Because they will be asked to assist when members of your congregation are in conflict, you want Right Relationship Team members who are well respected and trusted based on their spiritual maturity and deep listening skills. Conflict transformation requires vulnerability, which requires trust.
Teams that have diversity of age and identity tend to be able to navigate the nuances of intercultural communication and conflict. Culture adds complexity, so the more diverse your team is, the more complexity they can likely hold in service to your religious community.
Qualities Needed for Right Relationship Team Members
- A practitioner of deep listening
- Able to manage their own reactivity when under pressure
- Able to avoid being triangulated into the conflicts of others
- Patient around process and outcomes
- Humble about their role as facilitating process, not fixing
- Able to see the big picture
- Able to hold multiple perspectives
- Open to being transformed themselves
- Trusted and respected by the community
- Sensitive to power inequities and oppression dynamics
- Skilled at conflict engagement or willing to learn and specifically to be trained
- Well-grounded in Unitarian Universalism (practicing at least 3 years)
- Committed to the mission of the congregation and not a personal agenda
Selection Process for Right Relationship Team Members
Because of the responsibility entrusted to the Right Relationship Team, its members must be selected using a process (based on the qualities listed above) that includes consultation with and consent of other key leaders in the congregation, especially the minister.
Here are some options that have worked for other congregations:
- The minister and Committee on Ministry nominates, and the board approves.
- The board convenes a selection committee, and asks for nominations/applications. They choose based on who meets the qualities.
- The board convenes a selection committee, and asks everyone in the congregation to submit three names of people they would trust to help them with a conflicted situation. The committee chooses from those trusted names.
No matter what your process, make sure your minister has input into the selection. (If you don’t have a minister, involve your religious educator.) Their role tends to give them more information than most lay leaders would have access to.
The UUA offers a robust online training that your team can take together:
Text okay? __ Yes ___ No
- How long have you been a member?
- What is drawing you to apply for the Right Relations Team? Why do you want to be on this Team?
- What gifts and skills do you bring to the work of Right Relations?
- What do you think will be challenging for you in Right Relations work?
- Do you have any relevant training or experience in restorative practices, conflict engagement, etc.? (Life experience counts!)
- Please list 2 members of the congregation who have worked closely with you and can tell us more about your gifts and skills for Right Relations.(For large congregations where you may not know everyone personally)
Please read carefully and sign:
I understand that being on the Right Relations Team is a sacred trust. I understand that I will receive confidential information and be part of sensitive conversations. I will honor and keep the confidences placed in me. I will approach my work on the team as fairly and compassionately as I can and practice ongoing accountability to the rest of the Right Relations Team.