of UUism over on the debate forum, we UU's have all kinds of beliefs but not much that we can state is definitely "what UU's believe." In fact, many of us find ourselves somewhat at a loss to answer the question, "What do UU's believe?"

Sure, we have the Principles and Purposes, or what a fellow church member of mine refers to as the "Perhaps's and Probably's," since even though they're generally regarded as ideals, there's not much to assure that they'll be upheld beyond the hope that a church's minister and officers will do that.

"Hence, the question I posed, admittedly somewhat facetiously phrased.
Does it work against our having an identifiable "center," as Bob2 put it, for UU's to be a smorgasbord of beliefs? "


[Bob] This question of the core beliefs of historical Unitarianism and Universalism is important to me.  I'm trying to figure out how to answer it without rambling all over the place [ laugh ]. I'm going to skip this part of your post, until I figure out  a better answer [smile ]


[AK] "I myself wonder if part of the problem isn't the congregational autonomy that is so cherished, the idea that a congregation governs itself and is not regulated by any higher body within the denomination to any notable extent. In most churches, if matters are being conducted in a fashion of which members disapprove, they must organize and wait until the next election of church officers to replace these officers if they can. Their only recourse may turn out to be quitting that church and possibly combining efforts to start their own fellowship, or simply dispersing to other churches or none at all. "

[Bob] I belong to a small fellowship style congregation and all active members can significantly influence the congregation even if not currently board members.  Doesn't your church have some kind of "grievance committee" that issues can be brought to? 

[AK] "There are no bishops or other intermediaries between an individual congregation and UUA headquarters, and no procedure that I've ever been advised of for what to do if a person feels that hir church is unresponsive to serious concerns. "


[Bob] Well, there are no bishops,true, but there is the district office. If the district office is petitioned they can come to the congregation with a conflict management team.  They are not bishops, they won't tell anyone what to do, but they may help resolve they issues (of course there are problems with this, but the problems with bishops are worse.

P.S. it appears that I still haven't figured out how this new fangled automatic quote thing works ;-)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 8:09AM #25
bob2
Posts: 179
Oh geeze!

I said I was quoting Ain't Katie when I really was quoting DotNotInOz!

Sorry , Sorry, Sorry
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 9:05AM #26
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657

DotNotInOz wrote:

Come on, AintKatie, this is neither an accurate nor just representation of my position. I'm obviously not talking about someone of advanced age who isn't well enough to come to services or be involved in church affairs.



My intention is not to pick on you, Dot. Just trying to express how I see things based on my meager experience. We have folks who come for Adult RE and then leave..service too late for them, or some suck thing. We have people who come for service and leave immediately thereafter. We have people who attend only a few months out of the year..and others who would be at Sunday service with a temp of 105. But, as I said, it's just my congregation I know anything about. We're a small group and only illustrate ourselves..nothing else.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 9:43AM #27
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657
[QUOTE] {Dot said} My examples were clearly of people who do nothing but go out to dinner as a church-scheduled social event, specifically arrive after service just in time for Sunday lunch but never otherwise participate in anything that most people would call church--worship service, committee work, social action projects and the like. When such behaviors are tolerated as "just another variety of UU," I'm wondering if we might be much TOO tolerant.[/QUOTE]

I understand your point. I think in my congregation, somebody would say something. Most likely Membership and Caring Com. would get a consensus and then talk to the person. We're not into driving people away, nor are we serving free lunch to the community.

[QUOTE] My primary point was that perhaps we have too few expectations of each other. We accept all sorts of beliefs, that's one thing. However, if we just let the social-only hangers-on do their thing regardless, I do think that our being THAT non-judgmental opens us up justifiably to the criticism that we're not a church, because just about anything and everything (barring the clearly illegal) goes with us.[/QUOTE]

I still think it's up to each congregation to figure out how it wants itself viewed by the community and how it wishes to identify itself.

[QUOTE]Even though I'm not a fan of proselytizing , I did feel as though some of the Christian churches actually cared about how I was doing and whether or not I attended. When i quit the UU church, no one ever called to ask me why I wasn't in church. I did not feel valued because I didn't think anyone cared whether or not  even came.  I do think that is is important to have expectations for each other. How much structure is too much? I don't know. I personally appreciate some structure. [/QUOTE]

We've been working on this issue. When the congregation was smaller, it was easier to keep track, I guess. Now that it's grown some, it's getting harder to track individuals. Plus, the committee dealing with membership issues was not functioning well. Long story. For the last year, we've had new leadership and a much better set of procedures.
For instance, it was noted that a fairly regular attendee went missing. We set about calling, sending cards, etc. Finally found out he'd had a heart attack and didn't tell his family to notify us. Well, we waited til our guy was better and then jumped all over him (in a loving way, of course). I don't know if it was a guilty conscience or the revelation that we actually cared about him, but he started coming around more often and, recently, when he had to go in for a bypass, let us all know ahead of time.

We're improving our Newsletter and each of our Committees. We're working on a phone-tree and on email notifications. The plan is to keep all members (and non member regulars) in touch with each other so that we never have anything happen like your lonely departure. I think it's horrible that nobody noticed you leaving, Dot..just horrible.

Anyway, for us it's a matter of getting organized and seeing to it that everybody knows enough about everybody else to make sure nobody gets left out, feels abandoned, or not taken care of in times of trouble. When somebody needs visits, they get them. When somebody needs a week of dinners sent over, we do that. We do what we can to take care of our own..like a family.

