Mixture of Depth and Breadth Helps Grow Rancho Palos Verdes Church
Pacific Unitarian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, has experienced a 30% increase in membership in the last two years thanks to a renewed sense of mission and direction, according to their minister, Rev. John Morehouse, who was called there in 2005.
With a vision to "Build a Radically Inclusive Community," the congregation has finalized a multi-year strategic plan that calls for renewed outreach to people of color and the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender (BGLT) community. Critical to the success of the church's growth has been the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Media Campaign, launched in the Fall of 2006. "The advertising brought them in the door and the quality of our worship and the depth of the our community kept them" reports Rev. Morehouse.
Two new ministries have been launched under the church's rubric of "Setting Free the Ministry in You": a renewed presence in the interfaith community and an Addiction and Recovery Ministry. One of the most vital improvements to programming was the addition of a paid Director of Pastoral Care to the staff. Rev. Teri Masters, a long time member and interfaith hospice chaplain, began working to develop a network of trained Lay Pastoral Associates under Rev. Morehouse's supervision. With over half the congregation over 65, the church recognized the need to care for its own even as it expanded out. The Director of Pastoral Care has now taken on the increased responsibility of revitalizing the small groups in the church to further deepen the connections of young and old.
"Our plan calls for another 30% increase in membership in the next four years," said Rev. Morehouse. Over the long term, the church is considering a satellite congregation in nearby San Pedro. "And with this combination of depth and breadth, we will get there."