Archive for November, 2008

Another Breakthrough Congregation in Prairie Star!

November 25, 2008

I’m so pleased to say that another congregation in Prairie Star District is being recognized as a Breakthrough Congregation by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations! We’ve just received word that First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, Iowa, has been chosen as one of four Breakthrough Congregations for 2009.

First Unitarian Church, Des Moines IA

The church added a Saturday afternoon service a few years ago, to welcome new people.

 First Unitarian Church, Des Moines IA

The congregation recently completed a building renovation that added new office and meeting room space and renovated the religious education classrooms. A lift that goes to all levels, a new large foyer, and a downstairs area for greeting families with children were important additions for welcoming newcomers.

The church is actively involved in AMOS — A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy — a congregationally based, community organizing group — along with other Iowa congregations. The minister, Rev. Mark Stringer, is active in AMOS and has served as President of the local Interfaith Alliance.

The congregation has grown from 251 adult members to 389 in the last eight years, as part of a concerted effort to serve the needs of more people and their community. Their budget has grown accordingly, and people have pledged generously.

Congratulations to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, who joins our District’s other Breakthrough Congregations — All Souls UU Church in Kansas City, MO [2007] and White Bear UU Church in Mahtomedi, MN [2005].

Making Yourself Known

November 10, 2008

How does a congregation attract attention and become known in the community? There are lots of ways, and I have written about some previously.

Here’s another idea, from Blue Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship¬†of Rice Lake, Wisconsin [51 adult members]. The membership committee is sponsoring a monthly activity this year. In October, two members of the congregation, who are attorneys, led a workshop that focused on four legal documents: the Power of Attorney for Health Care, Authorization for Final Disposition, Basic Power of Attorney for Finances and Property, and Living Will. The committee announced the workshop in area newspapers and invited the public to attend. Thirty seven people participated, more than half of whom were from the community. By offering this workshop as a public service, the congregation has made itself known to people who otherwise might not have entered its doors. Perhaps some of them will be back, or perhaps they’ll tell their friends about this liberal congregation.

Good job, folks!