Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults

Introduction to Workshop 2

Wisdom is not a fixed quality. It circulates among us. 
—Sister Souljah, contemporary author, activist, hip-hop recording artist, and film producer

This workshop focuses on the relationships that are the center of our congregations, beginning with a deeper exploration of covenant. It asks participants to examine their congregational culture to discover which voices and perspectives are at the center of congregational life, which are on the margins, and why that matters. In this workshop, participants are introduced to the work of Juana Bordas, author of Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership in a Multicultural Age, as they consider the responsibility of leaders to cultivate a “we” culture, with relationships and covenant at the center, rather than an “I” culture of autonomous individuals. Finally, participants consider the experiences of people in the congregation with marginalized identities, including those in your leadership group, using the question, “How does our congregation limit the expression and full inclusion of those with marginalized identities in order to make those at the center more comfortable?”

If you have time or are doing this workshop as part of a leadership retreat, consider including Alternate Activity 2, News You Can UUse!

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Explore the practice of covenant and its centrality in our religious tradition
  • Introduce the work of Juana Bordas and give participants the opportunity to explore what is meant by “we” culture
  • Invite participants to explore their own experiences of mattering and marginality
  • Ask participants to consider the responsibility of leaders to put relationship at the center of congregational life
  • Ask participants to reflect on the responsibility of congregational leaders to center the perspectives and voices of those who are often on the margins.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Explore the qualities of covenant, and explore its role in congregational life and in the practices of leadership
  • Share experiences of mattering and marginality
  • Apply a “we” culture lens to congregational life, and identify practices that might strengthen “we” culture
  • Reflect on the responsibility of leadership to center voices and perspectives who are often on the margins of congregational culture, and identify and name work that needs to be done in that regard.

Workshop-at-a-glance

Activity

Minutes

Opening

10

Activity 1: What Is Covenant?

25

Activity 2: Mattering and Marginality

25

Activity 3: From “I” to “We”

30

Activity 4: The Margin, the Center

25

Faith in Action: Seeking Voices from the Margins

Closing

5

Alternate Activity 1: News You Can UUse!

40

Spiritual Preparation

Journal about your own experiences of mattering and marginality, or share them with your co-leader. Reflect on how you were called to offer your wisdom, skills, and creativity as a workshop facilitator for Harvest the Power. Was that an experience of mattering?

Thoughtfully consider the voices of those who are often marginalized in Unitarian Universalism. Read some or all of the essays and responses in the book Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry and/or read responses to a UU World article that did harm to transgender Unitarian Universalists by centering the perspective of a cisgender person.

Prepare to be aware, as you lead this workshop, that even as the group discusses marginalization, some participants are members of historically marginalized groups and/or experience marginalization within the congregation. How will you hold space for the complexity of individuals and of the group, in a way that will support the marginalized members? Prepare yourself to take care to not assume a discussion is about “others” who are not present.