A Curious Stance Towards Traditions

Re-considering why the congregation does what we do

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This breakthrough practice helps you look with new eyes at the way things have been done–simply by asking whose voice is missing and how can we listen to them?


WHO

This practice encourages you to make intentional decisions about traditions and to seek out the perspectives of those who may have been historically marginalized within the congregation. It can be especially effective for decision-makers such as council/board/vestry or adult education groups.

WHY

Re-considering our traditions is a way of:

  • Communicating and practicing the value of hearing diverse viewpoints
  • Engaging beyond personal opinions or stances 
  • Asking the question: How might God speak to us through someone who is not part of the dominant group?
  • Encouraging transparency about decision-making

HOW

  1. Convene a group. Take turns sharing what you’ve done in the past related to the specific tradition and what it means to you. What would be lost if you did not do it this way anymore?
  2. Ask: How might circumstances have changed? What are people’s time commitments like? Are we more aware of other viewpoints because of the internet?
  3. Brainstorm: Whose voice isn’t in the room? What are our resources for gaining more perspectives?
  4. How will we share with the congregation what we’ve learned? How did this process further define how we make decisions? (Is it always by majority, or a preferential option for the vulnerable?)

EXAMPLES:

Where do you start? What kinds of traditions might you examine with this process? 

  • How a congregation observes non-religious holidays (Mother’s or Father’s Day, patriotic holidays)
  • Traditions related to the ethnicity of the dominant group who founded the church

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