STATEMENT OF VALUES AND EXPECTATIONS
It is the intention of the Bismarck-Mandan Unitarian Universalist fellowship to create a culture of mutual respect and personal safety that supports the growth of individuals and community. In the service of this goal and its mission, the Fellowship holds certain expectations of its members, its volunteer leaders, its professional leaders, and those who relate to its children.
The Fellowship expects members and friends:
In addition to the above, the Fellowship expects its volunteer leaders:
In addition to all of the above, the Fellowship expects its professional leaders:
In addition to the membership and leadership expectations above, the Fellowship expects all who work with its children:
Questions regarding violation of these expectations, or concerns as to whether they are being met should refer to the Fellowship Board of Trustees.
IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURES FOR
VALUES AND EXPECTATIONS
When a member of the Fellowship has a concern related to the statement of values and expectations, that concern should be communicated to the Board of Trustees in writing. A Response Team will then be assembled to look into the concern and determine how to proceed with it. The Response Team will consist of four people appointed by the Board of Trustees.
The Response Team will make a determination under one of the following board categories:
If the concern is found to be without foundation or warranting no further action, the Response Team will make a brief written report of their findings to the person who raised the concern and to the Fellowship Board of Trustees.
If the concern is found to be credible and to involve matters that should be reported to legal authorities, the Response Team will advise the Board of Trustees of its findings with recommendations for Board action.
If the concern is found to be credible and to involve matters specific to Fellowship values and expectations, the Response Team will report this finding to the Board of Trustees, together with recommendations for a process of accountability and reconciliation. The goal of such a process will be to restore right relations among members of the Fellowship community, to protect the integrity of the congregation, to maintain the dignity and encourage the growth of all persons involved, and to promote healthy and transparent systems of relationship. As part of such a process, individuals may be asked to forgo certain functions of congregational life, such as working with children, handling money, or holding leadership positions, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Individuals who are unwilling to participate in such a process may be asked to discontinue their affiliation with the Fellowship.
The work of the Response Team will be confidential in process, but its findings will become public record as part of the minutes of the Board of Trustees. The Response Team may consult as necessary with others inside or outside of the Fellowship. In all cases the recommendations of the Response Team will be presented to the Board of Trustees and the decisions of the Board will be final.
DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR POLICY (adopted 4/25/17)
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Church of Bismarck-Mandan is a supportive and nurturing faith community, honoring and respecting the rich diversity of those gathered here. We affirm and promote:
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 atmosphere 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 may lead to concerns about one or more of the following:
Since it is serious business to file a formal complaint against an individual or group, doing so should never be taken lightly. An attempt should be made to resolve disruptive situations by addressing them directly with compassion and concern, before resorting to the use of this policy.
REPORTING DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR
Any person who believes that they have witnessed or experienced disruptive behavior or who have had a disruptive behavior incident report to them should report it to the Minister or a member of the Board. In addition, all church leaders and staff are required to report—as soon as is practicable—any knowledge of disruptive behavior, harassment, abuse or misconduct to the Minister or the Board.
The Minister and/or leader of the group involved will undertake an immediate response to such behavior. This may include asking the offending person or persons to leave, or suspending the meeting or activity until such time as it can safely be resumed. The police department may be called if further assistance is required. In the absence of the Minister, the leader of the group will notify the Minister and the President or Vice-President of the Board; a follow-up letter detailing the perceived offense and the action taken because of the offense should be written and distributed to the Minister and the Board President. They will then consult with at least one additional representative from the Board to determine what steps must be taken before the offending person or persons may be allowed to return to the activities involved. A letter detailing these steps will be sent to the offending party or parties.
MORE DELIBERATE RESPONSE
For ongoing situations and those not requiring an immediate response, the process begins with a written, signed explanation of the disruptive behavior and its impact, from the person or people who witnessed it, to the Minister. The Minister will determine whether s/he wishes to handle the situation privately or involve the Board to investigate the matter further. When appropriate and whenever possible, the Minister or Board will inform the person that a complaint has been filed and is being investigated.
MINISTER AND BOARD RESPONSE TO DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR
The Minister and Board will respond to situations as they arise, using their own judgment, without defining acceptable behavior in advance.
The following questions must be considered by the Minister and/or Board:
To determine the necessary response, the following points will be considered:
* Causes: Why is the disruption occurring? Is it a conflict between the individual and others in the fellowship? Is it due to a professionally diagnosed condition of mental illness?
* History: What is the frequency and degree of disruption caused in the past?
* Probability of Change: How likely is it that the problem behavior will diminish in the future?
The Minister or Board will respond on a case-by-case basis. The following levels of response are options the Minister or the Board can implement:
Any action taken under Level Four may be appealed in writing to the Board within 30 days of the letter of notification, in which case an ad hoc appeal committee shall be formed by the Board. The appeal committee shall be composed of two current Board members, two past Board members, and a fifth active church member, chosen by the removed person. In a case where the individual does not have a member to propose, the fifth member would be selected by the other four members. The majority decision of the appeal committee shall be final.
The removal of an individual from membership in the church will be announced in the church newsletter with this statement: In accordance with Disruptive Behavior Policy a member or friend has been removed from participation. Any church member who wishes to know the identity of the removed individual may ask the Minister or a member of the Board
POSSIBLE REINSTATEMENT OF REMOVED INDIVIDUAL
Any request for reinstatement must be made by the individual who was removed. The written request to the Board must contain information concerning the rationale for the reinstatement: 1) a statement of understanding of the reasons for which s/he was removed from membership and 2) an explanation in detail how circumstances and conditions have changed, such that a reinstatement would be justified. The Minister and Board then will review the request and—if a majority of the Board members desire—meet with the removed individual. The Board will respond within 60 days as to whether or not to reinstate the removed individual. The decision of the Board shall be final and not subject to further appeal. A reinstatement request may be made no sooner than 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 individual being informed of a negative decision on the previous request.
Concern for the safety and the well-being of the congregation as a whole must be given priority over the privileges and inclusion of the individual. To the degree the disruptive behavior compromises the health of this congregation, our actions as people of faith must reflect this emphasis.