"Boston" is Everywhere
Often I hear comments when I am on the road about “Boston” or the “UUA” as being very far and removed from the everyday life of our congregations. We hang on to this image of elitism from our past, where rich white men rule the UUA at our headquarters in Boston. One church member even asked me to “ask the rich people in Boston to send some money our way because our church is really struggling.”
Arguably, we do have this image that still taints us, but I want people to understand that “Boston isn’t Boston” anymore. We do still have the headquarters there, but it is moving to the Innovation District, which invites a whole new way for how we practice our faith. One main difference is that many UUA employees do not live in Boston, and only occasionally do they show up for meetings in the headquarters building. Yes, the administrative side lives there, but the programmatic core is everywhere- like I am- living in Rochester, NY, but on the road much of the time. Our Congregational Life staff does not live there, unless it’s their region. Even President Morales does not live there, or Harlan Limpert our Chief Operating Officer, or Terasa Cooley, the Program and Strategy Officer, not even Scott Tayler, Director of Congregational life. Technology has opened a vast opportunity for us to be in all corners of the United States, enabling us to stay in touch in ways that were not possible before.
We know that churches are struggling. Only innovation will aid our struggles. We have to do church differently, moving beyond the safety of our walls. We are doing that in Boston, and we need to do it in our churches as well.
Rev. Chris Neilson
Congregational Life Consultant for St. Lawrence District
Stewardship Consultant for CERG