Democracy & Stewardship: Rising or Falling?

by Bunny Hodas

Part of me feels like I’m having a Faith Crisis. I’ve been feeling unheard and discounted. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in these feelings. What I know is that I can’t control or change anyone except myself. I also know that my active participation counts. It is meaningful; to me and to others. My willingness to not quit or walk away in the face of adversity, disgust, despair, frustration, and anger allows me to claim my ownership, membership, and stewardship of this planet; this country; this congregation. My Voice and My Vote matter.

Democracy is defined as “government by the people,” “vested in the people.” Our UU 5th Principle is “The right of conscience and the use of democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” Our Kids’ 5th Principle affirms that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them. Stewardship is defined as “…the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

In these definitions and principles, I don’t read anything about corporations, special interest groups, or those people having the most money getting to be the ones in control. I read “people,” “process,” “conscience,” “concern,” “care.” WE are the people. We are the ones who have been using the democratic process here at UUCP for quite some time. Since I’ve been a member in the last 4-5 years, we’ve been voting up a storm. Besides budgets and Board members, we’ve voted on a new Vision statement, new Strategic Ends, a Capital Campaign, supporting Rev. Susan for UUA Presidency, electing a Ministerial Search Committee, and soon voting to accept a new minister. We’re writing postcards, making phone calls, attending marches and protests, working alongside the disenfranchised and doing the work to learn about our own shortcomings, biases, and how to live better into our Vision.

I’d say we’re being “The People.” We’re using our votes to show our concern and exhibiting the careful and responsible management of things entrusted to our care. Every vote we cast, every time we show up and exercise our ownership of this congregation, we are being responsible stewards of UUCP. We are living into our 5th Principle of democratic process. We do the same in our community and society. Your Voice and Your Vote Matters! Democracy and Stewardship go hand in hand. I’d say both are alive and well at UUCP.

While part of me still feels like I’m having a faith crisis, another part of me understands that it’s my faith in our UU Principles, my belief in our UUCP Mission and Vision and the people that make up this beloved community that will see me through any crisis.