Our service on December 16 originated with the question, Since people with a typical Unitarian Universalist profile – those who respond to polls about religious affiliation with “spiritual but not religious” or “none of the above” – are increasing in number, why doesn’t our church grow? There are many answers to why churches do or don’t grow, some of which are beyond our control. But one thing that is in our control is how we welcome those who come to UUCPA to check us out, and how we help inquirers and newcomers to become active participants in the life of the congregation. It’s exciting to see some changes underway:
When the hiring of a one-year, 15-hour-a-week Membership Engagement Coordinator, BJ Wishinsky, was announced in the service, you applauded. Until that moment I honestly was not sure how people felt about actively expanding our numbers. This felt like a great big vote of YES.
Christmas Eve attendance was the highest in at least 15 years – and everyone was happy about the last-minute need for more chairs.
The Board has more energy for membership growth than I’ve ever seen. Their spring retreat will be focused on numerical growth, as was their fall retreat, and three Board members are closely involved with the Membership & Growth Committee, including the incoming president.
Attendance at the last two sessions of Discovering UUCPA was higher than it’s been in years – we’ve outgrown my office! (Future sessions will be held in Room 10.)
At least 14 people will be affirmed as new members at the January 22 Board meeting.
So, all good signs! Are they a blip or a trend? We know the world needs our voice to be ever-stronger, and that the more of us there are, the more we can transform the world, as well as ourselves and each other. More people mean new challenges, but if we as members and leaders take a can-do attitude toward meeting them, we’ll do fine.
By the way, if you haven’t met BJ yet, her focus on Sundays is of course on newcomers and others who seek her out at the Welcome Table to learn more about getting involved at UUCPA, but even if you’re an old hand, come say a quick hello. And, important to know: BJ’s contract is for one year, funded by our capital budget (i.e., an investment). To extend it, we’ll have to fund the position from our operating budget, so if you’re as excited about our expansion of member welcome and engagement, please remember that when considering your stewardship pledge for the fiscal year that begins May 1. —Blessings, Amy