Notes on Congregational Life

by Ana DelCorazon, Congregational Life Coordinator

I haven’t had the opportunity to meet as many of you in person as I’d like to (yet), since I’ve only been a member of UUCWC for eight months and have attended for over a year. However, I’ve been a UU for six years, and my last church was First Unitarian in Des Moines, Iowa. First Unitarian was a large congregation, with about 500 members, and it had undergone significant growth over the prior ten years. I was fortunate enough to experience and enjoy the fruits of their struggle and growth into a large congregation. And now, it’s exciting and rewarding for me to be in a new spiritual home where I am given the opportunity to use my talents and skills to help our congregation grow and change. My hope is that all members and friends are able to contribute to our beloved community in ways that feed and renew them.

UUCWC feels to many like an extended family; in fact, Family Church is a term used for small churches of fewer than 50 members. About a third of all UU congregations fall into this category, as UUCWC once did as well. A Pastoral Church is larger, with between 50 and 150 members. As the number of members grows, the needs of the church change. As more people take part in congregational life, new ways of communicating and welcoming people are required. UUCWC has actually even grown past this level to what is called a Program Church, with between 150 and 350 members. Congregations of this size usually have additional full-time staff beyond the minister, as we do, and have Boards that take on more oversight of congregation-wide matters, as does our Board of Trustees.

Program Churches also often have program councils that coordinate the different committees and ministries, which are varied and many in number. This is similar to some of what I’m trying to do in my volunteer role as Congregational Life Coordinator. As I shared in prior months, my goal in this role is to oversee the coordination, communication and system health of Membership, Community Building, Nominating, and Adult Religious Education. As we grow, I’m working to support the committees and ministries across the church to meet their goals – as well as to help them communicate to the wider congregational community about the work they are doing and how others can get involved.

All of this was behind the recent revival of the Committee and Ministry Fair during the first Middle Hour, which long-time member Bonnie Ruekgauer coordinated up until about five years ago. It was fantastic to see the wide variety of ways people nurture and contribute to the UUCWC community – and all the opportunities for others in the community to get involved! We hope to have another fair in the winter, so keep an eye out for that. Our thriving, growing community is lucky to have so many dedicated, passionate, and energetic stewards, and I’m honored to highlight their contributions. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.