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Some Basic Wisdom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Emerging UU group   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 04:00

Emerging congregations often are lifelines for people in the communities where they form. In some places they form the only place for open, liberal dialogue on religious and ethical subject. In some places they form the spiritual center of the progressive community. In some places they form the only place where parents can receive support in shaping the spiritual lives of their children in an open, growing and non-dogmatic way.

Whenever a new congregation forms it is a huge task and a wonderful adventure. Those forming a UU congregation have the opportunity to shape a new religious community from the beginning. There may be some in the group who can assist through their experience in other UU groups. But remember, each UU congregation is somewhat different and one of the greatest opportunities in starting a new congregation is to intentionally shape how you do things in accord with your own purposes and mission.

In beginning to shape a new religious community there are a number of balances that need to be struck:

Informality vs. predictability.

One of the strengths of new emerging congregations is that they don't need much structure. It is not a matter of the elderly needing transport. It is a person-with a name-wishing to ride with someone. Yet to participate those involved need predictability and shared understandings. Who is responsible for opening the door? Preparing the space? Who chairs meetings and when do they happen? Often leaders of emerging congregation are too slow to more toward a greater sense of structure-making it very hard for those who arrive after the first nucleus to find their way into the group. This is especially a problem sometimes for UU groups who have in them people who were once in religious communities that they felt overly rigid. So, by all means enjoy the informality afforded by a new, small religious community. Always, ask yourselves: what structure will be needed at the next stage of things? Build that.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 11:58

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