Keeping Announcements Under Control
We've all been there. The service is about to start and the moderator asks the dreaded question: Are there any announcements? Yes, it seems there are, and they go on forever.
How best to handle them? Many of you favor a practice similar to that at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Oak Ridge, TN (230 members). "All announcements are made by the moderator," said Bob Spore, treasurer.
The moderator greets the congregation, reads the announcements, and then rings a bell, turning the service over to the minister. "This approach works without interrupting the mood of the service," said Spore.
"Make only necessary announcements," said Rev. Harry Green, interim minister at Community Unitarian Church in White Plains, NY (234). "Necessary, to me, translates to 1) announcements connected to the congregation, and 2) announcements that aren't already in the order of service."
"Having the moderator make all the announcements ensures that everyone can hear and forces people to be concise," said Rev. Christine Robinson, minister of the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, NM (537). Each Sunday one person or group is permitted to make their own announcement if they have a special need. An insert in the order of service has a calendar and additional announcements.
At First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, WI (525), members make their own pitches. "They know more about their issues than the moderator," says Rev. Drew Kennedy, and it lets the congregation put a human face with the project. Each speaker has one minute. Those who go over earn an official Announcements Violation Citation. "It's a light-hearted way of pulling people over, but it works," says Kennedy.
Then there's the way it's done at the UU Church in Medford, MA (60). At the close of a service, members join hands in a "closing circle" in the aisles and the "town crier" reads announcements. "I try to put some fun in them," said Erik Antelman. "I make volunteer requests sound like the most fun one could imagine."