The Theological Grounding of Multisite Ministry
As Unitarian Universalists (UUs), we believe that the sacred and the power of grace arises from the interdependent web of which we all are a part. As we build deeper connections and break down the walls between us, a powerful and holy creativity arises that enables us to transform the world and each other. This theology of interconnection and covenant is articulated simply and powerfully in our Christian heritage (“Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I...”) and is found in Jewish sources such as Martin Buber’s theology of “I-Thou.” We affirm it when we explain that “religion” is best understood through its Latin root (“re-ligio”) which means “to bind together.” UU theologian Henry Nelson Wieman systematized it in his "theology of creative interchange." Multisite ministry is about our congregational systems finally catching up with our theology. Congregations sharing mission, ministries and staff heal the spiritual and organizational disconnection that has too long come between us.
Our forebearers left us with a vision of interconnected congregations in the Cambridge Platform. While we often focus on its emphasis on congregational independence, its hope rested equally on what it called "the communion of churches." Congregational polity calls us to protect each congregation's right to govern itself, but its power is found in congregations covenanting with each other in mutual support. Multisite is one of the most intimate forms of congregational covenant. It seeks to tap into the transformative power found not only within our congregations but also between our congregations.