The Most Powerful Position

I’ve been asked periodically in Unitarian Universalism what I think is the most powerful position.  Within the UUA, YRUU, C*UUYAN, etc.  I find it natural, with a growing amount of dissonance, that the preoccupation with power and the sense that some positions are not only more powerful but more important, meaningful, etc, raises peoples interest.  It raises mine, but with a certain amount of skepticism.  I think in a community of faith, all positions of leadership are of value, and that to do one job over another is less a sign of people’s greater inherent worth and dignity but rather taking turns in serving the community that needs all roles filled with love and intention.

When I think of the most powerful positions, I think of the cooks who prepare the food wholistically at Opus, the touch group leaders who welcome newcomers with care at District Conferences, the secretary on a committee who documents our history.  Sure there is more prestige and pressure on the elected and visible leaders, but are they truly more "powerful" than those who serve in a more direct role with constituents?  In our UU faith, our congregation leaders are the most powerful according to our adherence to congregational polity.  We are not a faith that is built on a hierarchy such as the Catholics with their Pope.  Granted there is immense power in say the UUA President’s position given the budget and public pulpit, but it is truly relative.

I hope that persons interested in leadership consider their involvement in the context of taking turns, and perhaps building up to elected/coordinator-level roles, but not at the expense of thinking themselves too good for the grassroots responsibility of jobs such as worship or workshop leader, committee member or mentor.  A mentor of mine, Sandy, once told me that in a conference community, the most important things are food and worship.  If you do those two well, with good facilitation, planning and grace, your community will be vibrant and memorable. 


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