THE GOOD OFFICES
List of current officers
for Good Officers
TABLE OF CONTENTS
When can a LREDA Good
What does a Good Officer do?
What makes a good Good Officer?
Good Officer Job Description
Good Offices Grievance Procedure
Appendix - Resources and Where to Find Them
have specific needs to be met if they are to function well as religious
professionals and to integrate that role with a healthy per-sonal life.
Members of the congregation come to them with personal problems; it is not
appropriate to take their problems to the congregation. Religious
educators need the support of each other and, at times, some special
support. LREDA Good Officers can help provide this support.
Good Officers are available in most Unitarian
Universalist districts around the continent. Any one of these people is
available to help. A LREDA member may select a particular Good Officer
because of proximity, acquaintance, or her or his particular personal
experience as a religious educator. The role of these Good Officers is
to help LREDA members with professional problems and concerns. The
LREDA Board appoints and
supports training for the Good Officers upon recommendation from the Board
members for Professional Concerns.
When can a LREDA Good Officer help?
Before a congregation-related issue gets out of hand, i.e., in
conflicts over contracts, lines of authority, unfulfilled
agreements, collegial relationships, etc., when talking things over
early in a conflict may resolve the situation without further steps.
When conflict has escalated, but the various parties are
willing to engage in mediated dialogue.
When serious polarization has occurred and the Grievance
Procedure needs to be invoked (see end of this section).
What does a Good Officer do?
A. Informs the local LREDA Chapter members of Good Offices
B. On the arrival of a colleague to a new position, on the
acceptance of a colleague into LREDA, or when a retired member moves into the
area, the Good Officer welcomes them, including a note about the availability
of Good Offices services.
C. In the event of personal crisis where one-to-one
counseling is needed, the Good Officer identifies an appropriate LREDA member
or a skilled and trusted minister or lay person in the area, contacts that
person, and asks that s/he initiate a call to the person in crisis.
D. In a problem situation between a LREDA member and
her/his parish minister or congregation, the Good Officer:
1. gathers information from the LREDA
2. listens sympathetically and counsels
the LREDA member
3. develops a process of mutual
communication among the LREDA member, the parish minister, and appropriate
4. helps to identify underlying reasons
for the difficulty and suggests mutually beneficial solutions
5. considers the following question:
What were the expectations in terms of roles and relationships?
What hasn't worked satisfactorily?
What does each person feel has been an obstacle?
Are the expectations reasonable?
Can any of the blocks to a solution be removed?
6. follows the Grievance Procedure if such processes
a conflict situation between a LREDA member and a parish minister, the LREDA
Good Officer invites the two parties to meet with her/him and a UUMA Good
Officer chosen by the parish minister. If the situation has become
polarized, the LREDA Good Officer will consult with a LREDA Board member for
What makes a good Good Officer?
strict adherence to
the ability to separate one's own ego needs from the role of Good Officer
awareness that listening and counseling come before mediating and advocacy
knowing when to refer someone to professional help
the trust and confidence of colleagues
both empathy and objectivity
considerable experience as a religious educator in parish settings
training and experience in counseling
training in conflict resolution
familiarity with the UUMA and LREDA Codes of Professional Practice
access to good sources of information, such as the Office of Church Staff
Finances and The RE Staffing Guide
the ability to move between the roles of mediator and advocate
for the profession of religious education
Good Officer Job
qualifications and expectations for Good Officers:
LREDA Good Officers must have:
1. Trust of colleagues and chapter members.
2. Experience as a religious educator - 5 years or more.
3. Willingness and ability to attend annual Good Offices training prior
4. Membership in LREDA in good standing:
a. "active" or "honorary life"
b. serving Religious Education in a paid or
substantial volunteer capacity;
c. in good standing in their own congregation;
d. active and visible in the district in which they
serve. This includes a recently retired religious educator who is
still in touch with active religious educators.
