Big changes coming this fall, for worship and for faith development for both children and adults

 

Connecting in Love and Service

Growing Spiritually

Transforming Ourselves and the World

This is the mission statement we created together and adopted in 2013. In all we do together as a community, these are the words that we revisit to evaluate how we’re doing. These are the words that we look to when we ask, “Could we be doing this better?”

We are now entering the third year of our five-year plan to improve the opportunities for children, youth, and adults to connect in love and service and to grow together spiritually. As we evaluated our progress last year, we felt we could do better than we have been doing. A shift to Sunday School before church addressed some issues very successfully, especially allowing our teachers to attend worship regularly, but it fell short in others. Class time was too short. Choir conflicted with adult faith development opportunities. Attendance did not improve as we had hoped.

In conversations throughout the year with those of you serving our lifespan faith development programs, choir members, potential teachers for adult programs, and other church leaders, we found ourselves excited by a new schedule, one that has been successful in other congregations. Sunday School classes for children would occur after worship. In addition, on the second and third Sundays, adult faith development and service opportunities would be offered, followed by a community lunch. A simplified “social hour lite” might be offered for those who don’t want to participate in the adult programs. On the first and fourth Sundays, we would have a regular social hour. Children’s Choir will continue to meet before church on fourth Sundays, with a teachers’ day off after church.

To make this work, we will keep our worship start time at 10:00 am as we move into September and the church school year. Worship will run from 10:00-11:15, followed by a brief transition time and children’s Sunday School classes from 11:30-12:30 on first, second, and third Sundays. On second and third Sundays, there will be adult offerings from 11:30-12:30 as well, followed by a simple community lunch for all.

We recognize that this change will be delightful for some of you, no big deal for others, and for a few, it  may be inconvenient and uncomfortable. We are trying hard to balance the needs of the community with the preferences of individuals, and we hope this experiment will allow us to better serve our mission by providing ready access to a variety of programs for families and adults who are hungry for other kinds of involvement. We will be circulating a survey later this month to allow you to chime in on what would feed your growth – a UU history class? A social justice training or action? Creative expression of your spirituality through music or visual arts? A covenant group? A UU parenting group? We had LOTS of ideas, and we need to hear from you to narrow down the list to those things that will draw a high level of participation.

We invite you to enter into this experiment with an open heart, a curious mind, and a commitment to moving together in service to our mission. If you have ideas or questions, we are listening!

One response to “Big changes coming this fall, for worship and for faith development for both children and adults

  1. I have commented privately to Michael. This change is going to adversely affect a number of people who already have difficulty arriving by 10:30 for service. For us, given my spouse’s physical challenges, the change means that we will no longer be able to attend Sunday services. We believe this change should have been the subject of a special church meeting.

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