The Growing Together Task Force was formed in April of 2018 at the board’s and minister’s request to engage the congregation in addressing the impact of rapid growth on the UUFCO community and planning for a second service. 

Task Force members are: Mark Hickman (co-chair), Marean Jordan (co-chair), Don Hartsough, Annis Henson, Ayla Halberstadt, Judy Hurlburt, Dennis Lazzar, Chela Sloper, and Rev. Scott Rudolph. We invite you to contact the Growing Together Task Force to share your thoughts.  

Second Service Update — August 2018

Planning is moving forward in many areas to prepare for our move to two services on September 16, 2018. We are looking forward to the new opportunities for engaging our growing community that two services will bring. Below is some information to help navigate the change.

Timing of the two services. The first service will begin at 9 a.m. sharp and will end by 10 a.m.; the second service will begin at 11 a.m. Both services will be similar in content and format although the first service may be a bit more streamlined to fit into the one-hour time frame. It will be important to get to the first service promptly as the big doors will be closed right at 9 a.m. 

Music. The plan is for the choir to sing twice a month at both services. Our new music director, Mark Hickman, will be working with musicians in the congregation to plan additional musical offerings for some of the services when the choir isn’t singing.

Community Hour. Between the two services there will be a community hour in the Pete Seeger Gathering Hall. This will be a time for coffee, conversation, and being together in community. 

Religious Exploration. RE classes will meet during the community hour from 10:10 to 10:55. During the services, 3rd graders and younger will participate in a “little church” program in the RE area while 4th graders and beyond will be part of the service in the sanctuary. Resources will be available to help children stay engaged during service.

Sunday Volunteering. Changes are being made in the Sunday volunteer schedule and roles to cover two services. The online Signup process has been changed to reflect two services and the community hour between as of September 16th.  Individual task teams will receive emails reflecting changes made to their roles, and a request to begin signing up for the first four Sundays of our two services. Team leads and Judy Hurlburt will be offering a refresher and/or new training for each volunteer task at the end of the summer. Stay tuned for more information in the ACE and Sunday announcements.

Meditation Group. The meditation group will continue to meet with a slight change in schedule—from 9:15 to 10:00 in the Founders Fireside Room.

Parking. We anticipate that the Sunday morning parking situation may be slightly improved by these changes in schedule. Those coming to the 11 o’clock service are requested to check out the parking lot for empty spaces first before parking on the street. The Facilities Committee is working hard on other ideas to alleviate our parking limitations.

Second Service News — July 8, 2018

Beginning on September 16 we will be holding two Sunday morning services — at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.  Between the two services, the Religious Exploration classes will meet and there will be a time for community connections, conversation, and coffee. Ayla Halberstadt will be contacting families with more information about changes in the RE program.

Growing Together Task Force Announcement — June 10, 2018

On behalf of the Growing Together Task Force I want to thank everyone who took part in one of the five focus groups that met in the last few weeks. We had a great exchange of ideas about the rapid growth of our congregation, what we can do nurture our sense of community as we grow, and how we can make a place for all who want to be part of the Sunday worship experience. Our recent growth has been truly remarkable. Over half of our current members have joined since we moved to our new home a little over three years ago, and 25% have joined since Rev. Scott became our minister in August of 2017. You may have felt that our sanctuary is wonderfully full on many Sundays. The average number of people at Sunday services since September has been 250, and we anticipate that we will surpass the sanctuary’s seating capacity in the next year. We want to be ready to welcome all who want to join us.

We heard clearly from the focus groups that we need to be intentional about the ways we keep our community connected as we grow. We also heard people’s willingness to try out a second service. The Task Force has thus recommended to the board that we move to two Sunday morning services beginning with our ingathering on September 16. We are suggesting a congregational assessment in early January to get a picture of how the structure is working and what adjustment might be needed. We anticipate returning to a single service during the summer months. 

Our congregation already has the experience of doing two services at Christmas and Easter but there are many questions to be resolved: What time will the two services be? When will the choir sing? When will we have coffee hour? Will both services be the same? When will we have RE? Your creative ideas and input will be essential as we work out the details together over the summer.

From its beginning this congregation has had a long history of flexibility, creativity, and the will to make changes and respond to opportunities. We wouldn’t be in this beautiful building without that spirit. We are in a time of change in our community and our country. Bend is growing rapidly and people are increasingly drawn to the message of love, service, and inclusion that Unitarian Universalism offers.  Our congregational mission—seeking meaning, celebrating life, and serving the spirit of love and justice in our world—affirms that message. Part of realizing our mission is to make sure there is a place and a warm welcome for all those who want to join with us. 

The summarized notes from the focus groups will be posted soon on the Growing Together page of our website, along with names of members of the task force. If you weren’t able to come to a focus group—or even if you were—we need your ideas and would like to hear from you. And you’ll be hearing more from us throughout the summer as preparations move forward for two services in September. There are exciting times ahead!

—delivered to the congregation by Marean Jordan

Growing Together Focus Group Notes (May/June 2018)