Picnics, Workshops, Meetings, Wednesdays, Auction–YIKES!

I wrote a post on Tuesday, but things did not go so well. The post was messed up and so were the outgoing email notifications. It was about this past week’s Wednesday thing which is now over.  So don’t worry about.  Here’s what you need to know now.

There is a WHOLE LOT of stuff going on at UUCA right now.  It’s hard for staff to keep up, let alone the “UUCAer-on-the-street.”  Here’s a quick summary.  Everything mentioned here has more information available online or in eNews articles (find past eNews’s on our website).  Please help your friends to be informed.

Picnic, September 17, 4-8pm – We reserved Weaver Park for an activity that’s now happening elsewhere.  But we have the park so we may as well have a picnic.  Just show up!

Workshops – There are 11(!) possible choices for you to join in on the conversation about UUCA’s mission and ends.  We have to FOCUS, people!  Sign up for a LOV Project workshop.  Results of this work will be presented at the Congregational Meeting on October 29 at 4pm.

Meetings – Learn more about providing sanctuary to a person threatened with imminent deportation on September 28 at 6:30 from outside presenters and come to the Congregational Meeting on October 29 at 4pm to vote!

Wednesdays – Ask your friends about the Wednesday Thing.  We had a fabulous night this week with more than 60 people joining in the various activities.  We start with a $5 meal every Wednesday!

Auction – “The Things You Do” is a party, an auction, AND a dance on November 11 at The Asheville Event Centre, 5-8 pm.  What we need right now are DONATIONS!!!  The more things we sell, the more funds we raise.

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The Wednesday Thing and REALM

Tomorrow night is the first Wednesday Thing but it’s just the first.  We’re doing it EVERY WEDNESDAY.  Get here at 5:30 to eat ($5 per person, $20 maximum per family), stay for the vespers service at 6:00, and then dabble in whatever activities are offered, beginning at 6:30.  There will always be something for everyone, often multigenerational, occasionally, um, unigenerational(?).  (You know, kids and adults apart.)  Leave when you need to.  Child care for little ones (6 and under) starts at 6:00.

Anyway, I need help from you leaders.  MANY of our congregants are not on REALM yet. REALM replaces MY INFO so unless you’re on REALM you will have no way to find your friends’ contact information  or your own giving information.  We have all the data from MY INFO, but it’s important that everyone signs on to REALM because frankly we just don’t have time to answer everyone’s calls and emails for contact or giving information.

PLEASE, please tell your friends (I’m not saying YOU are not on REALM–it’s just your friends) to sign in to the system.  Everyone who has not signed in yet received an email from me today, and will get one with a link tomorrow (from onrealm.org) that they can use to sign in.  ANYONE needing help can come to the REALM-Help Room during the Wednesday Things.

Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge; An Amazing Opportunity

By now I hope it’s registered in your brain that we have a literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get “free money!” as Rev. Lisa put it on Sunday morning.

UUCA is a pilot congregation for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s new Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge, which will award up to $5 million in challenge grants to congregations who receive planned gift commitments in 2017 or 2018.  Matching money will be given to planned gift commitments to UUCA and/or other major UU institutions, including the UUA, the UU Service Committee, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Starr King School for the Ministry or the UU Ministers Association.

Legacy gift intentions made between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 will qualify for a 10% match, up to $10,000.  And the very best part is that the matching money will be distributed to congregations in 2019 as unrestricted money!  Woo hoo – it doesn’t get any better than THAT, does it?  We get money TWICE!!!  The matching money will come to us in 2019 and we will get your planned gift–uh, upon your demise (how to put that more graciously?–hmmmm).

How Can You Learn More?  A special UUA informational event on the Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, April 8.  The session begins with lunch at 12:00 followed by a 1:00-3:00  presentation.  Rev. Laura Randall, UUA’s Legacy Challenge Director, will be here at UUCA for a regional workshop.  We’d like to have you join us for an opportunity to learn about the Wake Now Our Vision  Legacy Challenge and ideas on how to give to UUCA and reduce your taxes.  Many more details will be made available on April 8 so your attendance is encouraged.  And did you see that?  It’s a free lunch, too!  (Gotta love this program!)

To reserve your space, please let Laura Randall (617-948-6511, lrandall@uua.org) know you would like to attend by March 27.

If you can’t join us on April 8, then members of the Legacy Circle Committee plan to host information sessions after the 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. services, too.  We really, really want you to have all the information you need!

We hope you are as excited as we are about this opportunity and help us take full advantage of the $5 million challenge grant.  Feel free to contact members of the UUCA Legacy Circle Committee with questions, and register as soon as you can for the April 8th presentation.

UUCA Legacy Circle Committee:

Beverly Cutter, 296-1047, beverlycutter123@gmail.com
Jill Preyer, 505-2633, jillpreyer@gmail.com
Mara Sprain, 654-0551, mara_sprain@yahoo.com
Stan Nachman, 299-0425, stanzibar444114@charter.net
Mike Horak, 687-9514, mikeandlisahorak@gmail.com

Please Bring a Friend Who Needs Us Now

We have welcomed dozens of visitors in the last two weeks. People are looking for community and solidarity now, and are grateful for the chance to be together in a congregational setting. Our songs and worship, our prayerful moments and meditations, our rituals and our shared covenant are fortifying and sustaining to many–some who may not even know a church like this exists. Who in your life might be held and strengthened by our faith and fellowship now? Share your faith. Speak up about the ways this congregation and your involvement in it adds value to your life. Invite them to join us.

Remember that we were made for these times. This is what we as a community of faith are called to do and can do better than any other institution in the post-modern age.

If you attend regularly, you likely already know how that supports you in your daily life and work. But know too that you are a dependable blessing to others and you help create the familiar faces and fellowship this community offers.

