Beginning (again)

a bulb of garlic sprouting Well, today was my first regular day back in the office. I’m glad to say that my fondest hope–that I’d feel reenergized and excited again–has come true. It was great to meet with my staff and begin looking ahead to what is sure to be a great church year.

I felt a bit like the picture at the left, new sprouts poking out of my old husk.  There is so much I love about church work.  I love that we are striving to be a community that lives up to our values and ideals.  I love that people really, really care about their church.  I love that minds and hearts and souls are left open to change and growth.

There are several places in South Valley’s life and programming that could use some new growth.  Our SEMI circles small group ministry (Spirituality, Encouragement, Ministry, and Ideas) is starting to lose momentum.  We need to find a way to let people know how vital these small groups are to church life.  They keep people connected, help us communicate, provide pastoral and moral support, and most importantly, give people a place to share what’s important to them. (Rather than just listen to me.)  Anyone out there have a creative way to help get the message out about the power and importance of small groups?

We’re in the process of reshaping a lot of administrative roles.  We’ve asked our amazing administrator to enlarge his job by taking over bookkeeping duties.  We’ve lived for too long with the consequences of a person who misrepresented her skills.  By the time we asked her to leave, the books were a mess.  Even with the effort of a lot of people, we never quite recovered.  We’re utilizing a professional company to train our administrator and help us set up a better, more reliable system.  We may never completely unravel the tangle from the past, but we will have a solid future.

The Board is spending this year focusing on Membership Development and Integration.  We get a LOT of visitors, but we don’t do a good (enough) job getting them involved, helping them build relationships, and making leadership accessible to them.  There are a thousand things that need done in a church, but so many times you have to be on the “inside” to know what they are and figure out how to do them.  We want to make it easy for people to get involved and to begin to see themselves as important to the church. We also want them to know that we value their commitment to the congregation and are honored when they become a member.  UU churches are notoriously “low-key” about membership and we think that’s a mistake.

And of course, this year we will be hosting General Assembly in Salt Lake City.  So we’re beginning to spread the word and build enthusiasm.  Essentially we’ll have 5000 UU guests in our city and we want to be ready to spread the word and the hospitality.  South Valley (and all the Utah UU churches) have a chance to show off our city, the beauty of the land around here, and our pride in being UU in the heart of Zion.  Now is the time to start planning to come see us in June!

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