Guide for Congregational Comments for a Statement of Conscience or Congregational Study/ Action Issue
- Comments must be congregationally authorized.
The most common way to prepare comments authorized by the congregation is to request that the congregation’s Board of Trustees authorize a committee or group to gather and prepare comments on behalf of the congregation. If a Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) District submits comments, the District Board may authorize a group to prepare comments.
- Comments will ideally reflect a group’s consensus and not be those of one person.
A congregation or District may submit only one set of comments. Those comments should reflect the group opinion of those in the congregation or district interested in the topic and process. Comments may also be obtained from a congregational meeting, or from a post-sermon discussion, authorized by the Board.
- Ways to collect information for comments.
Hold a congregational meeting after posting a hard copy of the statements or proposals in question. If you are using a majority vote, make sure to hear the minority perspective.
- If applicable, ask for a vote on each proposed CSAI: yes, no, or abstain.
- If applicable, use the questions on the Comment Worksheets to guide the discussion.
- If applicable, ask for a vote on whether to admit the draft SOC to the Final Agenda for the General Assembly to be discussed, amended, and voted on. The options on the ballot are yes, no, or abstain.
Designate a Sunday to make your congregational decision. Announce it beforehand in orders of service and in the service that day. Stay in your worship space to conduct this process. At the conclusion of your service…
- If applicable, post sheets of newsprint on the walls of your sanctuary, each with the title of a proposed CSAI and a few summary sentences. Make copies of the full text available as well. Invite participants to walk around to all posted items, with each person checking no more than five for inclusion on the GA agenda. Submit the top five as your congregational vote. (Thanks to Rev. Fred Muir of Annapolis, MD for this option.)
- If applicable, read aloud and/or distribute the text of the CSAI or proposed SOC. Post sheets of newsprint on the walls of your sanctuary with the questions from the Comment Worksheets and invite comment.
- If applicable, take a vote on whether the proposed SOC should be admitted to the Final Agenda at General Assembly for discussion, amendments, and final vote. The options on the congregational ballot are yes, no, and abstain.
- Delegate the decision process to a congregational body that addresses social justice, denominational affairs, and/or congregational governance. Ask that body to solicit input from the rest of the congregation through your newsletter, e-mails, and/or alternative posting of the information. Publicize to the whole congregation how you voted.
Solicit individual comments or votes through your newsletter, including the text of the proposed CSAIs or SOC and the options of Yes/No/Abstain.
- If applicable, look for patterns of comments and use them to complete the form.
- If applicable, tally these and cast your congregational vote accordingly.
There are different ways to collect comments and different tactics in doing so. All comments should be submitted through the official online comment submission form (found at www.uua.org/socialwitness).