Todd’s Thoughts March 2018

Our annual generosity campaign will kick off this month on the 18th and run through April, during which our goal is to raise $408,000 in pledges. It’s a bit higher than last year, but not an unreasonable amount given the level of generosity we’ve come to appreciate. The theme of this year’s campaign is, “Making Room,” which expresses our congregational mission on many levels. For instance, the number one priority expressed by our members, according to our recent strategic planning survey, is “welcoming visitors and new members.” One important way to make this happen is doing our best to make sure our facilities remain welcoming for everyone joining us, meaning we have adequate restrooms, drinking fountains, HVAC, accessibility, seating, and so on. These are important considerations in “Making Room,” because, as Alice Mann writes in, The In-Between Church, “It is not uncommon for parishioners to want to add a hundred new members to the parish but be unwilling to change one thing about their parish to accommodate the increase.” Just finding a way to add more seats can be among the most welcoming moves a church can make. As ministers, we learn the “80% rule,” which essentially means that even when twenty percent of our seats are empty during the main service, the church is perceived as full. “It sure was packed today!” I often hear. In his book, Moving From Church Folly Lane, Rev. Robert Latham says, “Church consultants believe that when a sanctuary is 80% full the message is that there is no more room available for new people. This message is the same as a “no vacancy sign.” Of course, it’s also important to make room on our teams for new volunteers, and in our minds for new ways of doing things, and, of course, in our hearts for new people into our circles of friendship and inclusion. And, it’s vital that we make room in our lives for our own growth and evolution. As Master Morihei Ueshiba says, “Life is growth, and if we stop growing we’re as good as dead.” I’m looking forward to our year ahead as we remain vital and grow together by making room. — Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof, UUCS Minister

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