Congregational Governance

Although each of our congregations is self-governing, how we govern ourselves affects how we cooperate. An examination of the relationships between congregation, board, minister and staff can tell us much about our values in practice.

  1. "Rabbi and psychotherapist Edwin Friedman states the case: '[Consensus] tends to value peace over progress and personal relationships over ideas. . . . Emphasis on consensus gives strength to the extremists.'"
  2. "A Committee on Ministry can do much to foster mutual accountability among clergy, lay leadership, and membership for the advancement of the Mission-Covenant adopted by the congregation."
  3. "Congregations often feel that their contributions for support of the districts and the UUA compete with the funding of their local needs, rather than viewing their contributions as serving their members and the larger world."


  • What do you see as the proper relationship between the congregants, the board and the minister?
  • Are these relationships discussed and documented in your congregation?
  • How do you deal with conflicts when decisions are made?
  • Are our congregations hampered by difference between those who value egalitarian systems, and those who see the need for more directive, administrative systems?
  • Are egalitarian systems workable or outdated?
  • Can directive administrative systems be made less authoritarian and more democratic?