QUESTIONS FROM THE FIELD ON INTEGRATION:
This page does not contain every question asked to date, but attempts to be representative. It will be updated as we go forward. At this time (March 2008), there are few questions on the form that the final result of our work will take that can be answered at this time. The intention is that Integration enhance and expand our ability to bring the Science of Mind to the world includes an intention that no one currently affiliated lose anything relating to affiliation, licensing, etc. All of this will become more clear with time.
WHAT WILL THE FINAL VERSION OF THE NEW ORGANIZATION LOOK LIKE?
At this time, it is unknown what form a “final” version will take, or if there will ever be a “final” version. The current plan is to address the organizational form after we have determined how all of the functional areas of the two organizations have been compared and decisions have been made as to the best way to integrate each area.
WHAT IS THE TARGET DATE FOR COMPLETION OF THE INTEGRATION?
A tentative date of December 31, 2011, has been set. This is just a rough estimate at this time – it will take as long as it takes to create the best possible idea of a unified Religious Science organization and to ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to be informed and to give input into the process.
WILL THE INTEGRATION INCLUDE OTHER NEW THOUGHT ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH AS ANTN, UNITY, AND DIVINE SCIENCE?
At this point, no. Other organizations have indicated that they are not interested at this time, and the Integration process would be far more complex. There is every possibility that further integration will be explored when the ICSL/UCSL process is complete.
HOW WILL THE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ORGANIZATIONS BE DEALT WITH?
Where the differences are reflected in bylaws, policies, and procedures, they will be resolved by both organizations in conversation. Some of these conversations may involved consultants or other facilitators where legal or other issues are involved. For those differences that are not reflected in bylaws, etc., they will be resolved through the process of coming together and integrating as colleagues. An example of this is using the term “treatment” or using the term “prayer.”
HOW IS THE INTEGRATION PROCESS CONNECTED TO THE BRANDING PROCESS?
Both UCSL and ICSL are engaged in branding at this time. UCSL began the process about 6-8 months before ICSL did. Other than demonstrating through research that our two organizations are very much alike in many ways, the branding process is not directly connected to Integration. Each organization is going forward with branding on its own; eventually, we may brand a new overall name, logo, etc. – that will be addressed further into the process.
WILL OUR TEACHING ALWAYS BE CALLED THE SCIENCE OF MIND?
The Integration Process and the Branding Process are not addressing a name change for our teaching. So the answer is yes, it will remain The Science of Mind.
WILL ANY MINISTERS OR PRACTITIONERS LOSE THEIR ORDINATION OR LICENSING STATUS AS A RESULT OF INTEGRATION?
No. While the Integration will ultimately lead to standards that are different for one or both organizations, no one currently ordained or licensed will lose that status.
WHAT HAPPENS TO LOCAL CHURCH/CENTER BYLAWS?
This is a “form question,” and has not been formally addressed as of yet. Any final outcome will include an element of choice for all existing communities. The possibility exists that all affiliations may require the addition of a new overall corporate name in church or center bylaws, there is no intention to require wholesale changes by existing communities.
WHAT ABOUT CHURCH/CENTER AUTONOMY?
While this was a key element of The Split, both organizations have evolved to a place where churches and pastors/senior ministers have a high degree of autonomy. There is currently little, if any significant difference between UCSL & ICSL in this regard.
HOW WILL THE FINAL DECISION TO INTEGRATE BE MADE? WILL WE VOTE?
Once the Integration Process reaches a point where there is a clear and achievable plan for Integration, each organization will make its own decision using whatever policies are in place at the time. At this point, it is unknown what that decision will involve as to corporate entities, charters, etc. There must be a great deal of care and reverence for our collective history as these historic decisions are considered. Currently both organizations would require a vote to make a change of this nature – it is likely that there will be a number of votes as we go forward.
HOW WILL LEADERSHIP BE CHOSEN IN THE NEW ORGANIZATION AND WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP?
Again, this is a “form question.” We do not know at this point. A great deal of visioning, prayer-treatment, and consideration will be given to this and all major decisions going forward. And, of course, there will be ongoing opportunity for input from all concerned.
WILL RSI BE ABSORBED INTO UNITED CENTERS FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING?
We are moving toward integration, not absorbtion. Each organization brings much to the process that will be retained in the integrated organization along with much that will be new.
HOW WILL THE DIFFERENCES IN MINISTERIAL EDUCATION & CERTIFICATION BE RESOLVED?
Again, this is a “form question.” The process will include an examination of current practices in this and every functional area of each organization. Wherever possible, a “clear best practice” will be chosen, or a multi-track option where both practices are continued, or a totally new practice will be chosen. Until that process is complete, the answers to such questions are not presently knowable.
WILL THE RSIAS OFFICE MOVE FROM SPOKANE, AND WILL BE BE PREPARED TO ASSIST THE EMPLOYEES IN THIS PROCESS?
This is unknown at this point. When this issue is visited, it will be approached with great sensitivity to all of our employees as well as a desire to enhance the overall operations of the organization.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP? HOW CAN WE HELP THE PROCESS?
We are moving into the strategic implementation phase – meaning that we will be dealing with the “form” issues over the next months. What you can do is to stay informed (read this blog), make connections with your counterparts in the “other” organization and get to know them. Participate in things like the upcoming meeting in Los Angeles (Sept 11 & 12) for senior ministers & pastors. Attend conferences and events of the “other” organization as well as meetings that are open to all. Get involved in the branding process to bring your local community into a place to be a part of unified growth. Ask questions and share your ideas. Do treatment for everyone in this process and for our greater movement.