We’ve been reflecting on the shift that just happened at Justice General Assembly (GA.) So many are reporting a difference. Did it feel different to you? As a faith tradition, we seemed to have gone through a collective growth spurt. This is the first in a four-part series featuring examples of how we experienced and observed health and transformation.
Alignment. In times of system change it serves the organization well to align around the purpose and values. Having such a clear directive, a clear purpose for gathering (Justice!) demanded a tight alignment in everything we did. There was no wiggle room for anything but relevancy toward Justice in the programming. Worship and music all lead toward justice. The Ware Lecture was justice-based. Our Plenary was steeped in justice. It required doing things differently. It was not business as usual. This Justice GA required a discipline that was at the same time freeing.
- What did we gain from trying this new way of doing and being at General Assembly?
- What did we miss from precious General Assemblies that we might bring back in a fresh way?
- What didn’t we miss from previous General Assemblies that we might be ready now to let go of?
- What would a year of such focus and alignment look like in your congregation?
Differentiation. In times of system change it serves the organization well to clarify and differentiate each person’s role around the purpose. Not only were roles clearly differentiated and supported, but also they were color-coded! (As a former teacher, I have a soft spot in my heart for color-coding things.) If I had a general question, I looked for the folks wearing orange. If I needed to find a Right Relationship Team member to help you through a struggle I looked to a person in a neon green shirt. If I needed a Youth Caucus Staff member I looked for hotpink bandanas; Youth Adult Caucus Staff member I looked for blue bandanas. If I needed to share thoughts with a UUA Board member I sought out the long-sleeve purple shirts. And at the vigil if I needed help of any kind I looked for the well-trained folks in purple t-shirts. With roles clarified I didn’t have to waste time and energy bleeding into someone else’s role or trying to figure out what was going, who was in charge of what. My color shirt? I wore a Standing on the Side of Love yellow shirt, and my job was to show up, witness, and spread love.
- How does your religious community decide what roles you need to live out your purpose?
- How are people in these roles prepared to succeed?
- How does the congregation know who is in what role and how to utilize their specialty?
Those are some examples. How else did you experience and/or observe growth spurts at General Assembly? Please share your thoughts in the comments, including your name and congregation.