Archive for November, 2011

Tools for Moving Beyond the Mono-cultural Congregation

November 15, 2011

The UUA has recently added a new resource to its Web site — a 14-page document called Multicultural Welcome: A Resource for Greeters in Unitarian Universalist Congregations. The resource invites theological reflection on welcoming and hospitality; includes a section for training greeters; gives suggestions on inviting conversation with newcomers; a list of additional resources for reading and reflection; and more. Often, we’ve discussed how we want to move forward on becoming more multicultural, but have decried the lack of resources.  This looks excellent, and I invite you to give this some thought and try out the ideas. You can find it here: 


Conscientious Consumption at the Holidays – a New Approach

November 10, 2011

Some parents at First Unitarian Church in Des Moines IA have come up with a new idea about how to avoid overwhelming the local landfill with barely-used toys and books as they clean out their children’s rooms to get ready for another holiday season. They’ve launched a program called Play It Forward. This month, families are invited to bring in their excellent-to-good condition toys and books, and on one Saturday, the books and toys will be available for others to take home — for free! The only catch is that you can’t choose something for yourself, just to give to someone else. As an incentive to give, families who have donated toys can start their “shopping” an hour early. As a parent and grandparent, I think this is a great idea! Let’s share what our children no longer use. Recycled toys and books – yes!

Sextons in a UU Church? Why not?

November 9, 2011

Here’s a way that one congregation has found to assure that their building is an attractive and safe space during the week.

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester MN has a team of 6 – 7 sextons. The sextons sign up for a week at a time through the year. On a daily basis, that week’s sexton goes to the church, walks through the building looking for open windows, unlocked doors, or clutter. The sexton turns off lights that are not in use, straightens up when there is clutter, and makes sure that the rooms are ready for the next group to use. They inspect the restrooms for adequate paper supplies and cleanliness. After checking the church building schedule, they program the thermostats in various rooms where meetings will take place. And on Sunday mornings or at other large events, they assist the staff or person in charge as requested.

The church has regular paid custodial help during the week. Snow removal is also contracted out. During the winter, the sextons put out orange cones in the parking lot on Sundays to guide drivers in parking their cars.

This group of sextons gather periodically for great parties; they make it fun for the team to do this work for the church! [Thanks to Sexton Patty T for sharing this information with me!]