In the wake of the Group Relations Workshop, the big question is, “what now?” As we move forward, we need to keep in mind some facts about the world we live in.
The world is constantly changing. With change comes conflict. How we deal with the conflict will determine what happens.
With conflict comes the need for change — either in communication, or content. How open we are and how we deal with change will determine what happens. Am I okay with differences without getting defensive? Am I interested in learning how you see things, or more interested in making sure you see/accept my view?
How we treat each other — especially in the midst of conflict and change — will either build or erode community here at UUCC.
Community is built on trusting relationships. Trust is hard to build. It takes time and repeated effort. Conflict and change put stress on trust and relationships. To preserve trust, there need to be agreed-upon behavioral norms, to preserve trust and protect the relationships that make up community.
The Covenant of Right Relations (CRR) is intended to be a series of agreements about how we will treat each other within our community. Are you one of “us,” or part of some “other?” How we answer this question is critical, as it will determine our openness to differences of opinion and our ability to empathize. Are we trying to move forward toward a common goal, or am I trying to win an argument?
The Unitarian Universalist denomination, by definition, is a place where diversity is encouraged. Diversity brings alternative views on issues. This can lead to conflict.
We can choose whether differences of opinion are a source of growth in understanding, an impetus for change, and/or a source of division. The choice is up to us.
Check out the UUCC Covenant of Right Relations for a draft of our congregational agreements and examples about how to use them.
Charles (Scotty) Scott,
Member of the Covenant of Right Relations Committee
Email questions or comments to Crr_Committee@UUColumbia.net.