“Anything that exists effectively in history must have form,” wrote UU theologian James Luther Adams. “And the creation of a form requires power. It requires not only the power of thought but the power of organization and the organization of power.” Adams reminded us that the strengths of liberal religion, when effectively arrayed, could bring justice and peace to a troubled world, but only when we are willing to embrace the organization of power and the power of organization.
We joke about being a disorganized rather than an organized religion. We make excuses: we are too small (in spite of the fact that in survey after survey people indicate that they would like to belong to a church just like the UU church, if only they knew that such a place existed!), too poor (in spite of the fact that Unitarian Universalists have among the highest per capita income of any religious group in the United States), and too modest to mold ourselves into a lean, un-mean religious machine.
Adams would have none of that. He urged us to get serious about our faith, to become an effective force for good in our communities. He said, in effect, “Don’t be afraid of power. Don’t shy away from organization. Don’t fall for the nonsense about structure equating with unnecessary bureaucracy. Leverage your strength!”
And that is what I am hoping you will do here at The Unitarian Church in Westport. I’m hoping you will flex your organizational muscles as you grow towards the next chapter in your storied history, that you will embrace and nurture the structures that will best support your ministries, that you will clarify, document, meet, talk, listen, vote, implement.
How can we do that? Glad you asked. Start by attending the workshop on The Power of Organization and the Organization of Power on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 1:00 pm in the East Wing. Join me and members of the Nominating and Leadership Development Committee for this half-day event focusing on leadership in our congregation. Whether you are a committee chair who has been here for decades or a brand new member looking for your particular place in the life of this community, you are welcome and will benefit. The workshop will be a lively and interactive experience that combines practical information with philosophical exploration. Best of all, snacks will be provided. Please pre-register (email Rev. Roberta or call 203-227-7205 ext. 12).
Come with an open mind and you will leave with a greater sense of how to exercise the power of organization and the organization of power.
See you at the workshop or in worship.