Beloved Community Communications Team
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi
“Authentic relationships … personal practice … an ever-widening circle of belonging for all people … brave space for racial healing,” are what “we the people of Unity Church-Unitarian” pledge to create and sustain, as outlined in our Ends Statements. Racial equity and diversity inclusion work isn’t a program, but a lifestyle, according to Trina Olson, co-founder of Team Dynamics.* Inherent in our pledge is a commitment to build from what’s been started, maintain momentum, and as Trina said, to “create a container where the assets from our mixed team are showing up … to make a really meaningful impact.”
The Unity Church Board of Trustees is passionately committed to working toward our promises/ends and in 2021, plans to build on the important efforts already begun. Trustee Jackie Smith reflected on this work:
The board engaged with Team Dynamics and the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) on several levels in 2020. Team Dynamics served as a resource as we formed our framework for the Ministerial Search Team (MST). We appreciated the support of Team Dynamics in identifying priorities around identity, expertise, and perspective as we developed criteria. This helped us prioritize, evaluate, and address a process for forming the MST.
By early spring of 2020, all trustees had completed the IDI, and participated in both individual and group debriefing sessions. Our scores and debriefings motivated the board to work more deeply on growth plans. We engaged in a three-session series with the IDI facilitators to set goals and action steps in the context of our individual scores. The impact of the IDI inspired the trustees to recommend that new trustees and members of the MST engage with the IDI.
These two resources helped us to examine systems, processes and interpersonal norms present in board work. We now have tools for naming and examining the presence of white supremacy. This led us to slow down some decisions, examine our own deeply held cultural tendencies, and engage in more meaningful reflection. We are still learning and support one another as we go.
The IDI framework and collaboration with Team Dynamics have supported our growth in governing toward the Ends. The opportunity to engage in personal and community reflection has empowered us to name things, and question interactions, systems, and processes that impact our efforts to reach the Beloved Community. We will continue to incorporate our learning and growth into board duties such as monitoring our Ends, supporting the ministerial transition, and engagement of new trustees. The board has a deep commitment to our Ends.
Note: The Intercultural Development Inventory is a tool to help us assess our place on the continuum of and point us forward to greater cultural competence.
Opportunities to complete the Intercultural Development Inventory and work with a qualified administrator are available to Unity Church members and teams. If you are interested, please contact Drew Danielson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Trina Olson and Alfonso Tomás Wenker, Behave, podcast audio, December 15, 2020, https://behave.libsyn.com.
Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Rev. Lara Cowtan, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Lia Rivamonte and Angela Wilcox.