Growth at UUSA

At our Annual Meeting in June 2023, the UUSA membership voted to “bet on ourselves” and support the recommendation of the board to increase the salaries of our amazing staff by using money we had in reserve to balance the budget and cover the increased costs. In the fall, members stepped up again to make a significant down payment on our siding loan.

In both cases, we knew that it only makes sense to make these investments if we believe that the congregation would grow in the long run.

I and all observing our New Member services on February 10 were very encouraged when we saw 15 adults sign the new member guestbook, along with a few of their kids. Overall, 17 new members have signed the book this year.

That is clear evidence that we have something attractive to offer the community and more growth is possible.

It is also evidence that our Ministry of Welcome and Membership is doing a wonderful job welcoming new visitors. People are “coming in the door” on Sunday mornings. New folks are coming in and enjoying being part of the community, and longtime members are returning after the pandemic.

Growth is not in-and-of-itself always the right goal for a congregation. However, I believe that it is a necessary one for UUSA at this time. Guidance from the UUA on the operations of a congregation puts us at the nexus between being a “pastoral” size and a “program” size congregation (If you’d like to dig into the details of these descriptions, look at the UUA document, Size Transitions in UU Congregations). In a nutshell, we have “program” size aspirations in terms of the type of impact we want to have on our members and community, but we’re constrained by a budget and contributing membership that is more “pastoral” in nature.

There are two ways that we all can help encourage our growth and transition.

  • Heed the call from our Committee on Welcoming and Membership to encourage both new and returning members to get involved in the life of the congregation. That is a responsibility for us all.
  • Engage with the survey and conversations by the Committee of Shared Ministries as they guide us on theprocess of crafting our new mission. We need to take time to understand who we are culturally and thenuse what we learn to create a foundation for change.

Thank you for your past contributions to our community, and thank you in advance for making the commitment to our future, both financially and in welcoming the contributions of others. 

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