Ever since the fall issue of the UU World arrived in the mail with an article on the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder being a UUA Breakthrough Congregation, there have been quite a few emails and phone calls from all over the country with individuals and other Unitarian Universalist churches excited about the changes UUCB has undergone in the past few years, Folks from a variety of Unitarian Universalist congregations write and call wanting to know more about our All Church Social Change focus, our Social Justice Small Group Ministry, Mindful Meeting practice, and on the steps the church leadership took in setting congregational goals for the shared developmental ministry.
Our church’s story is not that unique, as other churches have also “come back from the ashes to rise like a Phoenix” (not my original phrase, but as a number of folks who visited Boulder in the 90’s and early 2000’s have commented), but what makes our church unique is that the congregation set its own goals to accomplish, and together we have made great strides to achieve those goals in the past few years.
This has been such a different approach than churches and ministers have ever taken prior to UUCB being a “pilot project” for this new kind of ministry. This new approach where congregations can self-determine what and who they wish to become, rather than “calling” a minister and then he or she doing the type of ministry that he or she wishes. We have pioneered a new model where a minister is chosen who will work with the church leaders to do what the congregation says it would like to achieve.
We are not the only congregation where such shared leadership is producing desired results, but we are at the forefront of what might easily become a new way for churches and professional religious leaders to have shared goals to benefit all concerned.
UUCB has undergone rapid changes in organizational structure, accountability and by-laws and program development in these past few years. Change always brings about, well – change! Little cliques or areas of perceived congregational power by individuals gets placed into a larger context of a total congregational effort to grow and prosper, and that can be disconcerting to some folks. This process of change that UUCB has undergone in this shared developmental ministry’s work to achieve the goals the congregation set for itself has helped more of us to better comprehend just what it means to be a covenantal faith community.
As we deepen our covenantal relationships with one another and towards shared goals, the majority of us have come to see all that we can accomplish together when we are working together.
As UUCB begins this next phase of working on and achieving its revised developmental shared ministry goals, commitment to our covenantal faith will continue to be the fundamental core value for becoming all that we say that we want to become as a church. Being a UUA “Breakthrough Congregation” brings with it the responsibility to face and to handle any current and future changes with an abiding faithful commitment to being the covenantal religious community that is foundational to what it means to be Unitarian Universalist.