Last Sunday’s service featured a homily and congregational conversation on the subject of Engagement. You can find the full text of Engagement With the New World in the sermon archive.
My main point was that engagement in a congregation can not be demanded by leadership. They can only inspire it. People have to choose to, “put your whole self in,” as the Hokey Pokey suggests. We then asked folks in church what inspired them to engage.
Right now, I want to draw attention to another point. Quoting myself (how vain!):
“…a great revelation that has been dawning in UUism: Church is more than the Sunday service. For well over a century, everything revolved around Sunday morning. There might be other activities, but this gathering was the thing that was really called church. It was the centerpiece, and everything else was second place to this worship event.
“The revelation? That might not be a good way to see it any more. We need a bigger and more diverse understanding of just what IS church. Perhaps the Sunday service needs to be seen as one activity in the whole circle of activities and opportunities. They are all ‘church’ individually and collectively.”
It turns out that this week we had a wonderful example of all of that. One of our members reached out to me asking for help. He has a chronic illness and needed help in packing and moving and was up against a deadline. I posted a request for help on our FaceBook page and then our administrator sent out an e-mail blast. Within a couple of hours nine people had volunteered, many with vehicles. Three days later we were moving our beleaguered community member to his new digs.
It seems to me that this is no less ‘going to church’ than attending Sunday services.
There is an Engagement Team working on this, and Sunday provided some helpful input. We want to build the number of ways people can’ do church’. In the coming months look for a rebirth of small group ministry in a new format. We can walk the labyrinth together. I will soon be hosting a ‘meet up’ conversation for interested folks in a local pub, and we may try simple services at other times for people who work on Sundays. I know the Children’s Program is planning an afternoon of Christmas Caroling for a good cause on December 9, and there are always opportunities for activism as a group. And as a first bit of promotion, we will host Ottawa UU singer songwriter Tony Turner on Friday, November 9th.
And you know what? It’s all church to me.
See you ‘in church’ somewhere.