As Unitarian Universalists and humanists, we know that differences of opinion and conflict are normal in any community, including FUS. But sometimes a relationship is harmed by conflict or perceived conflict. And sometimes we make mistakes.
We know it’s possible to acknowledge conflict and address it in ways that strengthen our ties to one another and allow for growth in us all. And we believe the entire community benefits when we intentionally support both restoring right relations after conflict and communicating in ways that prevent harm.
To that end, FUS has created the Right Relations Team to serve everyone in the FUS community. The team consists of volunteers who have relevant experience, such as conflict resolution or counseling, and are willing to commit volunteer time toward Right Relations at FUS.
The Right Relations Team’s goal is to help the parties to a conflict or perceived conflict engage in an open, loving, and respectful interaction that brings them closer to right relations and fosters personal growth. We encourage self-reflection and putting oneself in another’s shoes. We don’t make determinations of right and wrong; rather, we seek to bring about understanding and reconnection.
Issues covered by the Right Relations Team
The Right Relations Team has been tasked with addressing issues such as:
- When a person feels disconnected from the Society or individual members due to a conflict or perceived conflict
- When a person feels that their treatment by an individual or group has not been welcoming or has been inconsistent with our value of the worth and dignity of every person
Issues not covered by the Right Relations Team
There are some kinds of conflicts that should be handled through avenues other than the Right Relations Team. For example:
- For issues with a staff member other than the senior minister, contact the Senior Minister.
- For an issue in the religious education program, contact the Director of Religious Education.
- For an issue with the Senior Minister, contact the president or other member of the Board of Trustees.
History of the Right Relations Team
In the fall of 2018, the ministers charged the Healthy Congregation Task Force to develop a covenant and process for the First Unitarian Society community to maintain and return to “right relations” given the reality of differing opinions. We hoped to practice for ourselves and model for others how people can be real AND respectful in their differences, and can be emotionally mature and loving in returning to right relations when we’ve fallen short. All members are valued for who they are, for what they think, and for how they give service to FUS and the world. Differing perspectives can help us grow, if we approach them that way.