It is desirable for LREDA Good Officers to have:
1. Conflict management or mediation training.
2. Clinical Pastoral Education unit or counseling training.
The following are the LREDA Board expectations of Good Officers:
1. Become familiar with the Good Offices Program
2. Present yourself and the function of Good Offices annually to
your chapter, reviewing the HANDBOOK with any new religious
3. Attend annual Good Offices training provided prior to General
Assembly in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Ministers
4. Report annually to the LREDA Board members for Professional
Concerns concerning the type and amount of Good Offices activity you
have engaged in during the year.
5. Submit reimbursement request for reasonable expenses.
6. Maintain absolute confidentiality about your work with any
religious educator, consulting as necessary with the Board Member
for Professional Concerns.
LREDA has limited funds for Good Offices functions.
If mail or e-mail will serve, they are to be used, then telephone calls, and,
finally, travel. If funds for travel seem necessary, the Good Officer
should contact one of the Board members for Professional Concerns.
Good Offices Grievance Procedure
The Grievance Procedure available through the Good Offices program
should not be used until the member of LREDA has made a reasonable effort to
resolve a grievance through her/his congregation. When using the
procedures of one's congregation, the grievant should conduct her/himself
with a high degree of professionalism. The grievant should submit, and
request others involved to submit, a written description of the grievance to
the appropriate committee(s), including that committee to which the grievant
is directly responsible. In any resolution of the grievance, the
grievant should insist that her/his rights as a professional religious
educator be recognized and honored (see the Code of Professional Practices).
If a resolution of the grievance cannot be achieved
within the con-gregation, the grievant may request the assistance of the Good
Offices program of LREDA. The following procedure should be employed:
1. Notify the individuals and committees involved of one's intention
of using the Good Offices program of LREDA. Describe the function of
the Good Offices program: a resource for helping individual religious
educators and congregations to resolve conflicts to the benefit of all
2. Submit to the Good Officer a written description of the
grievance, efforts to resolve it, and the names of people who have been
involved, including professional colleagues, committee chairpersons, etc.,
involved in prior negotiations.
3. The Good Officer will then arrange for a personal meeting with
the grievant as well as meetings with other individuals and/or com-mittees,
to clarify the nature of the grievance. The Good Officer will notify a LREDA
Board member for Professional Concerns and the appropriate District Field
Staff of the grievance situation.
4. If a resolution of the grievance seems possible, the Good
Officer will offer counsel, facilitate the resolution, and submit a written
description of the resolution to a LREDA Board member for Professional
5. If a valid grievance does not exist, the Good Officer will
submit a written report to all concerned, including to a LREDA Board Member
for Professional Concerns. If the grievant continues to feel that a
valid griev-ance exists, s/he may appeal directly to the LREDA Board.
6. If a valid grievance does exist, and the relevant parties are
unable to resolve it in a mutually satisfactory way, the Good Officer will
submit a written report to a LREDA Board member for Professional Concerns.
The Board will proceed in ways deemed appropriate, including, among others, a
decision that a valid grievance does not exist, further efforts to resolve
the grievance, or sanctions against the congregation with the recommendation
that no member of LREDA serve that congregation.
APPENDIX - RESOURCES AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Contact the following
offices for assistance:
Department of Lifespan Faith Development
Curriculum Development Office
Starting from Scratch
RE Staffing Guide
Creating Safe Congregations: Toward an Ethic
of Right Relations
"Spiral Journey" pamphlet
Curriculum Loan Library
of Ministry and Professional Leadership
"RE Leadership Options" pamphlet
Compensation issues and materials
Department of Ministry
Settlement for Ministers of Religious
Ministerial Settlement Handbook
Office of Church Staff Finances -- To Sustain
the Living Tradition
Department of Congregational,
District and Extension Services
Extension conferences and trainings
UUA District Resources
District Religious Education Consultant
District Compensation Consultant
UUA Bookstore : 1 (800)
Alban Institute, Inc.
4550 Montgomery Ave.
Suite 433 North
Bethesda, MD 20814
1 (800) 486-1318
Religious Education Association
409 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511-2177
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