“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the [people] to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

After a very tasty and generous potluck meal, twenty UUCWers gathered in a circle this past Sunday, March 24, 2024, to bring their heads and hearts together. They had come at the invitation of the Transition Team for the last community conversation of the interim ministry. They had come to talk about future possibilities for shared ministry and participation keeping ‘those who are not here yet’ in mind.

We know that the role of religious community is shifting everywhere; the ways in which volunteers and newcomers connect and engage have changed. Fewer and fewer folks enter ‘church’ with previous experience of ‘church’, and many are not interested in investing time in traditional models of volunteerism.

So, what does that mean for UUCW? How can we interrupt or shift ‘business as usual’ to adapt to the changing times?

The conversation was lively and optimistic. It began with an exploration of what makes engagement so scary which generated many ideas. UUCW can set up systems where leadership is shared, where expectations and time commitments are more manageable, and where it’s encouraged to take turns and take breaks. Perfectionism and self-sufficiency should be banned!

While there were a lot of ideas about ‘what’ to do (like activity fairs, changing the language we use, collaboration between teams and making opportunities visible), often the ‘solutions’ circled back to building relationships… getting to know one another, having fun together, being invitational and curious, always offering positive reinforcement and gratitude…basically, showing up for one another. After all, that’s what beloved community is all about.

The long and the short? Shared ministry is SHARED. Between and among us. And that includes YOU!

Rev. Jullan