Goal of Process– To discern a communally supported decision through consensus.
Step 1- Explanation of Consensus Decision Process Council Chair should/ may state,
“This is the process that was adopted in 1990 by CMF and revised in 2014. It has been used in Congregational Meetings since that time. Consensus encourages discussion and input. A question you might ask yourself …is this decision in our communal best interest? After considering this question, there are three options available.
- Support- you are supportive of the decision/ proposal. b. Step Aside- this means that you do not fully accept the decision/proposal but will not block the decision c. Block- this means you cannot go along with the decision/ proposal and that you so strongly disagree that you are unwilling to allow the group to move forward even if the group might otherwise be prepared to move forward.”
Step 2- Description of the proposal Council chair or other congregation member (if appropriate) describes the issue under consideration for decision.
Step 3- State the decision/ proposal For example the Council Chair could say, “Council is recommending that the congregation affirm ….” Or “Given the feedback Council has received, Council is recommending the congregation affirm…”
Step 4- Response/ Discussion For example the Council Chair could say, “Are there questions or comments for Council regarding this proposal?”
Step 5- Decision Council Chair should/may state,
“Are we ready to make a decision? Is there anyone who feels that they cannot support the recommendation and intends to block the proposal? Is there anyone wishing to stand aside? Those who affirm, please raise your hand and say with me ‘we affirm’. “
Step 6 A- Affirming Supportive Decision Council Chair to use a statement similar to these statements. a. By this action we have affirmed together …” b. Today in this congregational meeting we have affirmed through consensus …”
Step 6 B- Blocked Decision If there are people or one person who is blocking the decision, Council Chair may ask if they would like to mention their reasons for blocking. After this the Chair may state that “we will continue our discernment on this proposal”. This would be the end of the meeting and the Chair may offer a prayer.
Step 7- Implementation of the Decision/ Proposal Council Chair provides information regarding what the next steps will be concerning the implementation and follow up regarding the decision.
Originally adopted June 1990
Revised May 2014