Taking A Stand
The members of the UUFN are active in a wide variety of social justice projects . We are a people who take action. But when we want to have the entire community speak with one voice, we follow a process to research, discuss, and vote in accord with our principles. Taking A Stand allows us to speak for the UUFN, not just one member, and proudly state “The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark has taken a stand!”
The UUFN has Taken A Stand in opposition to discrimination against LGBTQIA people, and in opposition to the Newark power plant.
TAKE A STAND PROCESS FOR UUFN
- Originate the Question/Need
- Identify and Research the Issue
- Exit Hatch
1. Originate the Question/Need
Members of the Fellowship will identify an issue that they would like to consider bringing to the Fellowship. It is likely that the group should consist of at least three individuals, and that they plan to grow to ten or more members during the process. This working group will approach the UUFN Social Justice Committee to learn the process, and prepare for and approach the Board to request that they form a Task Force. Upon the Board’s approval, the Task Force can be created.
2. Identify and Research the Issue
Members of the Task Force would examine the issue, collecting facts and myths. The Task Force may engage extant committees of the congregation to help in their research.
The Task Force would engages interested members of the congregation in open information meetings and workshops. Where practical, the Task Force will work with existing groups/committees (RE, Worship, …). These meetings are critically structured to be two-way interactive dialogues compiling best thinking, not as lectures. This provides the Task Force with information as to the spectrum of feelings towards the issue among our congregation. The information topic and content of these meetings would be obtained from the first step.
The Task Force will work with the UUFN Social Justice Committee to ‘wordsmith’ the formal proposal, which the Task Force will present to the Board. The Board will be asked to schedule it for a vote at the next congregational meeting. It is desired, but not required, that the Board vote to formally support the proposal. At a congregational meeting, the congregation will consider whether or not to adopt an official stance position, statements, and/or action on the issue in question. A vote by 75% or more of present, voting members at a duly called/convened congregational meeting in favor is required for the Fellowship to adopt such a position, statement and/or action.
Once the Stand is taken, the Task Force can manage and facilitate opportunities to share the UUFN’s stand on the issue with the public, including newspapers media, and elected officials. These opportunities could have been raised in the first two steps of this process. If the proposal is not accepted by 75% or more of the congregation, Task Force members and others are welcome to work individually or in groups to further the cause.
6. Exit Hatch
At any point in this process the Task Force may determine that they wish to cease their efforts. This could be due to a changing external environment, too limited support within the congregation as observed during public meetings or private conversations, or simply reduced energy of Task Force members. When the Task Force decides to disband, they shall notify the UUFN Social Justice Committee and the Board. While in place, the Task Force should notify the UUFN Social Justice Committee (and indirectly the Board) at least annually on their progress and plans.