We are a church of people who learn and who grow in our faith. Sometimes that happens within our building‘s four walls, but more often it happens outside of them: during a prayer group in Pastor Cheryl‘s backyard, in community discussions about racism and about how to care for the Puerto Rican evacuees in Dedham, in Bible study at the coffee shop. Each of those things—and many more!—help us to grow closer to God and to our neighbors.
Last month, a group of us from Allin Church went to beautiful Wilbraham, MA, to learn and grow in our faith with other people from the United Church of Christ (our denomination). Twice a year, an event called ―Super Saturday‖ draws hundreds of people for a day of worship and workshops that are led by lay people, ministers, and leaders in our denomination.
Judy Raymond, Joanne Dickey, Douglas Vooys, Paul Romary, Doug Crandall, Kevin Mawe, and I all went. I asked some of them to write up notes about the workshops they went to so that they can share some of their wisdom with the church. We‘ll see what they learned enriching our church as they serve on committees, do work in the community, and plan and lead worship here at church.
From Joanne Dickey…
“The first workshop I attended was „Church Revitalization by Returning to the Basics of our Faith.‟ The presented explain that we‟re designed to live in community. The church should love people, serve the community and take part in every community event. Reaching out to the community, investing in people, mentoring, talking with people is a way to grow the church. He called this growing disciples.
“The second class I attended was called “Leading with Core Values”. This class focuses on the “why” – the theory is people don‟t care what you do; they care about why you do it. The suggestion is that the church would need to spend some time thinking about what their cores values are… This is a difficult assignment. Do you value “Justice” more than “Community”? This is a pretty good exercise and it might be good for our church to consider doing it.” Talk to Joanne to learn about community engagement and how we can identify our church‘s core values, as we all seek to grow!
From Doug Crandall…
“I attended a workshop called „How to Engage Your Congregation in the Moral Challenge of Climate Change.‟ Why is this important? Because this world is God‟s creation and in the seven generations of human existence we have managed to wreck it. One of the primary ways we can address climate change is to start talking about it. 75% of the population believes in climate change but most do not want to talk about it. There are many ways churches can be engaged in discussions about climate change.” Talk to Doug to learn more about these approaches he learned!
From Judy Raymond and Doug Crandall…
―Together, we participated in a discussion on‟ Alternative Approaches and Sources for Funding.‟ The workshop discussed how to inspire generosity both from within your church and from the outside. All churches need a clear vision and mission statement to answer the question: Why should I support your church? One thing we can do to inspire more giving is to prepare a narrative that tells a story of who we are, what we value, and how we intend to make a difference.” Talk to Judy to learn more about how to be more creative about our stewardship!
Folks also learned about being a church treasurer, how to use social media to market our church, what it looks like for us to become even more open and affirming, and more! Consider joining us when we go on October 20th in Framingham!
With you in the Love,