Screenshot 2017 09 06 at 12.46.42 PMDuring the worship services on April 9, Rev. Dr. Neal Jones introduced to the congregation our new Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Dawn Star Sarahs-Borchelt. She will oversee the Religious Education (RE) of our children, youth, and adults, plan and conduct our multigenerational services, and act as our liaison with St. David’s Nursery School.

Dawn draws from a deep reservoir of experience, having served as the DRE of the BuxMont UU Fellowship, the Youth Ministry Coordinator of All Souls Church in DC and the UU Church of Silver Spring, adjunct staff for the Joseph Priestly District, a religious education consultant for Goodloe Memorial Congregation in Maryland, and the DRE of Davies Memorial UU Church, also in Maryland.

She has just completed the Masters Level Program for religious educators, the UUA’s highest level of RE credentials. She has led RE workshops and conferences for UU congregations, clusters, and districts, and she has written RE curricula on environmental stewardship, multicultural values, bridging between age groups, and multigenerational worship. Not only is she obviously qualified, but according to her references and others who know her well, she is compassionate, personable, and has a wry sense of humor.

Perhaps Dawn’s most practical preparation to be a religious educator, however, is the fact that she is the home-schooling mother of four: Wolfy, Robin, Day, and Juniper. They, along with her husband, Matt, served as our Chalice Lighters on April 9. In addition to all of this, Dawn is also a birth doula.

Our new support group for caregivers will begin this month on Monday, July 17, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Because of the summer building construction, we do not have a location yet, but please RSVP to . Parish Nurse, Jan Cauffman will provide more details closer to the date.

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Living Our Mission: Strategic Planning Report

In March 2017, the Mission Task Force presented the Board of Trustees with a Strategic Planning Report. The Executive Team and the Board of Trustees are now working collaboratively to evaluate it and consider which elements to implement and how/when. The full report as well as a visual representation of its seven initiatives and four key themes are seen here.

Strategic Plan Graphic
The congregation adopted MLUC’s inspiring Mission:
“Together, We Transform Lives through Love, Service, and Our Welcoming Faith”

But our Mission cannot be a set of empty words; a lifeless creed. Instead, it must be a call to action – the collective directive that inspires and guides us, and the essential criteria by which we evaluate, develop, and measure the success of our programs and ministries. Our task as a congregation is to make the Mission come alive in our hearts and drive what we do as a loving community now and into the future.

In September 2016, we held a Living Our Mission Summit at which a wide cross-section of the congregation were challenged to address this fundamental question: What is necessary for MLUC to fully live its Mission? Seven key strategic initiatives emerged from that Summit:

1. Inspire Greater Engagement in Our Church;
2. Serve the Needs of Our Local Community;
3. Engage and Support Children, Youth and Families More Deeply;
4. Program for a Diverse Congregation;
5. Become Better Known in the Community;
6. Develop and Sustain Leadership;
7. Fund our Mission.

Following the Summit, Action Groups considered each of those initiatives and proposed concrete plans for accomplishing them. In reviewing the seven action plans, the Mission Task Force identified a four common themes that emerged from and animated the specific plans:
1. Enhance Our Loving Community
2. Engage in Our Local Community
3. Spiritual Growth
4. Sustainability

 

To learn more, see the Full Report.

A Single 10:00 Worship Service logo

After gathering feedback from our Board of Trustees, the Choir, the Church School Committee and other RE volunteers, my Search Committee, two “town hall” meetings, and lots of emails and personal conversations, the overwhelming response I have received is that we should continue our summer schedule of having a single 10:00 worship service throughout the church year. The primary benefits will be:

1. Instead of having one sparsely attended, subdued service at 9:00 and one well-attended, vibrant service at 11:00, the whole congregation will experience one unified, energetic worship service at 10:00. This will be especially appealing to potential new members.

2.  Instead of having duplicated sets of sparsely attended RE classes, we will have unified, well- attended classes and a single set of RE teachers. This will simplify recruiting and planning for our new DLRE and RE volunteers, as well as for our ushers and greeters.

3.  A single 10:00 service will allow us to have meetings and groups before and after the service, and post-service meetings will not interfere with lunch plans. Also, members who normally attend the 9:00 service will no longer have to miss meetings and events scheduled after the 11:00 service.

4.  When our attendance grows again -- and I fully expect that it will in time with a fulltime DLRE and our hosting a Nursery School -- we can always accommodate the larger numbers by going back to two services.

So it appears to be win-win all the way around. I want to thank everyone who has shared their opinions and suggestions (such as asking able-bodied members to park in the Ditmar Park parking lot when attendance spikes this fall).

With the exception of May 21, May 28, and June 4, we will continue to have a 9:00 and 11:00 service until our summer schedule of having a single 10:00 service begins on June 25.

With appreciation for your input,
Neal

Congregational Meeting
Plan to attend MLUC's Annual Meeting on Sunday, May 21 at 11:15 a.m., where all members will have the opportunity to review and approve next year's budget and elect Trustees and members of the Nominating Committee. (There will be one service at 10:00 a.m. on both May 21 and May 28.)