Introduction to Right Relations

Right Relations is a term used by the Unitarian Universalist Association to refer to a communications agreement, and communications skills and practices, used in congregations to build and maintain positive relationships between individuals and groups within the congregation.  It is part of the UUA’s support of “healthy congregations,” and it is also the foundation of the beloved community.

Our congregation is going through many transitions, so the Board commissioned a Right Relations Task Force to design this ministry. The Right Relations Task Force currently consists of Louise Wilkinson (chair for Right Relations Task Force), Lee Dorigan (Board Member), Aisha Hauser (staff representative in accordance with Policy-Based Governance), and Mary Anderson.

Right Relations Facilitation Team

We welcome the following to East Shore’s Right Relations Facilitation Team:
Michelle Danley        Mike Radow
Jennifer Sumner       Peter Sugarman
Mark Norelius           Milly Mullarky
José García              Dave Porter

This group will be trained to facilitate conflicts between members and groups, as requested, that cannot be resolved by the parties on their own. Additionally, the Facilitation Team will serve as Process Observers during meetings as requested, to help groups maintain their own right relations guidelines. The Right Relations Task Force (RRTF) chose the team based on their experience working with interpersonal conflict, trust within the congregation, their self-awareness, and personal approach to conflict.

Louise Wilkinson, Chair of the RRTF stated “We were very fortunate to have many excellent candidates from which to choose. Facilitation Team members represent new and long-tenured church members, a good mix between men and women, and some cultural diversity.”

Additional Trainings Offered

The RRTF noted people who were unable to attend the two all-church trainings lead by Le Mun Wah and the King County Dispute Resolution Center this past fall have asked for a make-up session. Both sessions were well received and provided valuable information as East Shore moves toward deeply embedding right relations principles and practices into our culture.

The RRTF will hold a What We Learned Last Fall – A Make-up Session on the 4th Sunday of the month. The first session is scheduled for February 25 and will be repeated on March 25 and April 22. All sessions are scheduled after church, 11:30-1:30.

You are invited to attend one or all of the sessions, but note that these are make-ups sessions in which we are trying to provide some of the information and practice provided during our two all-day training sessions.  They are mainly for people who missed those sessions or who would like some review.  The curriculum will be repeated each month.

Right Relations Articles

Right Relations Facilitation Team Named – February 2018
What’s Happening Next with Right Relations? – December 2017
Right Relations Guidelines – November 2017
Right Relations Launched – And The Road Ahead – October 2017
Right Relations: Trainings – September 2017
Right Relations is Coming to East Shore – September 2017
Introduction to Right Relations – June 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

“Why do we have to go through these guidelines in our teams? Are you saying we’ve been in wrong relationship?”

It’s important for people to know that as a Unitarian Universalist congregation we are a covenanted community and as such, we are called to come together from very different perspectives and with very different theological, philosophical, and social backgrounds. Our interactions are sources of enormous potential spiritual growth if we make them intentionally so. These Guidelines were designed not just to keep our teams respectful and relatively peaceful, but to provide some examples of the personal and communal learning we can achieve if we intentionally practice spiritual ways of holding ourselves and others, and being in relationship. It’s not about correcting anything. It’s about being reflective and intentional in our relationships and going deeper.

“Has anyone tried using the guidelines in their groups?”

For information about the guidelines, click here. These guidelines have been used by a number of teams already to process their communications commitments, and they have found them helpful. Some individuals have said they are an ethical guide to life, and one posted them by her computer to use in all of her communications.

“The template is long! Do we have to use every single point?”

These can be used as a “menu” of guidelines. We did not intend for everyone to subscribe to them all. They are very long (and the new ones I’ve attached are even longer!!) and they are just for you and your team to think about as you decide what types of things you may agree are important for you to commit to in your team interactions. You might have a very short list. This is not something you are supposed to adopt. This was an invitation to think about these areas of your relationships, and the items listed under the areas are only examples to give you ideas. And people can opt out. Since you seem to have good team relationships already, you could just document what is already working for you.

For more information on creating a covenant, please visit the UUA website by following this link