Creating a Culture of Right Relationship© is a comprehensive program of leadership development that can have a profound impact on the quality of congregational or community life: increasing harmony and effectiveness, supporting growth, enhancing the personal fulfillment of members, as well as amplifying the congregation’s mission in the world.
The focus is on transforming our approach to collaborating, decision making, and conflict resolution into community spiritual practices by developing facility in Covenant-Based Dialogue©. This work blends the key concepts and processes of several personal and organizational developmental models – including non-violent communication, family systems theory, and the enneagram of personality types – and applies them to living the shared values and promises at the heart of our UU faith.
This unique leadership development model transforms issues into openings: opportunities to grow personally, deepen community life, attract newcomers, build trust across differences, and energize service in the world. This communication and problem solving skill set enables us to embody and fulfill the ideals we commit to in our UU Principles and Purposes and congregational mission statements. We can approach every issue in ways that empower us to be our best selves while genuinely benefitting everyone! Staying grounded and in right relationship while working through challenging issues changes everything. Discover the fulfillment of staying both fully authentic and fully connected to others, even when challenges arise.
Creating a Culture of Right Relationship© programs build a cadre of leaders with a commitment to living and modeling working together constructively through difficult moments – and who have the skill and confidence to make that a reality! The result is a profound positive shift in congregational culture which strengthens the bonds of community as we work to build the world we want to live in.
What results and benefits can participants expect?
Deepened commitment to congregational mission and vision
– Stay grounded in powerful, concrete processes for living our highest shared values – Reimagine our UU covenants – alive as a core community spiritual practice
– Discover life-changing tools for authentic and respectful dialogue in all situations – Energize emerging leaders to see and work for the vision of the congregation
Leadership Development: New Skills in Collaboration & Conflict Resolution
– Express what matters to you most in ways others can hear and receive
– Enable others to feel heard and understood even when you disagree
– Use collaborative decision making tools for finding solutions everyone can accept
– Deal effectively with conflict avoidance, conflict denial and/or pressure tactics
– Develop resilience under pressure for calm, non-anxious presence when tensions rise
Community Building and Growth
– Strengthen community bonds by building goodwill and trust in leadership
– Break through stuck places with facilitated support in resolving specific issues
– Inspire newcomers to join your welcoming and healthy congregation
– Develop guidelines to train a Right Relationship team to address future conflicts
Building the World We Want to Live In
– Renew energy for projects in the congregation, community and beyond
– Inspire change and live your liberal religious values more fully in the larger world – Create real movement in “becoming the change we wish to see.”
Personal Growth and Spiritual Development
– Free yourself to “follow your bliss” and make your greatest contribution to others
– Develop communication & conflict resolution skills for every interaction in your life – Experience new self-confidence in expressing yourself authentically and with caring – Learn how to say “no” in ways you can feel good about – and that benefit everyone
– Support others in bringing their best to every situation, no matter how difficult
– Learn how to get clear about and hold onto what matters to you most
– Open to the Spirit of Life moving through you!
Leading the way to transformative change for the community as a whole
Programs and Services
One Day Congregational Workshop
In this one day, introductory workshop, congregational members and leaders will get a overview of the key concepts and skills of Covenant-Based Dialogue© both as a community spiritual practice and as a highly usable, concrete skill set. The day will blend presentation and large and small group practice sessions, including working with specific issues and addressing unresolved conflicts, past or present.
Congregational Weekend Intensive
A Weekend Intensive is an ideal opportunity to do in-depth work together:
Friday evening: Rev. Cat meets with a group of leaders, which might include the Board, key committee chairs, the Committee on Ministry, the Right Relationship or Healthy Congregations team, and other leaders as appropriate, to discuss specific goals for the weekend, address any concerns, present an overview of Covenant-Based Dialogue© as well to begin focusing on specific congregational issues.
Saturday: An extended day: an open-to-all members all day congregational workshop introducing and practicing the key skills of Covenant-Based Dialogue© as they apply to every day communication, decision making, collaboration, and conflict resolution; large and small group practice sessions. Opportunities to begin to address issues and challenges that the congregation is presently facing as well as unresolved tensions past or present; facilitated resolution of specific issues as needed.
Saturday dinner: Meeting with congregational leaders in an informal setting to continue the conversation about congregational needs, make plans to address them, and to explore follow-up from the all day workshop.
Sunday: Rev. Cat leads the worship service(s): Theme: The Only Problem to Solve
This service explores why the development of healthy, shared practices for how we solve problems is the crucial spiritual and practical foundation for all of a congrega- tion’s work, and how we get there together.
Sunday afternoon: After service session: “Where do we go from here?” a facilitated conflict resolution and/or collaborative decision-making session with leaders exploring and developing next steps,.
These elements work together synergistically to energize and inspire a core group of leaders to carry forward the work of Creating a Culture of Right Relationship, creating a “ripple effect” throughout the whole!
Follow-up programming of several types deepens and continues the work of a shift in congregational patterns for facing and resolving tensions and healthy, rewarding collaborative work going forward.
