Congregational Conversation, Part 1
On January 26, the Board held the first of its monthly Congregational Conversations after Sunday services. The Worship Arts Committee partnered with the Board for this conversation. Eighteen people attended and we talked for more than an hour! Because we covered so much ground, the summary of our conversation will be in two parts.
Treasurer Sandra Lott and I were happy to share the news about the church’s improved financial situation. Our $6,000 budget deficit has been erased because of a wildly successful auction that brought in just over of $11,000.* Additional funds from the book sale, choir concert and shopping card sales have all provided additional boosts. Those boosts will be needed– because of the unusually heavy amount of snow this year, we have already exceeded our budgeted allowance for snow removal. We are close, but not quite at where we should be on pledge payments, and members are urged to bring their pledge payments up to date.
Also, Sandra reported that the Second Sunday collections from July 2013 through January 2014 have enabled us to distribute over $4700 to our community partners. That, along with the support for the Chalice Lighter program, were cited as examples of increased involvement and generosity by our congregation. It was suggested that perhaps a portion of the profits from our spring rummage sale could be donated to a community agency.
The Worship Arts Committee posed two questions about Sunday worship:
1. “What is working for you?” The careful planning and interweaving of the theme into all parts of the service was praised. Many said the sermons were most effective and memorable when Sean or Ja used personal stories to make a point. People felt having an intern to provide another voice and viewpoint was also a plus. The music was singled out as a treasured element in our services.
2. “What would you like to see more of?” In regards to the music, one member said if a song has an interesting back story, it would be great to include it as an introduction. Some would like to hear more stories about individual Unitarian Universalists and their work or legacy. More “joyfulness” was requested—people should feel free to applaud if the spirit moves them.
Communication was a big theme. More opportunities to connect with others through a “greet your neighbor” time was suggested. It was stated a “more public awareness” of joys and sorrows should be part of worship, even if it was only pointing out updates in the bulletin inserts. It was suggested we periodically recognize members/friends who do a lot of work “behind the scenes.” The addition of a screen in the sanctuary which would scroll announcements before and after the service was also discussed.
Some after-worship communicating was also suggested, including:
- Seeking out someone you don’t know during coffee hour
- Holding weekly discussions about the sermon topic
- Quarterly potluck lunches to give folks a chance to spend more time getting to know each other
Stay tuned for Part 2!
*At the Conversation, we reported $14,000 in income, but we’ve since corrected the figure to account for some confusion about how credit card payments were processed. The correct figure is just over $11,000.