Mary’s Musings for March – Of People and Power

March to me is International Women’s Day, the world waking up to spring and to the worth and dignity of every human being, including every woman. I’ve been sitting with the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. about power. And thinking about models and assumptions about power (and authority) in UU congregations. Power is the ability to do something, and to influence the behavior of others. Power is neither inherently good or bad. We carry baggage about power – the assumption that power means power over. We have all witnessed power differentials being abused (whether between male/female, boss/employee, rich/poor, majority/minority, white/Black, brown, rich/poor, straight/queer, etc.). Many of us who gravitate toward UU congregations are suspicious of those drawn to positions of power. We hope to avoid the abuse of power by using consensus. But consensus is not always possible. We’re called to step up to a mature, mutual power is where we respect the rights of the minority. Around the country UU’s have been exploring models for “doing church” effectively. When does hierarchical power make sense? When is it wrong? What does power look like beyond the power-over model – in our congregations and schools, families and businesses? I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on models of power particularly appropriate for UU’s. I welcome your stories, experiences, questions or anecdotes.

On behalf of the Oberlin UU Fellowship, I invite members and friends of UUFEC to these March UU events in Oberlin:

UU KENDAL GATHERING March 21 – Evolution of Power: Our relationship to power evolves over our lifetime. We will explore experiences and share insights and learnings from power used well. Service led by Rev. Mary Grigolia. (4:15 p.m., in the Kendal Auditorium, open to everyone!)

ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT Building Your Own Theology – A 6-week series to explore how your beliefs and faith in life have evolved. Participants will share their philosophical, spiritual and religious journeys. Uplifting and fun! Open to everyone. Co-facilitated by Mary Grigolia and members of OUUF. Tuesdays at Kendal, March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, in the Crossroads Room, 3:15-4:45.

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