No Scarcity of Good Ideas

When I have a few spare moments, I read newsletters from our congregations in Prairie Star District. We have fifty nine congregations that are affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and we have several more that are smaller, newer,  and working toward affiliation. Almost all put out a newsletter which gets mailed [or emailed] to their members and friends.

As I read, I’m always amazed by the great opportunities being provided to people in our congregations. Here are some examples from the latest bunch:

  • In Duluth, MN, members can take part in two study groups — one is reading Class Matters: Cross-class Alliance Building for Middle Class Activists and the other is studying a Feminist Psychology of Men, using a book by Christopher Kilmartin. In addition, there’s a monthly book club reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for April. It’s amazing to me that anyone in Duluth even has the time to read, since they’re just moving into their new “green” church building, planting an Interiorscape garden, finishing a kitchen, and more. But they’re not ignoring the needs for interesting programming, even in the midst of the move.
  • In Des Moines, nine “Provocative Propositions” were developed in a visioning weekend, and the nine teams are working up action steps to move in new directions for Communication, Community Building, Growth, Lifespan Religious Education, Social Justice, Financial, Arts and Music, Leadership Development, and Building and Grounds. In the meantime, there are classes in Buddhist meditation, two children’s choirs [on Sundays and on Wednesdays], a movie night, a parenting group, and much, much more.
  • The Bloomington, MN, congregation is offering a free showing of “For the Bible Tells Me So,” a video about how people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child or family member. [I’ve seen this video mentioned in other newsletters, as well.] And members can sign up to be part of a Habitat for Humanity Work Camp this summer.
  • Shawnee Mission UU Church in Overland Park, KS, is sponsoring a Moms Against the War event on Mother’s Day, May 11. See more about this here:  They intend to “reclaim Mother’s Day as it was intended by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe — as a day to promote peace and show the impact of war.” In April, there’s a Saturday workshop on developing a strong and robust lay ministry program, with guest speaker Rev. Ken Sawyer.
  • At Peoples Church in Cedar Rapids, they are providing a place to recycle old batteries and CFL light bulbs because of the mercury and toxins, and selling tote bags to use instead of the “plastic or paper?” ones at the grocery store. They’re also sponsoring a Poetry Night and a Movie Night and several social events this month.

This is just a small sample. If you are looking for new programming ideas for your congregation, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read other churches’ newsletters to get some. If you go to our Web site and click on Find a Congregation, you can go to a variety of congregations’ Web sites and read their newsletters there. There’s no scarcity – that’s for sure!


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