Friday, November 26, 2010

Workshop Four--Identities

Workshop 4 Summary 

In this workshop we shared stories about a day in the life of someone whose racial/ethnic identity is "other," than our own.  We reflected on the experience of composing them. We tried to view the world through the lens of a person with a different identity.  We were then asked to list our individual concerns about expanding a multiracial/multicultural congregation?

GROUP 1  This group is concerned about:
1.  bending too far in redefining our core beliefs to accommodate.
2.  not wanting new people to feel that I'm prying when I ask them about
3.  wondering what our motivation is for inviting other ethnic groups.  Will they feel singled out?
4.  finding balance in the music program so that it will include diversity without losing the current classical genre.
5.  If we aren't inviting people in our own circle to come, why are we reaching
beyond our circle to different ethnic groups?
6.  Are we really open to people of different backgrounds, or are we making them feel uncomfortable if they come from more theologically restrictive backgrounds?

GROUP 2  This group is concerned that:
1.  the "image" we may have of being intellectual, somewhat unemotional, and not spiritual.  Maybe we have little tolerance for people with a conservative bent. 
This "image" issue may be a North American UU issue, as Unitarian Universalists from other cultures around the world look quite different from us; there are other ways to "do" Unitarian Universalism.
2.  our structure, or the way we "do" church is what keeps us small.
3.  we are not reaching out to our neighborhood.
4.  the rest of the congregation may be challenged by what we are learning, how do we include the congregation in this journey?
5.  I hope we can be more self-aware, knowing what we believe and aware of our isteners and meet them where they are.

GROUP 3  This group expressed concern that:
1.  we might go overboard in welcoming visitors to the exclusion of attention to longer-time members and friends.
2.  some visitors may not come back because they do not see others who look
like them.
3.  we will forget that people come when they are ready.
4.  we will fail to distinguish between historical "fear of the other" and our own personal fear of the other.
5.  we will lose focus on our approach to religion.
6.  we will fail to acknowledge our religious plurality.

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