January 2023 Department Meeting

Reports from the Three Clusters of Committee and Ministries

Notes from the combined Inward and Outward Facing (Connections) Committee and Ministries

Present:  Deeya Pavelle (facilitator), Carolyn Cave (notetaker), Janis Gray, Sophie Rogers, Catharine Porter, Rob Fuderich, Pat Brinkman, Fran Plumer

Committees Represented: Caring Circle, Communications, Pastoral Care, Women’s Circle, Community Breakfast, Dedicated Offering

The group ended up spending quite a bit more time on question one than on questions two and three.  And question one got expanded to what not only what are we doing well with respect to inclusivity and welcoming to what is challenging or going less well.

Question 1 – What is going well with respect to being inclusive and welcoming:

  • Communications (website, weekly announcements, newsletter, Facebook) – website much better (original template was bulky), newsletter – have trouble getting info from minister and RE, but focus on members feature is very good.  Would like to see newsletter become more magazine-like.    Janis would like to have an article submitted to the newsletter about the cottage meetings.  She feels unsure about the future of the newsletter.  Would like newsletter to help people make connections.
  • Women’s circle: Lea is good at determining who is interested.  Sophie invites folks and new people get a lot out of the meetings.  Sophie is having trouble getting other people to take responsibility for topics/leadership.  Would like people more invested in sharing responsibility.
  • Community Breakfast: Has the most amazing team in the world.  Volunteers come back.  People are very invested and really care about the breakfast and the guests.  People like to share in it.  Might need more volunteers, but people are popping up.  Could have more guests.  Working very well with a great team.
  • Dedicated Offering:  six members – three new and three long time members.  Goal to have one meeting/year, but might be more welcoming to meet more often and do more work together.  Pat would restructure meetings and think more about what they are trying to achieve.  Committee doesn’t do enough to prepare the congregation about who is coming.  When no one in the congregation is there to ask questions of guests, folks from organizations don’t feel welcome.
  • Caring Circle: have 12 members.  We have a new member of the circle who can take new members to the UUSA.  Have a good list of drivers.  
  • Pastoral Care: Meets every two weeks throughout the year to review who is needing support.  Doing well reaching older folks, but not as much with younger folks who may need support for family challenges.  The PC has a new member who is younger with a child in RE so is hoping to link better with our younger population.  There is a fine balance between helping and leaving folks alone who want quiet.  Would like a shift where everyone is part of caring and pastoral care.  People do fall through the cracks – because of covid we don’t get to see people interact, but need is higher than ever.  There is room for innovation.  Joys and Sorrows during services is a major part of how we learn who is in need.  Will be working with Caring Circle to look for ways to cooperate more closely.  PC is looking for new members.  They are attentive and spend time with those in need.  There is a challenge in having people in the congregation know who the PC members are and reaching out to them.  And there is confusion between CC and PC.  Putting in a plug for the importance of the closing circle.  That provides closeness that is missing from our services now.

Question 2:  What could we do to Make the work more fun?

  • Communication:  Putting things in the newsletter about who is doing what (e.g., at the breakfast).   Include more NAMES in the newsletter.  Putting images in the newsletter.  Put info in newsletter who to contact if you don’t know who your CC person is.
  • Womens circle: Meet in more different places – e.g., people’s houses.  Meeting in person.  
  • Breakfast: Offering a more varied menu – with more volunteers, this is possible.  Piano playing during breakfast.
  • Dedicated Offering:  Spend more time in meetings.  The committee currently does too much as individuals, but it might be more fun to share more together.  There may be fun things we could do as a congregation to learn more about organizations chosen for dedicated offerings. We could learn who in the congegation already knows about the chosen organizations and what they are doing.  We could look for overlap between the caring groups and dedicated offering organizations.
  • Caring Circle: CC doesn’t meet often and by zoom.  Meeting in person would be good.  Not fun meeting on zoom, but we’re doing the work.
  • Pastoral Care: Zooms are not fun.  In person meetings are much more fun.  This group is meeting in person. Also important to have frequent meetings.