Four Week Immersion Series
The Four Week Immersion Series includes:
- – Four weekly, 80 min. video-conferencing class sessions with Rev. Cat and up to 35 participants
- – Weekly reflection sheets focusing on the topic of the week
- – Core materials for step-by-step guidance through future challenges
- – Support for set-up of weekly check-in calls between paired participants
- – Unlimited email support
- – Ongoing support options, individualized for every congregation
Eight Week Immersion Series
The Eight-Week Immersion Series includes all the elements of the Four Week Immersion Series, expanded to extend learning and practice opportunities over a longer period of 8 weeks meeting for 80 minute video-conferencing class sessions.
In addition, this series includes:
- – Two 30-minute “laser coaching” calls for congregational leaders for support ASAP!
- – Grounding the issues and challenges of the congregation and our faith in the historical/cultural context of UU culture, including the challenges and blindspots!
- – In-depth exploration of the 3 styles of meeting conflict and how to work with them
- – Expanded opportunities for group practice focusing on present issues / concerns
Six to Nine-Month Practice Groups
Following an Immersion Series or Weekend Intensive, a once-a-month Practice Group – 80 minute sessions, with meetings held by video-conferencing – provides ongoing opportunities for facilitated support in resolving specific tensions and conflicts from the past or present. A six to nine month Practice Groups will greatly reinforce and deepen skills and confidence in staying grounded in our covenants and values, while growing confidence and facility in working through challenging issues and creating solutions based in authenticity, integrity, and caring – strengthening and building community. Two additional sessions for building effective Right Relationship / Healthy Congregation teams is also included.
Facilitated Conflict Resolution
Unresolved conflicts don’t go away; they linger and fester, draining energy and good- will. Sometimes the disruptive energy is all too present. At other times it operates blow the radar, but nevertheless creates a drag on forward movement. Rev. Cat is available to facilitate the resolution of specific conflicts both in person and online, for small groups (or pairs), or for the congregation as a whole in a one day focused workshop. This work is tailored to meeting the needs of the particular situation.
Leadership Training & Consulting
Board and committee chair consultations and trainings in Covenant-Based Dialogue© can be tailored to the needs of an individual congregation and its leaders.
Comments from parish clergy colleagues:
“90% of the problems of a community would disappear if we could actually have a culture of right relationship in which people treat each other well while working issues out. Thanks for helping to make it happen!” – Rev. Cyndi Simpson
“Thank you for your deep, seasoned and courageous facilitation. Our board works together entirely differently and so much more effectively now. ” – Rev. Mary Grigolia
“This work is at the heart of lay leadership development.” – Rev. Nan White
“Arriving as a settled minister at a congregation which had done this leadership development work with you was an entirely new – and extremely positive – experience. Thank you!” – Rev. Scott Rudolph
“This is powerful and important work that every congregation can benefit from.” – Rev. Sean Parker Dennison
Comments from congregational workshop participants:
“This course has changed forever how I see and deal with conflict.”
“This course literally saved my marriage”
“I have new hope for our congregation. Now I see the potential, not just the problems.”
“I have said no to a lot of service positions at church for years because there were two people I just could not work with. The conflict resolution session you facilitated for us changed that.”
“My hurt from what happened here 10 years ago has finally been healed. I am back at last.”
“I can never thank you enough. I had not spoken to my son in ten years, but after the workshop, I called him, using the communication tools I had learned. Now we are going to see each other, and I will meet my grandchildren for the first time.”
Comments from Board Presidents:
“The environment in our congregation is dramatically different as a result of your work with us. It’s refreshingly and rewardingly open – thank you so much.” – Jim Meckel, President of the Board RVUUF
“Thank you so much for your work. It has made such a difference!” – Deborah Schmidt, President of the Board of the UU Church of Berkeley
Rev. Cat’s ministry, The Path of Joy: Conflict Resolution Empowering You & Benefitting Everyone, supports people who want to give their best to others and the world without losing themselves in the process.
Her ministry serves individuals, couples, colleagues, congregations and groups nationwide, both in person and by video-conferencing. Rev. Cat offers support in transforming challenging situations into opportunities for bridge-building, personal growth, spiritual development and affirmative outcomes for all.
Rev. Cat’s signature programs for congregations, Creating a Culture of Right Relationship© and its core component, Covenant-Based Dialogue© have been presented at UU congregations, General Assembly workshops, District Assemblies, through UUA webinars, at the UUMA Institute for Excellence in Ministry 2015, and at UUMA Chapter Retreats nationwide.
Presentations and consultations are always tailored to the needs of individuals, groups, or the congregation as a whole and can vary from individual spiritual direction, to . leadership consulting, to facilitation of the resolution of specific issues, to year-long congregational programs.
Rev. Cat is a recipient of the Margaret Fuller Award of the UU Women’s Federation and a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministries. Her community ministry has been affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley since 2003.
She is the President of the UU Society for Community Ministries.