Conversations that Matter

We are living in turbulent and confusing times. More than ever we need to respectfully listen to each other while learning and appreciating new ideas other than our own. This is especially true in our UUFA spiritual community. Recent feedback to surveys has indicated that some individuals are reluctant to voice their opinions. Others decline to speak up when their views are perceived to be at odds with majority views

On October 29, 12:20 p.m. a new opportunity for deliberative dialogue is offered in the form of Conversations that Matter. These conversations will occur on the 5th Sunday of the month at the Fellowship following the Sunday service.

The purpose of Conversations that Matter is to create a safe and effective process for UUFA members to explore differing perspectives on “hot topics” within the fellowship. Although conflict is challenging for many, we believe that we can create a deliberative approach for civil discourse. Learning to do that more effectively within our group will enable skills for civil discourse in the world. The expectation is not that everyone will agree, but that each participant has a voice and is better informed about different views or possible actions and attendant consequences. We intend to work towards a grass roots vehicle where ideas come from a variety of sources.

The focus of our inaugural Conversations that Matter is the following: What do we mean when we say that we use democratic processes here at UUFA? This is focus is prompted by the 5th UU Principle: The right of conscience and the use of democratic processes within our congregation and in society at large. We are starting with this topic as it seems fundamental to effective deliberative discussion and decision making about UUFA issues. If we can have frank dialogue about what we believe should happen, we will build important groundwork for tackling divisive issues that face our fellowship.

The discussion will be facilitated to ensure a deliberative dialogue approach that will help us move beyond a debate (where winning is the purpose) and discussion (where no particular outcome is expected). Deliberative dialogue moves to understanding a problem and reaching a decision that is best for everyone. “Deliberation happens when a group of people work on a problem as if solving it is up to them and no one else, and when they recognize that they and others will be living with the consequences, both good and bad, of the choices they make” (http://connect.ala.org).

Please join in Conversations that Matter, October 29, 12:20 p.m. in the Couch Room (or a larger room depending on attendance).