My thanks to all who participated in person or by proxy at UUCSH’s annual meeting on May 17, 2015! While I was initially allotted some time to speak to lifespan faith development and sabbatical highlights, I declined the option for speaking time shortly before the annual meeting begun. So just to lift up a few points via this blog for those who didn’t get the written report- which you can also view in this google doc.
I think much of this congregational year for me has been viewed with the lens of sabbatical- the preparation, experience, and return- especially with regards to religious education for children and youth and adult faith development. As I am slowly disseminating questions, ideas, examples, and experiences from sabbatical to small and large groups, I’ll use this post to share one of the overarching themes of the sabbatical that is worth sharing with as much of the congregation as possible. The importance of mission- purpose, reason for being, why- kept arising in my sabbatical learnings and explorations.
That religious mission is important is not terribly shocking as it has been something near and dear to my heart since my earliest days in Unitarian Universalism. The sabbatical experiences were a reminder of the role of mission in a congregation, community, movement, being successful- or not. So while I will be sharing on what I learned of the Workshop Rotation Model for religious education, the process by which Morristown congregation arrived at its vision and goals for religious education, alternative models of worship, RE, and AFD on Sundays, missional communities/movements emerging in OK, Washington D.C., and multi-site congregational potential– there is no technique, tactic, strategy, or model that can escape the gravitational pull of its mission.
So this may come across as some additional cheerleading for the mission development task force and the work of mission renewal- which it is- I also want to add my encouragement and urging for as many members and friends to contribute and continue to contribute to this congregation’s mission renewal process.
While I won’t presume that every idea I learned about on sabbatical will be applied to UUCSH- I think some are more applicable and timely than others- I do know that whatever we do decide to explore as a congregation, a large factor in its success is the degree to which it is connected with our sense of AND commitment to, religious mission. And the lifespan faith development report linked at the beginning of this blog post includes some specific follow up action items that I and others are working on. Many of those specific responses and follow-ups will ultimately be connected to the congregation’s renewed sense of mission as well!