Attend occasionally? How could adding another Sunday or two of church and all it provides sustain your whole family now? Consider joining us to find out. 

Considering coming back? There is no time like the present to make your presence felt. If you feel called to show up, we are ready to welcome you, every Sunday. We are still here; it’s what we do.

This piece was written by Joy Berry, our Lifespan Religious Education Director for last week’s Religious Education Weekly eNews.  I didn’t want you to miss it!

Naming Our Core Values

Experiences of “the Holy”

The Board of Trustees needs your help.  Those good folks need for you to attend any one-hour session of workshops they are holding from now through November, and they need you to bring along your UUCA friends.

We need as many of our members and friends as possible to participate in a process to name the values of this faith community.  Sure, we are Unitarian Universalists and our CHURCH has agreed that as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association the church affirms and promotes the principles and sources that we know so well.  But these principles are not exactly “values.” (You’ll learn more about that at the workshop.)

We want to distill the values we hold individually into a set of 4 or 5 that are common to most of the congregation.  Those values will then be used to re-write a mission statement that will be more of a call to action than our current one (but that’s for a later time).

For now, please pick one of the workshops and attend.  I’ve done it and it’s not only painless, but gosh darn, it was even interesting and fun.  And I know one more UUCAer better now than I did before I attended.

Choose ONE and attend! (NOTE: no registration needed except for childcare.)

Sunday, October 23, 11:15am-12:30pm: 23 Edwin Boardroom
Sunday, November 6, 9:15-10:15am: 23 Edwin Parlor. Childcare-RE for all ages
Thursday, November 10, 1:30-2:30pm: Sandburg Hall. Childcare-RSVP Kim by Oct 27
Sunday, November 13, 11:15am-12:30pm: Jefferson House (21 Edwin Place)
Sunday, November 13, 12:45-1:45pm: Sanctuary. Childcare-RSVP Kim by October 30
Tuesday, November 15, 6:30-7:30pm: RE Commons. Childcare-RSVP Kim by Nov 1

Getting Better at Planning and Measuring, One Step at a Time

OK, I have to talk about “policy governance” here for a bit, but KEEP READING! 

A brief refresher for our newest leaders:  the Board works to discern the will of the congregation and writes Ends Statements that give direction for our ministries and programming.  The Executive (Rev. Mark Ward) takes those Ends Statements, writes a few paragraphs about what he thinks they mean “in action” and then works with staff who work with volunteers to move the congregation toward the Ends Statements.  The Executive is then evaluated on the achievement of the Ends.

This year, the Board suggested that the Executive choose a small subset of the Ends to work on and then propose measurable goals for them.  That way, by next June, we ought to be able to see if we’ve met those goals.   It’s a very sensible way to organize an institution, but it’s not easy.

Here is the Executive’s 2016-17 WORK PLAN FOR ACHIEVING ENDS:

ENDS:

“We will embrace principles, values and practices which explore the sacred in the world and the mystery of existence.”

“We will gather together in worship which guides and sustains our individual and communal response to the sacred through multifaceted creative, artistic, and musical experiences.”

Our chief goal in this area is to more deeply integrate families in the worship & spiritual life of the congregation.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. 30% of registered families will be present in Sunday worship at least twice a month.
  2. The lead minister will report that at least 50 children or youth had roles in Sunday worship at some time during the regular worship year.
  3. The director of lifespan religious education will report that at least 10 UUCA families have developed family spiritual practices at home.
  4. At least 4 parents of children in religious education will have given statements in worship about why this congregation is important to them.
  5. We will hold 6 planned multigenerational activities during the year at which at least 8 children and 4 adults participate.

END:

“Congregants will feel welcome and connected with each other”

Our chief goal in this area is to improve retention of UUCA members.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. 75% of congregants interviewed at each stage of the Connection process – visitors entering new member classes, those contacted after their first year & those contacted after three years at UUCA, will report that they feel welcomed and connected to the congregation.
  2. 66% of new members will report being involved in some activity of the congregation within six months of joining.
  3. 50% of members contacted after their first year will report being currently involved in some activity of the congregation.
  4. 33% of members contacted after three years at UUCA will report being currently involved in some activity of the congregation.

END:

We will act meaningfully and visibly in community service, advocacy, and education.”

Our chief goal in this area is to broaden meaningful participation in the Social Justice ministry of the congregation.

What we will measure and plan (hope?) to report to the Board next summer:

  1. At least 150 congregants will participate in the Just Change workshop.
  2. At least 150 congregants will take part in programs arising from the Just Change workshop.
  3. At least 25% of congregants will have reported some activity during this church year to broaden their understanding or awareness of racism.
  4. At least 25% of congregants will participate in service, advocacy and education outside of the congregation.

Black Lives Matter Educational Materials for Your Group

UUCA’s ARGA Team (Anti-Racism Group Action) is leading the congregation in following through on our recent Congregational Resolution that clearly and firmly states that we are committed, all of us, to educating ourselves about and deepening our understanding of white privilege and oppressive systems.  To this end, they have developed a packet of materials that all of us can use to do this work, inch by inch, meeting by meeting, conversation by conversation.  This packet is posted on our website.  (Use the search term “Black Lives Matter” in our website’s search box if you don’t have the link handy.)

Are you in a covenant, theme, or other kind of connections group at UUCA? As you share of yourselves and your experiences, how can you bring themes and messages of the Black Lives Matter movement into your conversations? Are you on a committee focused on an Earth or Social Justice area other than anti-racism? We are learning more and more about the intersectionality of justice work. How can you bring the work you are doing into conversation with the Black Lives Matter movement?

We hope you will take seriously our congregation’s commitment.  Now is the time–for ourselves, our congregation, our city, and our nation.