Monday, March 7, 2011

uu web

for a service I'm involved in, I reconfigured a 2008 10-pager down to a single page focusing on the place of individual congregations in the larger place of regional and national organizations. the original title of this is "without support, the finest web will fall apart" and can be read in its entirety here.

"The seventh UU principle declares our intent to be aware of and our 'respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.' A web is an excellent metaphor for what we rely on to exist. Each strand of the web affects the others, so that you can’t have an effectively operating web, ready to catch flies and butterflies and other delicacies for your spider’s dinner, if one part is sagging and shoddy. The morsel will simply roll away from the web or break off the strand it’s attached to. A web must be solid in its construction in order to be an effective one; remove a part and it falls apart. But equally important, and rarely remarked on, is the importance of the leaf or tuft or window ledge or tree or whatever supports the web itself is attached to. That too has to be well-constructed and pretty solid in order to withstand the buffets of wind and struggle the web itself invites.

"Our congregation is a member of the Prairie Star District. The Unitarian Universalist Association, which is the national organization overseeing the administration of its many churches, societies, fellowships and congregations, is divided into districts, and our district runs from Eau Claire in eastern Wisconsin, to all of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and as far south as Kansas and Missouri.

"Unitarian Universalism prides itself on its polity, which keeps administration for a congregation within the congregation—what a congregation does and its policies, what it chooses to believe as a corporate entity and who it chooses to be led by, stay on the congregational level. Ministers aren’t sent out by some mothership to the farflung regions to bring enlightenment to a benighted Podunk-ville. More often, a Podunk congregation has its choice of whether it prefers to be led by a Podunk local minister and a Podunk chair of the board and it makes its Podunk decisions in Podunk ways, taking Podunk-ville and its special circumstances into account. Podunk is the web. The UUA and the District are the twin supports on which this web relies."

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