The Way Forward Retreat Minutes

The Way Forward UNMC Retreat Minutes 7/23/16

-Perry King
-Donna Simonton
-Wallace Liferidge
-John Norton
-Scott Wells
-Mark McNabb
-Dave Gatton
-Monique Baha

Meeting opened with reviewing the points from the Visioning Planning Meeting, which occurred in April 2016.
The working points from that meeting rehashed were:

• Linking passion to fundraising
• Laud for the success of the co-ministry program
• Need for better follow-up and data collection (Monique will be looking to compile and distribute a photo directory in the coming year)
• Desire to conduct a new members orientation (which has been accomplished)
• Prospect of themed Sunday services during the Summer
• Prospect of recording the sermons and getting them up on the church’s website
• Strengthening our (UUA) affiliation
• Review of the pastoral plan and responsibilities
• Working on our interior and exterior image
• Plans for an introductory documentary (an idea previously introduced by Crystal and further examined by Wallace)
• Establishing rotating volunteer teams for worship service support, hospitality, and building &grounds
Exploring the idea of a bible study program (asserted by John)

The meeting began to explore the logistics and benefits of a bible study like program.
The parties present agreed that programs like the book club, that Crystal spearheaded, have proven effective in bringing UNMC to the attention of local residents that might not otherwise be introduced. It was noted, however, that many of the participants for events at UNMC throughout the week do not attend on Sundays. Discussion then moved toward an idea of programs that would get people to join in on Sunday morning service. We began to expand on the idea of a bible study program before service around 10am that would create a natural flow right into the 11 am service.
The parlor was suggested as a location for the prospective program that would be most welcoming and promote movement into the sanctuary afterward. The parlor is currently occupied on Sunday mornings due to choir rehearsal, but it was pointed out that the choir’s rehearsal begins before 10am moves into the sanctuary. The choir might be asked to clear the parlor by 10am, so that a bible study program could make use of the parlor once per month, if not more often.

The discussion moved into new topics specific to the retreat, which included:
• Re-determining/ redistributing pastoral responsibilities
• Working with other churches in our cluster
• Resources for members
• Administrative Responsibilities
• Fall calendar items

Re-determining/ redistributing pastoral responsibilities
Dave transitioned the discussion of a prospective bible study program into discussing an element he would like to introduce to the worship service. Pastor Dave is looking to incorporate more interaction during the service; he particularly enjoyed the informal Q&A that occurred after the interfaith service held at UNMC last summer. Dave would like to invite a member or friend of the congregation to share a 3 minute “testimony” or “my spiritual story” during service.
Working with other churches in our cluster
Donna asserted that UNMC should work with All Souls and Ethical Culture (Church) more often, particularly regarding mailing lists, events, and outreach programs. She provided the example of the abandoned tradition of the rotating Thanksgiving service within the Capitol Cluster as a missed opportunity for interaction. It was agreed that being more actively involved with other congregations in the Capitol Cluster may be beneficial to UNMC.
Interaction with the Capitol Cluster is important for growth because each congregation has its own key features, so if one kind of congregation doesn’t work out, visitors can be introduced to one that may be better fit. Donna provided, as one such example, that UNMC is very tradition-centric for a Universalist Unitarian congregation so services that we promote, like our Christmas Eve service, may not be offered by other churches in the cluster. Better interaction within the Capitol Cluster could afford members of other cluster congregations the opportunity to celebrate occasions that they find important in a familiar and comfortable setting, even if their church does not provide that particular service.

Resources for members
Mark extended the discussion into the resources that UNMC can and should provide visitors, guests, and especially new members. As a member congregation of the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association), UNMC has access to a great deal of resource material on the history and overall background of Universalism as a religion. The UUA’s quarterly magazine was established in 1846. He suggested that UNMC provide new members with a copy of The Larger Faith. He will be conducting follow-up on price and distributors.

Administrative Responsibilities

It was agreed that the board should explore how many hours of work per week UNMC needs in its next meeting.

Fall calendar items
• 17th Street Festival- Saturday August 27th- 12pm to 7pm; Perry will be representing UNMC
• Rally Sunday
• Choir and pulpit exchange with Paint Branch Universalist Unitarian Universalist Church (arranged through Music Director, Darryl Winston)
• Alessandra Marc Fundraiser event Date: TBD
• Interfaith service inviting Imam Mehmet Ayaz to return (Monique to contact, once possible dates are established)
Action items:
• Arranging a weekly conference call between communications people to ensure that church events are properly advertised
• Ensure that greeters inform families with children of the classroom (children’s space) and parking at the Mason’s library
• For now, Donna will be handling special administrative tasks for the church office
• Make a priority of making use of the 3rd floor
• Re-energize the diaconate
• Scott will work to cultivate ministerial and liturgical talent within our congregation and develop lay preaching
• Further discuss the future ministry’s shape in coming board meetings
• Better document board minutes
• Renovation of the masonry in the sanctuary
• Get the pledge drive up and running prior to Rally Sunday
• Update the church directory