Findings from the UUCPA Mission Task Force

Findings of the UUCPA Mission Task Force

January 2023

UUCPA’s Mission Task Force, convened in August 2022, was charged by the Board of Trustees with crafting a new Mission Statement for UUCPA that’s suitable for reciting at Sunday Services and for use in church publicity. We began our work by gathering as much insight as possible from the congregation in response to this question: Why does UUCPA exist in the world?

During the autumn of 2022, 116 people completed our congregational survey about the values and goals that resonate most for us, and we convened conversations with 79 members of the UUCPA community, including 14 children and youth.

Here’s what you, collectively, told us about why UUCPA exists in the world. Each major theme (in bold) is followed by (1.) a summary of what we heard during our conversations with the congregation and (2.) a reflection (in italics) on how the finding aligns with the survey results.

  • Our connection is fundamental to all that we do.

There were repeated comments about feeling very connected to other UUCPA people and highly valuing this.

Word and phrase choices on the survey told a similar story—fully 75% of the respondents chose the word “connection,” the highest percentage for any item.

  • Sunday Services and other ritual contexts provide a refuge for inspiration and renewal.

Although some of us resist the use of the word worship, most of us value the opportunity to pause our ordinary lives on Sunday morning and be inspired by the music, ritual, and spoken reflections of UUCPA’s Sunday services. Many also appreciate (and would like more) other shared opportunities and pathways for spiritual growth.

Analyses showed that a cluster of phrases including “Free and loving search for spiritual meaning,” “Reverence,” and “Nurturing our true selves” resonated with many respondents.

  • Our shared rituals and activities provide openings for self-examination and evolution.

Many of the comments in this category were expressing alternatives to the currently-used word transformation. People value the variety of contexts at UUCPA wherein they are supported and encouraged to deepen their own understanding about the meaning of life and the implications this has for how they want to live during various stages of their life cycle—we become more fully ourselves, together.

Almost half of the respondents (45%) included the phrase “Free and loving search for spiritual meaning” among those that resonated with them when thinking about UUCPA’s mission. In one analysis, this was part of a cluster of words and phrases along with “Reverence,” “Nurturing our true selves,” “Listen,” and “Love.”

  • We value our differences and the opportunity to learn from one another. 

Being part of UUCPA gives us the opportunity to know and learn from people who are different from us in various ways, including religious beliefs, spiritual practice, ethnicity, cultural background, generation, gender identity, sexual orientation, and skill sets. What we give to each other is not only intellectual (e.g., new ideas, critical thinking) but also the capacity to perceive and feel more deeply and to bring our lives into greater alignment with our values.

Many respondents for whom the word “Diversity” resonated were also drawn to words and phrases including “Cherishing our differences,” “Working together,” and “Compassion for all.” 

  • We live our values through collective action to make the world better.

UUCPA folks differ in beliefs but are generally aligned in terms of values. We appreciate being able to work together to put those values into action, for those within and beyond our own congregation and community.
Over half the respondents included the word “Justice” as one with resonance for them, and it was strongly associated with words and phrases including “Campaigning for justice” and “Diversity” as well as “Earth” and “The wellbeing of the earth.”

  • We support each other through the celebrations, transitions, and vulnerabilities of life.

People reported being grateful for the support they had received from others at UUCPA during difficult times in their lives. They said they felt free to share their vulnerabilities because they could expect support rather than rejection.
About a third of respondents selected the phrase, “Honoring each person’s life journey,” and it was strongly associated with the word “Love” and the phrase “Compassion for all.”

  • Religious education empowers children and youth to participate in all of the above.

A significant number of people said that they had come to UUCPA specifically because of the strong CYRE program. This included some who had left other UU congregations for this reason and some whose children are now grown but who reported originally coming to UUCPA for this reason.

Over a third of the survey respondents selected one or more of the words and phrases “Teach,” “Building bridges across generations,” and “Stewardship for the future.”

Read more about the work of UUCPA’s Mission Task Force here: uucpa.org/whats-happening/mission-task-force/