Town Hall meetings: One service or two? – Thurs Oct 13 @ 4pm

Some years before I arrived at UUCPA, the congregation had a pleasant problem to deal with. The standing capacity of the Main Hall is 299; seated, it comfortably fits about 200, and it begins to be difficult to find a cluster of seats together before that capacity is reached. That made for some pretty full Sundays, and you know what Yogi Berra said about a popular restaurant: “No one goes there anymore–it’s too crowded.” So, wisely avoiding that fate by making room for expansion, the congregation went to two services, with one session of children’s religious education.

We have hovered around that number for a long time, with the Main Hall feeling quite empty at 9:30 (especially when the children are in Sunday School), and comfortably half-filled at 11, but with just enough people in attendance that putting us all together would be a squeeze on the busiest Sundays of the year. All-church meetings and events have always been a wrinkle–they are hard for attendees of the first service to get to–but we’ve tolerated it because we really needed those two slots.

However, although energy and attendance have been quite good during the pandemic, it has changed things. With a steady 15-20 attendees always on Zoom, the number of in-person attendees of both services could all be seated in the Main Hall at one time. And we are really feeling the value of gathering all together in one place, at one time.

So the time has come to talk it over.

Interestingly, the recent articulation of this idea arose from the COVID Safety Task Force. I have run it by the staff team that meets weekly (Cat, Jeff, and John: the ministers, administrator, and membership engagement coordinator), the music staff (Bruce and Veronika), the Board. and the Committee on Ministry so that they can consider the upsides and downsides. It’s time to bring the process to the congregation.

Please join me and other leaders for an open forum on these and any other questions that you have:

What would we gain by going to one service?

What disadvantages would it bring? Could we mitigate them?

If we have just one service, what time do we want it to be?

One meeting will take place on Zoom only, on Wednesday, October 5, 6 pm. You need a password, or password-embedded Zoom, link, to attend; it will be sent out via the Weekly Update, so please subscribe to the Update now if you do not already. The other meeting will take place in person, on Thursday, October 13, 4 pm.

If you’d like to attend, but can’t make either of these meetings, please let me know.