The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Anytown has been growing by leaps and bounds for several years. This growth has resulted from new ministerial leadership as well as the congregation's well-publicized stances on behalf of equal marriage and in support of immigrant families. Because the congregation has taken a risky public stance, it has the esteem of social justice progressives in the community. To build on its momentum, the minister has recommended to the board that the congregation create a new, full-time, staff position: director of social justice. The Board has welcomed and accepted the minister's request to consider the new position.
Inhabiting Your Role
Each of you is a member of the congregation, assigned to a specific role. Your task is to play out the scenario in real time through the lens of the role to which you are assigned. The Board is required to post the job description and process for interviewing and hiring no later than 90 minutes into the simulation. The Board may choose any criteria and process they believe are appropriate. Next time we meet, in Workshop 21, we will continue the simulation. Then, the Board will be required to hold a congregational meeting to discuss the position 15 minutes into the opening of the workshop.
Although the characters in each committee or group have been assigned genders, gender assignments may be changed for the simulation. The descriptions are meant to be a starting place, adjust your role so you feel comfortable "being" that person and using that lens for a time. You are asked to "inhabit" your character from the moment the simulation begins. Under no circumstances should you step out of character until after the simulation. All actions and decisions are to be made using the lens of the character. Think: "How would this person respond to this situation?" Refer back to the voices, issues, insights, and problems raised over the course of the program to guide your actions and responses.
Do not share character descriptions outside of your simulation group. Part of the learning is figuring out the assumptions and values of other people. Treat all participants with respect, even if you disagree with them.
Working as a Group
Develop a plan of action:
- What does the group need to know about the situation?
- How might you get that information?
- How can the interests and needs of your group be met?
- How can and should this group influence the outcome of the search and hiring process?
Groups can choose any path: They can call a meeting of the Board, or they can mount a resistance movement. They can do nothing, and wait for people to approach them. They can refuse to pledge next year because they don't think the congregation has the money to support a full-time position. The Board can operate in Executive Session, only taking questions in public settings. Use your imagination and your knowledge of the lens of your particular character(s) to guide individual and group actions.
Wild Cards and Other Challenges
Facilitators will, at their discretion, insert a "Wild Card" scenario into the mix to add layers of complexity to the simulation. You must respond—or choose not to respond—to this new information. Facilitators may "coach" any group that appears to be stuck. Facilitators will also play the roles of two job candidates at relevant points in the simulation.