They Call Themselves Multi-Site Congregations

We’ve been promoting a new idea in our district, and I want you to know about it. It’s an idea that has been around for awhile in evangelical congregations and is starting to catch on among Unitarian Universalists. They call themselves multi-site congregations.

We don’t have any multi-site congregations in Prairie Star District, but we are offering a workshop on November 7 to introduce the idea. We’ll be featuring Rev. Christine Robinson, Senior Minister at First Unitarian — “a UU congregation meeting in Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Edgewood, and Socorro.” That phrase is the heart of the matter — one congregation, with services in multiple locations, sometimes many miles apart. The groups in Edgewood [20 miles from Albuquerque] and Socorro [80 miles from Albuquerque] have been meeting for a couple of years, using videos of the ministers’ sermons, and the Carlsbad group [275 miles from Albuquerque] is new. The church’s web site at http://www.uuabq.org has more information. Click on the Branch Ministry Project link.

First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Diego has started a second site in Chula Vista, to reach out to people living in the south bay area. Hear their minister discuss the reasons for doing this on a video you can see here: http://vimeo.com/5267723 And the ministers and staff at Fox Falley UU Fellowship in Appleton, Wisconsin, are currently meeting with members who live in Oshkosh, thirty miles away, to discuss how they might start a branch in Oshkosh.

Prairie Star District, too, has a large geography, with people living in many places with no access to a UU congregation. We, too, would like to serve those people. This is one way we might be able to do it. The workshop is Saturday, November 7, in two locations — the Twin Cities and Kansas City. Find out more here: http://www.psduua.org/workshops/multisitecongregations

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9 Responses to “They Call Themselves Multi-Site Congregations”

  1. David Throop Says:

    Any chance you could tape Rev Robinson’s address on multisite congregations? I don’t think I could get up there from Houston, but I’d like to hear more.

    • nheege Says:

      Yes, David. We are planning to record this workshop. Not sure what form it will take yet, but our District Web Coordinator is working on it.

  2. Mickbic Says:

    I had a dream in the middle of the night (five years ago) that I had co-founded a new UU congregation about 30 miles from Chattanooga. It may not happen that way but I feel there is definitely a need for more congregations extending their reach into nearby town, cities, villages, hamlets, etc. Perhaps using the small group model would be one way to accomplish this. A lay led effort perhaps would be more successful if there is no one to serve as full or part time (or compensated) minister.

  3. nheege Says:

    One of our District congregations has talked about using small group ministry to serve the needs of some people who drive more than 40 miles on Sundays. Yes, I think this would work. Technology supports these new ideas. For example, we live streamed part of our District Annual Conference last year. It was an experiment that worked well, even though I was reluctant to advertise it ahead of time because I wanted to be positive it would work. Well, it did, and at virtually no cost. This has implications for all kinds of programming we could do for people who can’t be present physically on Sundays, or at our Annual Conferences.

  4. Multi-Site Congregations « The UU Growth Blog Says:

    […] are some exciting things happening with multi-site congregations in our association.  Over at Nancy’s View of the Landscape Nancy shares news about a November 7th workshop on the concept happening in the Prairie Star […]

  5. nheege Says:

    The comment above is from Peter Bowden, the new Growth Consultant for Ballou Channing District. Peter has lots of experience with UU congregations in Pacific Northwest District. He has a new blog at http://uugrowth.wordpress.com that looks very good. I liked the map of the US, showing the UU “saturation” in counties across the country. Thanks, Peter! I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts.

  6. Don McKinnon Says:

    Hello Nancy,

    I check your web site once in a while and was especially interested in your workshop on multi-site congregations. I would be delighted if the workshop given by Rev Christine Robinson is recorded so I can see and hear it.

    Please say “hello” to my many friends in Prairie Star District and fond wishes to you.

    Don

  7. nheege Says:

    Hello, Don. We are planning to record the workshop but are not sure what form that will take. More later.

  8. Nancy Heege Says:

    I think it’s called Kubrick.

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