AR Relations

My second foundation for ministry is a vow to develop
anti-oppressive covenantal relations with those in my life. This is a common theme within Unitarian
Universalism, as our relations with one another are considered to be as
important and as widely discussed in our spiritual life as is our relations
with God and Creation. As a child I used
to describe my Unitarian fellowship as a place where the community supported
the spiritual development of the individual. In many ways I find this to still be true, although would add that our
Unitarian Universalist history and theologies-in-practice provide the framework
for the culture and values of our community that influence the individual. While I have thought deeply about the nature
of relationships since my middle school years, I have come to an understanding
of my intentions and my process for relationships that is at the core of my


I am committed to being in authentic relationship with those
in my ministry. Authenticity is not
something that comes easily, nor is it achievable purely as an individual when
applied to a relationship. Relationships
naturally ebb and flow, and our lives are often so full of them that we take
them for granted and allow our unconscious self to dictate how we are in
them. I believe to be authentic several
points need to be respected. The points
I am about to make may be best considered as a non-hierarchical group, the all
need to be addressed equally. 

First is being committed as an individual to understanding,
educating and questioning my own consciousness. This is both a general state of being as much as it is an active
behavior. I make the choice of continually
improving myself through self-reflection. This self-reflection comes from personal self-realization, personal
questioning, relationship dialogue, collegial feedback, community experiences
and national and global events outside my immediate reality. I have worked to place myself into each of
these areas deliberately and strengthen my ability to hear, understand and
potentially internalize new information and perspective.

While I feel I have strong interests that I personally will
want to strengthen my consciousness in, I recognize that in my ministry I will
be with a diversity of persons. The
people I am with outside my chosen circle of family and friends will have
varying interests based on their identities, affinities or some combination of
the two. I need to be ready to engage as
much on the traditional, sometimes mundane issues, for example birth, marriage,
family, death, as in areas I am less familiar with and may be clearly outside
my experience. I know there will be
difficult times when I will not want to approach foreign subjects and persons
with whom I have uncomfortable assumptions about. Most of the time I pray that I will be able
to withdraw from situations when my energy and mood are poor, and be able to
treat all who I do connect with, with dignity and respect. There will be times as well when it will be
necessary to name inappropriate behavior that may require legal consequences
both with those I am entering into relationship with as well as those who I
have covenanted with. Through this
process of continuously becoming conscious, I expect to grow my body of
knowledge that will give me grace and wisdom as I engage with people in my



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