Sunday, September 22, 2019
Letters from UU A Way Of Life - The welcoming church
Our roving UU A Way Of Life reporter, Betsy, asked Chester, the UU of Dismal Seepage board president, what he thought about this investment of effort and energy into cheer leading.
Betsy: "Chester, can I ask you what you think about this welcoming initiative in your UU church?"
Chester: "It's wonderful! Just wonderful! I love being a minister of hospitality and saying 'hello' to everyone as they come into church and hand them the order of service. Everybody seems polite and appreciative and it gives me a warm feeling in my chest."
Betsy: "Do newcomers come back for a second go?"
Chester: "Sometimes, but usually not. The pastor questions if we should try to be even more welcoming."
Betsy: "Like what? How?"
Chester: "I don't know really. Have better coffee hours afterward with fancier deserts, and older members trying to talk up the newcomers and getting the newcomers contact information for follow-up."
Besty: "Sounds kind of like the proselytization of other churches. I thought UUs didn't proselytize."
Chester: "Good point. We don't, but we have to figure out how to market ourselves to better engage newcomers who come to check us out."
Betsy: "Well welcoming is all well and good, but what is it that you are welcoming people to?"
Chester: "Another good point, Betsy. You are a sharp interviewer. We can't decide what it is we are offering to people other than the welcoming part. With UUs it's like herding cats. Everybody wants to believe something different, and nobody can clearly say what it is that we all believe as a congregation."
Betsy: "Maybe that's the problem. You get them in the door but without anything substantial and coherent to offer, there is nothing to hold on to so people don't come back. "
Chester: "Yeah, I think UUs work on the process, but the content is vapid and so ambiguous there is nothing to identify with."
Betsy: "Thank you Chester, for your thoughts."
Chester: "You're welcome, very welcome. If you ever want to join us, we're open for buisness just about every Sunday but major holiday Sundays and two months in the summer when our God, or no God, which ever you prefer is on vacation."
Betsy reported back at UU A Way of Life central and her report brought us to tears and much laughter. Our director said, "We can either laugh or cry, or maybe a little of both."
And that's the way its been this week at UU A Way of Life where the women are all very welcoming, the men are looking for something more substantial in the profession of faith, and the children just want to play games during religious ed and eat their cookies and drink their juice.