Question 3: What commitments can we make to be more welcoming and inclusive:

  • Women’s Circle is welcoming and inclusive.  Breakfast is also welcoming but might do more outreach.  People need to know more about it – write a newsletter article?
  • Dedicated Offering: Approach committee about breaking down the tasks to bring people in who might each do a smaller portion of the work for an offering rather than assigning all work for the offering to a single person.  This would include more folks who are not necessarily on the commttee.  More frequent, in-person meetings.
  • Caring Circle:  Everyone in the congregation is on the list and assigned to a CC member.  Everyone is welcome to drive or bring a meal.  Anyone who wants to help is welcome.
  • Pastoral Care:  How can we meet/know the people who need support?  They would like joys and sorrows every week to know more about needs.  Social hour weekly.  It would be good to have more young people on PC but the fact that younger folks work makes the commitment difficult.  So the PC generally identifies more needs among our older population.
  • Communications:  We can’t print what we don’t know and don’t know how to get more information from folks.  Don’t know more ideas.


Spiritual Grounding Committee & Ministry Meeting Notes


  • Committee on Shared Ministries: Jess Murphy
  • Small Group Ministries: Anne Louise White
  • Worship Collaboration:  Alyson Bull
  • RE ministry: Andrew Coate

Notes: Louise Grosslein

Facilitator: John Gerber

Facilitator invites comments on the following questions – three rounds

  1. Name your committee and think about what you are doing well in your committees/ministries with respect to being welcoming and inclusive

 RE Ministry, Andrew Coate: make sure families with younger children know where they are going and that there is a safe place for their kids, telling stories and using curricula that represent broad spectrum of multiculturalism; RE Ministry group

Worship Collaborative, Alyson Bull: has not met in person, includes Emma and Andrew as well; Rev. Rachael is trying to set up a structure with welcoming language for the weeks when she is not in the pulpit; documents for each service are shared = transparency and collaboration is easy

Small Group Ministries, Anne Louise : the logistics are tricky trying to find meeting times and places (in person vs on zoom);

Reproductive Justice Action, Anne Louise: planning an event already and planning to put info on website; congregation asked for more social action, and this is one way to do it

Committee on Shared Ministries, Jess Murphy: promoting conversation, reflection, celebration and dreams; have used Appreciative Inquiry and can help other committees learn to use it as well; AI is a way of making people feel welcome, they use rounds; they are offering covenant chat discussions using rounds  to other committees

GSC – take turns though not specifically in rounds

2.   What might you do to make your committee work more fun?

Worship Collaborative: Allyson Bull:  they think of it as a “maker space” which helps them feel creative and they try to make sunday Services multii-modal so it’s not just a time to sit

RE Ministry: Allyson Bull: it’s fun to work with other adults when you’re a parent

RE Ministry: Andrew: everyone has younger children so it’s fun to interact with other parents; when parents come down to pick up kids they sometimes see them leaping around doing fun things; including people in skits, sometimes at the very last minute

Small Group Ministry: Anne Louise: facilitators meet once a month with Rev. Rachael for their own Small Group meeting; have talked about what they’ve learned about themselves as a result of being a facilitator; Those meetings are really fun. 

Reproductive Social Action: Anne Louise: harder to find the fun because it’s a topic that’s difficult for many; she wonders how to attract people to come to an event to hear people talk about the issue, without necessarily joining the committee; 

Committee on Shared Ministries: Jess Murphy: mindfulness, check-in; Appreciative Inquiry is fun because we talk about our dreams; the joy they experience helps their brains be more expansive; they’re usually excited at the end of the meeting and make lots of plans; they end by saying what did they appreciate about their time today

GSC: We laugh and work hard to make a difference so we are looking forward to the meetings 

3.  What are you willing to commit to trying in the near future to become more welcoming and inclusive?

Worship collaborative: Alyson Bull: may set up a way to invite feedback from the congregation in a way that’s effective; can be challenging for families to come to Sunday Services with their kids so they keep thinking of ways to make the services work for all ages

RE Ministry: Andrew Coate: always thinking about how to adapt services so people with and without children all want to attend Sunday Services; many folks with young kids don’t want to come to multi-generational services because it’s really hard work; They need to figure out what the next New Normal might be

Small Group Ministries: Anne Louise: pre-covid you met people at coffee hour and could find folks interested in various activities or committees; Is there a way now to find out more easily about new people and their interests? Lea has a form for people to fill out.

Committee on Shared Ministries: Jess Murphy: they are already doing something new and different

Organizational Committees and Ministries

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