The Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (hereinafter called the Fellowship) is a place of safety and integrity for each person’s mind, body and spirit. We are a supporting and nurturing faith community, honoring and respecting the rich diversity of those gathered here. Recognizing that warmth, beauty, kindness and passion will help to create a congregation of goodwill, generosity and compassion we covenant to affirm and promote:
- Honesty and authenticity in our relationships
- Words that are supportive and caring, not belittling or demeaning
- A welcoming and non-judgmental attitude
- Respect for each person’s boundaries of mind, body and spirit
- Refraining from displays of temper
- Honoring the gifts and blessings of thought and deed
While openness to a wide variety of individuals is one of the prime values held by our congregation and expressed in our denomination’s purposes and principles, we affirm the belief that our congregation must maintain a secure environment where such openness can exist. When any person’s physical and/or emotional well-being or freedom to safely express his or her beliefs or opinions is threatened, the source of this threat must be addressed firmly and promptly, even if this ultimately requires the expulsion of the offending person or persons.
Disruptive behavior of an individual within the church building may lead to concerns about one or more of the following:
- Perceived threats to the safety of any adult or child
- Disruption of church services and/or activities
- Diminished appeal of the Fellowship to its potential and existing membership.
Therefore, the following shall be the policy of the Fellowship with regard to disruptive behavior by an individual or individuals.
Reporting Disruptive Behavior
Any person who believes that they have witnessed or experienced disruptive behavior or has had a disruptive behavior incident reported to them should report it to any of the following:
- The minister
- Any member of the Board
If required by law, ordinance or similar regulation, the Minister or a designated member of the Board will immediately report the incident to the proper authorities.
The Fellowship will not retaliate against anyone who brings forward a complaint. All church leaders are required to immediately report any knowledge of disruptive behavior, harassment, abuse or misconduct to the Minister or the Board. While the Fellowship cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality, the Fellowship will make every reasonable effort to maintain confidentiality by disclosing the identity of the individuals involved only on a “need to know” basis and as necessary to investigate and resolve the complaint.
If the person or persons disruptive behavior is not violent or threatening or causing concerns for the safety of the group, then the minister and/or leader of the service or group involved should ask the person(s) to leave and/or suspend the service or activity until the person(s) have left.
If the disruptive behavior of a person or persons is violent, threatening or causing concerns about the safety of the group and or building then immediate action must be taken to insure the safety of the congregation. The minister and/or the leader of the service or group involved should call 911 and implement the Emergency Response Plan.
Anytime any of the actions above are taken, the minister and the Board will be notified. The Board will then determine what steps must be taken before the offending person or persons may be allowed to return to services or meetings of the Fellowship. In some cases the person or persons may not be allowed to return to any function of Fellowship.
More Deliberate response
The minister or group leader involved in a disruptive incident will refer the issue to the Board of Trustees. The President of the Board will appoint three members of current the Board Trustees to act as a Conflict Management Panel (CMP). The CMP will determine what actions should be taken, observing the following:
- There will be no attempt to define “acceptable” behavior in advance.
- Persons identified as disruptive will be dealt with as individuals; stereotypes will be avoided.
The CMP will collect all the necessary information. To aid in evaluating the incident/problem the following points will be considered:
- Dangerous – were the person’s actions violent, did the person cause harm to another person, and/or is the individual the source of a threat or perceived threat to persons or property?
- Disruptive – how much interference with the Fellowship’s functions is occurring?
- Offensive – how likely is it that prospective or existing members may be driven away by the disruptive behavior?
To determine the necessary response, the following response will be considered.
- Causes – why is the disruption occurring? Is it a conflict between the individual and others in the church? Is it due to a professionally diagnosed condition or mental illness?
- History – what is the frequency and degree of disruption is the past?
- Probability of Change – how likely is it that the problem will occur again?
The CMP will decide on the necessary response on a case-by-case basis. However, the following levels of response will be followed.
The CMP will meet with the persons involved in an incident to implement a conflict management process. The CMP will communicate their concern about the disruptive behavior. If the CMP believes that the behavior cannot be resolved they will refer the incident to the full Board. Additionally if the CMP determines the following has occurred then the case will be referred directly to the Board:
- If the individual has been in significant conflict resolutions before, then the CMP will infer that repeated resolutions have not worked.
- If the issue affects the larger congregation.
If conflict management process consultation attempts do not resolve the situation and the disruptive behavior continues, the full Board of Trustees will become involved. It may be determined that the offending individual(s) needs to be excluded from the Fellowship’s activities for a limited period of time, with the reasons for such action and conditions of return made clear in a written notification.
The Board of Trustees, after careful consideration, may determine that the offending individual(s) may be removed from membership and if appropriate, excluded from the Fellowship’s premises and all Fellowship activities. The Board’s vote must be unanimous. The decision of the Board will be final and is not subject to appeal.
The removal of an individual from membership in the Fellowship will be announced in the Fellowship’s newsletter with the statement: In accordance with the Disruptive Behavior Policy a member has been removed from membership. Any member who wishes to know the identity of the removed member may ask the minister or any member of the Board of Trustees. The minister and/or the Board will determine is there is a “need to know” to disclose the name to any individual.
Possible Reinstatement of Removed Individuals
The member who was removed must make any request for reinstatement in writing to the Board of Trustees. The request must contain information concerning the rationale for reinstatement and give a statement of understanding of the reasons for which s/he was removed from membership. An explanation in detail about how circumstances and conditions have changed such that a reinstatement would be justified must be included. The Board will review the request and respond within sixty days as to whether or not to reinstate the removed member. The decision of the Board shall be final and not subject to further appeal. A reinstatement request may be made no sooner that one year following the removal. In the event that a reinstatement request is not granted, any subsequent reinstatement requests may be made no sooner than one year following the member being informed of a negative decision on the previous request.
Conflict Management Panel
The Conflict Management Panel is a group appointed by the president as needed in cases of disruptive behavior. The panel will consist of three members of the current Board of Trustees. The CMP is not a standing or permanent committee. They will report their findings and recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
Updated February11, 2016