Community and Connection

The last three weeks have felt like a sprint for me. Getting ready for an art show, a fundraiser, a presentation - whew! I have a bit of time now to catch my breath, and to catch up with you all at First Unitarian. This church is my primary community, and I miss it when I don’t have time to be in community with you.

Which has gotten me thinking about community, and it happens that a large chunk of the proposed Long Range Plan (LRP) is about community. So as promised, here’s another look at what’s in the Long Range Plan.

But first, a word from our sponsor: Don’t miss the upcoming Congregational Meeting, December 7 (yes, Pearl Harbor Day) at 11am. There will be one service at 9:30; the Congregational Meeting will take the place of the second service. We will be voting on whether or not to approve the Long Range Plan. All those who have been members at least 60 days (joined October 8 or before), please attend and vote!

So what’s in the Long Range Plan about community? A lot! There are 15 meaty recommendations in the Community & Connection section. I’ll highlight a few and outline the rest.

We Unitarian Universalists do tend to work a lot. We work on social justice issues, we work to help less advantaged people, we work to keep our church running smoothly. The first recommendation of the LRP is to find ways to PLAY together. To nurture each other personally and spiritually. The soccer games in the community room that I’ve heard about are one--very literal!--way; there are many others (that involve less sweat!). Another recommendation is for more cross-generational activities. You may have noticed that our children and youth are a bit better at playing than our adults. We can probably learn a lot from them!

A number of recommendations revolve around our committees. How can we integrate the work across committees so that we break down silos? How might we rethink the committee structure as a whole to better get work done, have fun, and include more people? One recommendation focuses on examining our leadership rotation and finding opportunities for healthy succession planning. Evaluating and publicizing our decision-making processes is also recommended.

Reinvigorating our Connections Ministry is a main recommendation, and some of this work is already happening under the capable leadership of our Ministerial Resident Beth Chronister. There is also a recommendation to take a look at coffee hour. Whether you like it or hate it, there may be ways we make it more comfortable, inviting and inclusive. In addition, are there ways we can work to surmount any barriers that underrepresented people might feel to finding a home at First Unitarian? This may mean making changes to coffee hour, but there are probably many other things we can take a look at.

Enriching our website and making better use of social media are recommended, as is finding ways to reinforce connections with members who are not online. Re-imagining Core Circles, seeking collaboration with outside organizations with shared concerns, and holding regular workshops and retreats to deepen connections rounds out the list of recommendations.

There’s a lot in the LRP! I encourage you to take a look at it, especially Appendix B, which outlines all the recommendations in the Plan. Be an informed voter, and come to the Congregational Meeting on December 7 to make your voice heard.

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Comments

Thanks, Kathy, for the call-out on the long range plan.  We just finished finalizing it with comments on the draft that have come in over the past month.  Sent the FINAL version of the plan, answers to questions, and some rationale for our decisions in to staff to be posted on the website today.  It has been fun to watch the plan morph and consensus emerge through the comment process.  See everyone on December 7!