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Multi-Site Ministries Can Help Small Congregations Flourish
When three Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Houston area decided in 2013 that they were better off together than going it alone, they helped cement a trend toward multi-site ministry.
Other denominations have had multi-site ministries for years, but it’s more of a recent experience for UUs. Among the first was the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, which, for at least six years, has provided support to two branch congregations 30 and 70 miles away. First UU Church in San Diego has had a second location for several years. There are also multi-site UU ministries in Golden, Colo., and Knoxville, Tenn.
Multi-site ministry can be several things. It can be a way to grow a congregation without adding on to a building or increasing parking; it can extend Unitarian Universalism into new areas; and it can be a way to fully support small congregations that lack adequate resources on their own for worship, religious education, and social justice. Read more.
How to Respond to Complaints at Church
Over the years congregations have employed various methods to handle complaints from congregants. Many congregations direct complainants to a Ministerial Relations Committee, a Committee on Ministry, or, if a complaint involves a staff member, to speak to that person directly.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel O’Connell, senior minister at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, believes he has a better way. After serving congregations in Connecticut and Missouri for fourteen years, he was called by First UU four years ago. One of the first things he did upon arrival was to set up a “grievance procedure.” The timing was key, he noted. “It’s important to do this before you have complaints. Otherwise it looks like you’re being resistant to criticism.” Read more.
Online Webinars Cover Range of Congregtional Issues
Harold Wood is president of the 24-member Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Visalia, in California's Central Valley. The congregation is lay led and he and others in the fellowship are committed to gathering resources to create high-quality worship services and programming so that the fellowship can promote its values throughout the area.
Not that long ago if Wood wanted to gather information about worship or religious education or welcoming practices he had to travel to a district assembly or to General Assembly. But lately what he does when he wants information on a particular topic is log into a webinar from his computer at home. Read more.
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Last updated on Monday, February 10, 2014.
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