Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


We’re on a mission from…

Author Sarah Ahrens, Written Jan 17, 2013

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“We’re on a mission from ______” was the title of a recent webinar I participated in.  The presenter, Mark Bernstein, Growth Consultant for the Central East Regional Group was paying homage to the movie “The Blues Brothers” when Elwood declares, “The cops can’t catch us- we’re on a mission from God…” in a deadpanned Chicago-accent.  Mark opted for the fill-in-the-blank in deference for the many terms Unitarian Universalists may use in lieu of “god”.

I mentioned I wanted to share some of what I learned in this and many other webinars and  as many of the other webinars kept referencing a congregation’s mission, mission statement, “you gotta look back at mission” when considering…multi-generational worship, youth ministry, managing ministry opportunities etc. I figured I’d start with the mission webinar and roll out the others from there.

If you haven’t done a webinar before they are lots of fun and make connecting with other UUs and learning new things that much easier than heading off to a workshop somewhere for a whole Saturday (though I and a couple other UUCSHers will be doing just that this Saturday January 19 as we head to the Community Unitarian Church of White Plains for the “How to grow whether you want to or not” workshop- in person workshops are great too!).  Anyway, in a webinar you click on the link for the website and call in on the conference call number in order to talk with other participants and view the powerpoint presentation the presenter uses.

Mark Bernstein was presenting concepts for congregations to consider when writing or re-writing mission statements.  Some of the highlights and questions for reflection from the “We’re on a mission from ____” webinar  were as follows.

  • A mission statement articulates a common purpose for the congregation, why the congregation exists, and a mission statement helps the congregation achieve clarity on what to do.
  • Mission statements are a yearning, a cry, are unequivocal, they are a product of the soul-the congregation’s commitment is the source of the mission- the statement is a byproduct of that commitment.
  • A mission statement should express why MUST an organization exist- not simply why it DOES exist.

As some of you may know, I am all about religious mission, and am always coming back to religious mission, asking myself, “How is religious education for children and youth helping to fulfill the mission, how is adult faith development helping to fulfill the mission?”  And on and on…

In case you haven’t scrutinized the back of the order of service recently, the UUCSH mission statement can be found there and here it is…

Our Mission Statement
We aspire to be a welcoming, inclusive religious community which…

  • Challenges its members to life-long spiritual growth and religious education drawing from diverse sources;
  • Seeks to build a spiritual community that looks to our Unitarian Universalist values to inspire our personal lives and guide our social action and outreach efforts to make a difference in our world;
  • Supports each other in our individual search for truth and meaning.

I invite you to ponder the UUCSH mission statement and consider how you’re progressing in challenging yourself, seeking to build a spiritual community, and supporting each other in our individual searches for truth and meaning- and how to invite others to do the same!