At the May 19 Board of Trustees Meeting, Rev. Shaw notified the Board that they, as Senior Minster, had appointed me to Chair a Committee to be formed pursuant to the Church’s Policy Regarding Responsible Behavior. A link to the Policy is below. The Policy was adopted in 1997. The Policy applies to “disruptive behavior of an individual” and explicitly addresses situations, “[w]hen any person’s physical and/or emotional well-being or freedom to safely express his or her beliefs or opinions is threatened…” Soon, the Committee will form, will determine a process to follow, and then will learn about situations which gave rise to Rev. Amy triggering the Policy. I’m very pleased our church has such a policy, as protecting those who come within our walls or visit us virtually is vital.
Note that the focus of the Policy is the conduct of individuals. Since Amy’s announcement, some members have questioned what gave rise to triggering the policy as they weren’t aware of any such incidents. Personal interactions are not necessarily conducted out in the open and folks don’t always talk publicly about what they’ve experienced. Rather, they may take it to the Senior Minister, and that is not only their right but, in many cases, may have been the right thing to do under the circumstances.
But because the focus is on individual conduct, it doesn’t appear that a Committee created under this Policy is the best venue for addressing systemic issues within the church. Rather, that may be best left to those we elected to represent us in conducting the business of this Church – the Board of Trustees. I can tell you that this Committee will strive to be as transparent as we possibly can be, but we must also be able to honor requests for confidentiality from those who may bring matters to our attention. I am certain we will, to the greatest extent possible, strive to resolve any interpersonal disputes through mediation and agreement. The Committee will move carefully and deliberately as it performs its role. We will appreciate your support and patience. I am happy to visit with anyone regarding this.