UU Church of Arlington’s Policy on Use of Church Name
STATEMENTS IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF ARLINGTON!
People in our church often feel called by faith to witness for social justice in the larger community. If you want to make a statement in the name of the church, the first people to talk
1. the ministers. Rev. Mary McKinnon Ganz is the minister with primary responsibility for social justice; if she is not available, talk to Rev. Michael McGee or Rev. Linda Olson Peebles
2. the social action coordinator, Lavona Grow. Lavona?s office hours are on Wednesday.
3. the Social Action Council (SAC). Talk to the chair to get your issue placed on the agenda. SAC meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm.
If you want to make a statement in the name of the church, there are a few things to consider. Primarily this is governed by common sense, and is a decision that will be made in community. You need to make sure you have buy-in from those for whom you are speaking.
Here are the basic considerations:
! If there has not been a vote of the congregation, is there reason to assume strong congregational support?
! Even if there is reason to assume strong congregational support, would the community benefit from a deliberative and educational process? In other words, has the congregation had ample opportunities to be educated and to speak out about the issue?
! Is the group that is asking for this a social justice project of the church? (Generally speaking, this means it has been endorsed and is being monitored by SAC. If it is not a SAC project, is there another community of accountability?)
! Has the group seeking the statement offered sufficient opportunities for the congregation to become educated and express opinions on the issue?
! Has our Association spoken on this issue (through the General Assembly and the Commission on Social Witness, or through public witness by the President of the Association)?
BANNER ON THE BUILDING OR GROUNDS: If you want to hang a banner that expresses a position on an issue of the day, you should consult with the Social Action Council (SAC), the Social Justice Coordinator, and one of the ministers to devise a process for informing the
Congregation and gathering opinions on the issue. The decision ultimately rests with the ministers and Program Team (PT) (ministers plus the Administrator and Director of Creative Arts). The ministers will probably consult with the Board of Trustees and may require a vote of the Congregation. Factors influencing the decision include those above, plus the aesthetics of the proposed banner and its placement on our building.
UUCA BANNER IN A DEMONSTRATION: If you want to carry a UUCA banner in a demonstration, consult with SAC, the Social Justice Coordinator, and one of the ministers.
TESTIMONY AT A PUBLIC HEARING OR EVENT: If you want to testify ?in the name of
the church? and the congregation has not taken a vote to express itself on the issue at hand, you must obtain approval for this testimony from the PT. However, members of an issue group in the church may appear and offer public testimony, and may speak in the name of our commonly held Unitarian Universalist values, and may identify themselves as members of UUCA if they also state clearly that they are speaking for themselves and not for the church. Such statements should be offered with the factors above in mind. (Has the congregation had opportunities to speak on this issue? Is there a group in the congregation that is involved? Has the UUA spoken?)
STATEMENTS TO A NEWS REPORTER: Same as Testimony.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR OR OP-ED PIECE: Same as testimony. Additionally, if you as an individual author of such a letter or column want to identify yourself as a member of UUCA,you should first consult with the PT.
JOINING THE CHURCH?S NAME TO A MEMBER ORGANIZATION OR JOINING AN
ORGANIZATION AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF UUCA: The Social Action Council may approve membership in member/partner organizations, subject to review by the PT. If groups that fall outside of the SAC umbrella seek to join the church?s name to a member organization, approval must come from the PT.
ADDING THE CHURCH?S NAME TO A PETITION OR CAUSE: Such use of the church?s
name generally would require a congregational vote, but in certain urgent situations, where
there is reason to assume strong congregational support, it may be decided by the PT and/or
the Board of Trustees.
A Note on Governance
In UUCA governance, most decisions are made by staff ? ministers, paid staff AND VOLUNTEER STAFF, including the Social Action Council ? within policies set by the Board of Trustees, and in conversation with the Board. Among the ministers, the Minister of Community Building has primary responsibility for social action statements, so she is the ?go-to? minister to consult on these matters. The ministers, the Social Justice Coordinator, and members of the Social Action Council are available to help you make something happen. If what needs to happen is a vote of the Congregation, we will help you devise a process for that.
SAC ? Social Action Council
PT ? Program Team (the three ministers, the Administrator, and the Director of Creative Arts)
May 27, 2008