[QUOTE] As for UU being a social club, I certainly have been guilty of attending many churches just for the fellowship. Right now I only attend social gatherings at the methodist church because I like the people, but I don't feel that my beliefs fit in there.  I do desire to have more of a relationship with any church, but I think my problem is more of a trust issue. [/QUOTE]

It could be your trust issue bumping up against a group that isn't being mindful of it's members. Have you thought of talking to your minister? If you don't have one, perhaps talking to a minister in another congregation? Or figuring out the most influential members of yours and talking to them?

We had one woman, a Christian, who felt her needs weren't being met in our church..so she left. But not long after that, she was in dire straits and it turned out to be members of our group that helped on a daily basis for months. When she was out of harm's way, she returned. Said something to the effect that she'd misjudged us and hadn't been assertive enough about her own needs. She got involved and started making some positive changes..including work on a possible special group for Christians. Sometimes what needs to happen is the person needing something has to speak up or even take charge of making sure those needs are met.

Again, I'm sorry you experienced that terrible *I left and nobody noticed* feeling..and I hope it never happens to you again.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 11:01AM #28
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
[Bob] This question of the core beliefs of historical Unitarianism and Universalism is important to me. I'm trying to figure out how to answer it without rambling all over the place [ laugh ]. I'm going to skip this part of your post, until I figure out a better answer [smile ]

Dot's response:  Excellent, Bob! You do such a fine job summarizing UU history that I'm sure your thoughts on what our core beliefs might be will be well worth reading and considering.

[Bob] I belong to a small fellowship style congregation and all active members can significantly influence the congregation even if not currently board members. Doesn't your church have some kind of "grievance committee" that issues can be brought to?

Dot's reply:  Not that I know of. I don't even know what committees exist. There's no listing on the church's website or anywhere else that I've seen. In fact, not long ago, the office manager was pleading in the newsletter for church committee heads PLEASE to get a list of members, chairperson's name and frequency of meeting to her as she had no information on several of the existing committees.

Maybe I'm just a picky old woman about organization and communication, but I was appalled that submitting that type of information to the office manager wouldn't be one of the first things that a committee chair would do upon formation of a committee, as well as whenever significant changes in membership occurred. Quite a few church members seem to be nonchalant about operating in a business-like manner, it seems to me. The current president-elect appears to be a very take-charge person, so possibly that will change once she moves up to president.

Dot quoted: "There are no bishops or other intermediaries between an individual congregation and UUA headquarters, and no procedure that I've ever been advised of for what to do if a person feels that hir church is unresponsive to serious concerns. "

[Bob] Well, there are no bishops,true, but there is the district office. If the district office is petitioned they can come to the congregation with a conflict management team. They are not bishops, they won't tell anyone what to do, but they may help resolve they issues (of course there are problems with this, but the problems with bishops are worse.

Dot's reply:  Once again, this highlights a definite problem in communicating with members, IMO. I was a member of my former church for a little over a year, attending just about every Sunday. I've now been a member of my current church for going on eight months. I've never seen any mention that I recall of the district office being the place to file a complaint if one's church board and/or minister could not resolve the problem (or indeed were the problem.)

Granted, as a former speech and interpersonal communication teacher, I tend to get testy when I see that institutions aren't communicating as effectively with their members as necessary or desirable. Probably, I should just take that as a matter of course and keep doing what I can do to communicate effectively within my sphere of influence. That might explain why I've gotten several "Oh, really? Wow's" when I mentioned providing members of a taskforce I'm heading with an agenda and proposals for their consideration, the latter subject to revision and other possibilities as they see fit. Must be a revelation to have a chairperson so organized, I'm guessing. Unbelievable!
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 11:35AM #29
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
AintKatie remarked:

For the last year, we've had new leadership and a much better set of procedures.



This suggests what's handicapping my current church, the lack of effective procedures and people who will see to it that existing procedures are followed. To be fair, possibly things are rather chaotic due to our impending move to a new building. I don't know for certain, having only been a member for a little over half a year.

My former church president jokingly referred to herself as "top bitch," since she said she often felt that she spent half her time "mommying" people to get necessary information and to get things done efficiently. Frankly, that's what leadership involves oftentimes so that people will know what is going on and are more likely to feel that the church operates in an orderly fashion.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 1:34PM #30
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657

DotNotInOz wrote:

I don't even know what committees exist. There's no listing on the church's website or anywhere else that I've seen. In fact, not long ago, the office manager was pleading in the newsletter for church committee heads PLEASE to get a list of members, chairperson's name and frequency of meeting to her as she had no information on several of the existing committees.



Things are really changing for us since we've had our own building. One of the changes is that, along the hallway that leads to RE rooms and bathrooms, etc., we have bulletin boards placed. Among other things on the boards are: a large Calendar with Services, events, holidays, and committee meetings penciled in; a list of all the committees showing chairs, members, phone numbers, email addys; sign up sheets for activities, interests, etc. This is helping a LOT for people who need a central place to check for info. Also gives people a chance to see where they might want to volunteer.

I said in another post that our Membership and Caring Committee is working hard to organize in such a way that every member and regular attendee is in touch with everybody else. And we've got a really good newsletter now which includes current updates about meetings, communications from the minister, from the person now in charge of children's RE, updates from all the Committees, information about new members, info about interesting things going on in the immediate neighborhood and nearby towns. In general, a huge effort is being made to communicate and to include everybody and his dog and cat in the congregational family.

You probably can sense what is coming next, Dot.  ;)  I think your group has grown lazy and forgetful and could use some new blood, a shot of adrenaline. And you know who would be best at doing that? YOU! You're concerned, you see the blank spaces, so you are the one best suited to plow in and try to fix things. You can make things better. And there are probably others who'd be glad to volunteer as long as you (not they) are the one doing the organzing.

Give it some thought. What's to lose?

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