UUFC Board President’s Letter June 28, 2022
Dear UU members and friends,
On June 24, just after the official beginning of Summer, all of the planets aligned along the plane of the ecliptic, the cosmic necklace, the crown jewels of our solar system. According to some astronomers, they will not align as precisely as this ever again. A once in a forever event. The Heavens smile upon us. Our Fellowship continues to gather, enjoy each other’s company, encourage one another along our personal spiritual paths, serve the community through our social actions, and exchange thoughts about the world around us. Like our “Blue Boat Home” hymn, Peter Mayer’s Blue Boat Home, we are sailing forward through space and time. Join us when you can on Sundays, or during any of our weekly or monthly activities. Or, just come down to the Pavilion to sit in the shade and enjoy the sounds of the breeze through the mimosa tree and the murmuring of the Heiferhorn. Who says Heaven can’t be on Earth?
A special business meeting was held on Sunday, June 19 to vote on a proposed change to the Fellowship’s Bylaws establishing the quorum necessary to conduct Fellowship business meetings from 30% of members present to 20% present. The proposed change passed by more than the required two-thirds majority and the Bylaws have been changed to reflect this.
Meeting with fellow Members and Friends prior to the service has always been a pleasurable time and also a good greeting for new attendees. Having some coffee or tea makes it better. Because of the Summer’s heat, the gathering has been moved from the Meditation Garden back to the area by the kitchen. To avoid spills on the upholstery or floors, please enjoy coffee and tea away from the area reserved for the Sunday Service.
Three cheers for Lisa Pyburn for purchasing three new fans for the Pavilion, and three more cheers for Orm and Ron, the eager volunteers who installed them. They are really good fans with LED lights to enhance nighttime use of the Pavilion. Another picnic table has also been added to those Lisa had provided.
July 3 Celebration of Independence Day: Because we are not using Grace Fellowship Hall for eating, we will have the annual picnic at the Pavilion after the Service, weather permitting. UU will provide grilled hotdogs (both meat and veggie), chips, baked beans, ice tea (plain and sweet), water and dessert.
FYI: The Unitarian Universalist Association recommends that all UU’s have a Disruptive Behavior Policy. Using UUA guidelines and samples from other UU’s, the Board appointed a committee of Rick Spradlin, Joyce Hickson, Susan Stephenson and Michelle Midgette to draft a policy tailored to our UUFC. The policy was unanimously approved by the Board and will go into effect as of July 1, 2022. Disruptive Behavior is not anticipated in our congregation, but in the unlikely event that disruptive behavior happens, we now have procedures for dealing with such an occurrence, in accordance with UUA guidelines. Please read the policy that follows this letter. A copy is also available in the office and in our UU library policy book.
In light of any recent disappointing news:
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”
Marilyn vos Savant
Hal Midgette, President UUFC
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus Disruptive Behavior Policy
While openness to a wide variety of individuals is one of the prime values held by our congregation and expressed in our denomination’s purposes and principles, we affirm the belief that our congregation must maintain a secure atmosphere where such openness can exist. When any person’s physical and/or emotional well-being or freedom to safely express his or her beliefs or opinions is threatened, the source of this threat must be addressed fairly and reasonably, even if this ultimately requires the expulsion of the offending person or persons.
Therefore a Disruptive Behavior Policy is necessary and applicable to situations occurring on UUFC property, off-site UUFC sponsored gatherings, and all forms of electronic and written communications.
It applies to any individual whether a member, friend or visitor.
The following shall be the policy of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus in dealing with disruptive behaviors:
- If an immediate response is required, the situation will be brought to the attention of the Board President or his/her designee. Responses may include but are not limited to asking the offending person(s) to leave, or suspending a meeting or activity until such time as it may be safely resumed. If more serious assistance is required, the Police Department may be called. Any illegal activity or abuse must be reported to the appropriate legal authorities. A follow-up letter detailing the offense and the action taken because of the offense should be written, read to the Board in closed session, and filed in the office records.
- Situations not requiring immediate response will be referred to the Board President who will listen to the grievance, take notes for the congregational record, and attempt to resolve the problem. If it requires further deliberation, then the President will ask the Board to appoint an ad hoc committee to respond fairly and reasonably using their own judgment by observing the following:
a. The committee will respond to problems as they arise, with no attempt to define “acceptable behavior” in advance.
b. Persons identified as disruptive will be dealt with as individuals, not stereotypes. c. The committee will collect all necessary information in writing to obtain a complete picture of the situation and research applicable laws. Confidentiality must be maintained.
d. To aid in evaluating the problem, these points will be considered:
- DANGEROUSNESS – Is the individual the source of a threat or perceived threat to persons or property?
- DISRUPTIVENESS – How much interference with church functions is involved?
- OFFENSIVENESS – How likely is it that prospective or existing members will be driven away?
e. To determine the appropriate response, these points will be considered:
- CAUSES – Why is the disruption occurring? Is it a conflict between the individual and others in the church? Is it due to a professionally diagnosed condition or mental illness?
- HISTORY – What is the extent, if any, of the cause of disruption in the past?
- PROBABILITY OF CHANGE – How likely is it that the problem behavior will diminish in the future?
f. The committee will decide on the appropriate response on a case by case basis. Written records of grievances and responses will be maintained in congregational files. Three levels of response are recommended:
– LEVEL ONE – The offending person is given a written warning specifying that Level Two response will be required if disruptive behavior is repeated.
– LEVEL TWO – The offending person is excluded from specific church activities for
a limited period of time, with reasons and conditions of return written and made clear.
– LEVEL THREE – The offending person is permanently excluded from church premises and all church activities. The ad hoc committee can recommend Level Three response, but the Board must approve it. If approved by the Board, the offending person(s) will be given a letter outlining the expulsion and the right to appeal to the members of the Fellowship in a special called meeting.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus strives to be an inclusive community, affirming our differences in beliefs, opinions and life experiences. However, concern for the safety and well-being of the congregation as a whole must be given priority over the privileges and inclusion of the individual.