To study thought as it affects religion . . . A Gathering of Unitarian Universalist Ministers
First Time at Prairie Group?
Prairie Group is a unique gathering that has adhered to a rigorous tradition of scholarship known as "the Discipline," since its inception in 1951. Some of these traditions are part of the oral culture of Prairie Group. Some are actually written down. These are the notes from one member of Prairie Group, and are in no way meant to represent the official policies and practices of said group - only the benevolent dictator also known as the President can determine that. However, you, dear reader, may find them helpful as you consider whether or not to request membership in this group, and to know what some of the expecations are of members of Prairie Group.
Disciplines of Prairie Group
Pay dues on time. You should get a notice from the Scribe in advance of Prairie Group. Please pay him/her promptly.
Show up or convey your regrets to the Scribe. Your letter of regret for not attending will be read during the Business meeting. Consider coming to Prairie Group as part of an annual spiritual discipline.
If assigned a paper, follow the discipline of length and word count. You are expected to complete your paper assignment and turn it over to your respondent by September 1st.
Participate in all the sessions. The hope and expectation is that you will come at the beginning of Prairie Group and stay through the end, not cutting out on sessions of showing up late except, of course, if you are ill or have extenuating circumstances. (i.e., true pastoral emergencies as opposed to the usual crisis d’jour that we all have to deal with.)
Consider the “step up/step back” rule; if you are a person who often shares, consider allowing space for others; if you are a person who is reticent to speak up, then challenge yourself to speak up at least once during the gathering. Your voice is important too!
Consider how your comment in the large group would enhance or forward the thread of conversation. Is it a thought or point that no one, including the authors and respondent of the papers has brought up yet? Try to keep your comments succinct.
During the reading of the papers, give your colleague the courtesy of your full attention.
Help set up and take down the sound system or other tasks as requested.
All social gatherings are open – bring snacks and drinks to share.
Members have a covenant of confidentiality; what is spoken in worship, private confession or personal stories may not be shared outside of Prairie Group. The contents of the papers, however, may be shared.
If you would like to bring a guest, please speak with the Scribe in advance. The scribe position is currentlyheld by Bill Neely. Discuss the disciplines and expectations of Prairie Group so that your guest is knowledgeable about and agreeable to them.
Come to the business meeting willing to contribute a topic; and be able to speak about why you think that topic would be a good one for you and your colleagues to study.
If you offered a paper, please send an electronic copy to the webmaster, currently Kathleen Rolenz (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you're sending a copy to your respondent, why not send it to the webmaster at the same time?
If you decide to resign from Prairie Group membership, please send a letter to the Scribe so that we may honor your contributions to the group during the Annual Business meeting.
Respectfully submitted by K. Rolenz
This website is maintained by Kathleen Rolenz. To provide content or corrections, please contact her at kathleen.rolenz (at) gmail.com