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Making the Fellowship Run

At the first Congregational meeting of the "present" period of the Transitions Process we engaged in several activities.  We went over the results of the survey.  We also listed all the things that go into making the Fellowship run.  Finally, we broke into groups to think about some questions.  You have seen the survey results.  Included here is the list of Fellowship tasks that was generated and the small groups that sent their results to Rev. Sollie
Before a Church Service Happens

Set up the chairs

Get the hymnals out

Candles ready for chalice lighting and joys and concerns

Candles have been purchased

Program team selects the speaker and sets it up to happen

Name and blurb for service

Information goes to Marcy for publication

Find a facilitator

Music selection

Pick a topic

Location selected

Order of service printed and ready to distribution

Fold it


Plug in the coffee pot

Choose the readings—someone chosen who then picks the pieces

Building paid for

Utilities paid and running

Toilet paper

Trash cans

 Walk shoveled


Building cleaned

Windows washed

Welcoming greeters lined up

Dishwasher unloaded

Children’s room staffed

Curriculum choses

RE lesson prepared

Time for all ages figured out

Set up audio and video

Publicity sent out

Create the sermon or program

Art wall maintained

Announcements figured out and prepared


During A Church Service

Speaker has to show up

Facilitator has to show up

Musician has to show up

AV crew has to show up

Choir has to show up

Greeters need to greet

Congregants show up

Someone to light the chalice

People to pass the offertory

Person to count money

Person to count attendance

Person to do the story for all ages

Someone setting up coffee hour

Re teachers in their rooms ready to go

Someone trouble shooting and making sure people have what they need

Assistive listening devices working

Service being filmed.

Service transitions managed


After a Church Service

People to reach out and welcome newcomers

Someone to blow out the candles

Turn off the mics

Put the chairs away

Put hymnals away

Clean up RE rooms

Clean up after coffee hours

Trash out

Parents and children safely reunited

Coffee hour cleaned up

Building locked

Lights out

Fireplace secured

Windows closed

Heat down

Follow up about next service or week ahead

Counting money/store money

Accept Paypal payments

Notes to speakers

Notes to visitors

Permission to broadcast program


For a Service Five Years From Now

All of the above +

Have to have enough members

Technology—make it inclusive and good outreach—up to snuff and keeping up

The finances have got to be robust

Double our membership to be financially viable

Physical plant –decisions about needing a building

Physical plant upkeep

Grounds and building kept up

Outreach—a good system

Healthy governance

Promote our programs well in the community

Good communication

Big speaker to draw people

A plan for growth

RE coordinator

Enhance our partnerships in the community

Build stronger interfaith ties and relationships

Good relationship with wider UU world

Good programing

Meeting the needs of congregants

Clear about mission and vision

Successive leadership

Training leaders

Institutional continuity and memory


The Rest of the Week

Leaders trained

Enough people and energy to make activities happen

People to put on social events

Host fundraising events

Decide what things you want to offer x2

People need to get in the building

A coordinator for calendar




Some paid positions and/or robust volunteers

A good plan for rotating leadership

Social action efforts that engage the congregation

New member orientation


 And so much more!


Small Group Feedback


Group of three:

What Do We Value: What is so important that you will fit your time, talent and treasure towards making sure it happens?


Minister – professional leadership, specifically include directing religious education
Membership and recruitment – we can grow.
I would pay for treats – won’t make and bring them anymore. Maybe we should scale down treats.
Matching people with what they’re good at and interested in.
Succession planning to build new leadership for the future, so the same people don’t have to keep doing a task indefinitely. This planning would include writing down what to do and passing along the knowledge (we’ve done this a number of times before).
Communication: New plan for external and internal. Especially much enhanced promotion of programs, speakers and events.
Putting together financial plan, including pledge drive.
Borrow against our building to make sure we can pay for the necessary work during the next several years.
Social Action: Develop a plan and integrate it in the congregation. There are many tasks to do in social action work.


Group of three:


What’s so important to me personally that I want to make sure it continues to happen?

  1. outreach/solidarity with people of color in our community.Outreach: web site, social media, get out in the community more to reach out/attract more people, younger people. There should be an effort for
  2. Financial growth
  3. Welcoming congregation: communication is a big component of this. What can we do to be more welcoming in order to support a more diverse community?
  4. Church services and coffee/fellowship hour: stick to basic needs of the congregation to avoid burnout and once these two things are sustained with ample volunteers then move on to other goals.
  5. Importance of communication: fellowship/communication with one another during/after services builds trust, community, and a feeling of safety in our setting. Makes it feel safer and more comfortable to share joys and concerns. There should also be a focus on internal communications so we all have a better idea of what is going on and who to contact if we have a question/concern. Idea: At the end of every email announcement include a list with the name of each committee chair and their email/phone so all members know who to contact if there are questions or interest in volunteering/getting involved with a particular committee.


Group of 6: 

What is essential to the congregation?

  1. Building the congregation/membership and being mindful/attentive to including diversity
  2. Having a welcoming group to belong to; offering various things that support being welcoming; a place where people feel accepted and belong
  3. Creating community and community experiences; opportunities to creatively express ourselves
  4. Finances – being open and transparent about financials; having a continual assessment of if what we are doing is necessary for the time, gifts, and finances required to continue certain things.
  5. Robust RE program for people of all ages
  6. Outreach – importance of being more accepting and inclusive, not one-sided – respect different political and religious views.
  7. Attentive Care Team
  8. Become fully sustained with finances/volunteer needs for church services and fellowship/coffee hour before adding more services and things that require additional funding and volunteers.

 Why do you personally keep attending/coming back to the congregation?

  1. Finding people with similar views in the Bismarck area; to be a better person; to challenge myself in a positive way; the Chalice Circles are a good outlet
  2. Opportunities to keep sharing in creative ways
  3. Find different ways to be thoughtful and engaged in things that matter to me. To hear the kind of messages (readings, music, sermons, programs) we hear at the congregation – challenges us to look at what we really mean about being diverse and welcoming, respectful, and inquisitive about other peoples’ thoughts
  4. Personal commitment to getting community “real people in my real world” – shared values that I believe in; to be in Right Relations with the congregation, other people, and the world around me.
  5. Community – the community I receive at the congregation can’t be found anywhere else in my life; Don’t know what I’d do without the UU Church and members who I’ve come to get to know.