Women’s Group – Intercultural/Interfaith
Last spring a cadre of UUCCI women came together to explore interfaith/intercultural relations and issues. At that time we decided to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). The IDI is an instrument to assess how comfortable and adaptable a person (or group) is in different cultural situations. The purpose is to provide feedback regarding this adaptability so that individuals and groups can identify avenues for increasing flexibility and deepen appreciation for and knowledge of different cultures and faith traditions. The IDI provides a model for how one can grow toward greater understanding and adaptability.
Seventeen women participated in the IDI and met with our facilitator, Sue Sinnamon. We approached this as a group so that we could learn more about our developmental stage and identify next steps for this year. What we learned is that the UUCCI group is in the middle of the middle stage called “minimization”. Minimization is the stage where one highlights the commonalities and universal values between cultures. In minimization there can be a tendency to assume commonalities and thus miss a deeper appreciation of cultural differences. The question here is, have you truly discovered the common values, behaviors, perceptions, etc. or have you assumed that because we are all human we share similarities?
Our IDI facilitator recommended several steps to move through the stage of assuming and to become more focused on exploring/discovering differences. First and foremost is to increase awareness of your own culture/heritage and how you have been influenced. Do you know why you behave the way you do? What, from your heritage, shapes your views, assumptions, behaviors, beliefs? Secondly, what is the heritage of the congregation? What are the values, beliefs, behaviors that have shaped this organization and influenced members and the community? This is not just the basic UU values and beliefs, but how the UU values and beliefs have come alive in the hearts and the work of UUCCI congregants. Additional steps include: visiting other houses of faith and cultural events; reading; reviewing articles and research on cultural patterns and difference; joining groups that are seeking to bridge differences; making a commitment to becoming more open to learning and shifting perspectives.
Although UUCCI, as a group, is in the stage of minimization, as individuals we have different levels of interest, different patterns of learning, different needs and time frames and past experiences. Some of us are at more action-oriented place and want to be making a visible difference in our communities. Some of us are feeling more reflective and see the importance of increasing self-knowledge and awareness of UUCCI beliefs and history in order to appreciate and value cultural diversity. So, we have created a format for the church year that we think can accommodate both broad perspectives and needs.
- We will meet monthly through the church year; the first Thursday of the month from 6:30-8 pm at UUCCI.
- Each monthly meeting will focus on activities to increase self-knowledge, self-awareness, UUCCI awareness.
- Each meeting will include invitations to action. This is where women can learn about specific events or community groups to join. This also provides an opportunity for women to come together and support each other in reaching out into the community.
- Lastly, this is an adventure! We are on this path together seeking to learn, to understand, and to grow in wisdom and compassion.
- All our welcome, at any time. Topics and activities will be listed in UUCCI communications.