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Current News

On this page:

Stewardship 2015 - We Outdid Ourselves!
Garden Dreams Become Plans and Move Toward Reality
Naomi Powell Memorial Bench Donations Being Accepted
Exploring an Additional Worship Service
DRE Search Moves Forward
Green Sanctuary Team News
Updated Church Website Coming Soon


Stewardship 2015 - We Outdid Ourselves!

With great joy and pride in our community, the Stewardship Team thanks everyone who pledged and helped make this year's annual stewardship campaign a truly astounding one.

At the outset, we set an ambitious goal of 100% pledging, and we received a record 164 pledges – a stunning 96% of potential pledgers. Wow! Your pledges show that our community truly understands that we are all in this together.

Here are two more amazing facts:

  • Excluding our largest pledge, the average pledge this year was $1,544, an increase of 40% over last year's average of $1,103.

  • We received pledges from a record 33 first-time pledgers.

And a final stunning fact: We not only reached, but surpassed our $260,000 dollar goal to fully fund our needs in the coming church year. Total pledges are now $287,625!

Your generosity will allow us to substantially expand our Religious Education staff position, provide adequate resources for our many wonderful ministries and programs, and make a modest start on rebuilding badly depleted reserve funds needed for unforeseen and emergency expenses.

We hoped for a good result, but with your help, together we all picked up our oars and sailed this campaign right off the map into the kind of abundance we only dreamed about.

Thanks again to everyone!

– In Spirit and Service, Steve Scott, Stewardship Team Chair

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Garden Dreams Become Plans and Move Toward Reality

Plan for front gardens, drawn by Sue Bartelette and colored by Jeanne Murphy.

Energy and excitement have been building among the members of our UUCC Grounds Team. We've been envisioning the church grounds as an embodiment of our heartfelt valuing of the interdependent web of life.

We've been dreaming about the woods of which we are the designated stewards. We've been dreaming about the life-giving water that enters and flows across our land. We've been dreaming about the gardens in front of the building. And as we dream, we have tried to form a vision of what is truly possible.

We've had consultations with foresters, native landscapers, hydrologists, and we've gotten great tips from a professional entomologist. We've spent hours outside tending the plant life and examining the trees and topography. We've spent hours inside thinking about choices facing us concerning the needs of the congregation, the conventional methods our culture uses, and our moral stance in relation to all factors. Our brains have been swimming. But we have organized some of this complexity into a few plans.

Most recently, we've been honing in on the particulars of a plan for how we can improve our front gardens to enhance their life-giving biodiversity, and at the same time enhance their capacity to welcome and encourage the humans who come to this place. At our request, a professional native landscaper has created this plan for transformation of our front gardens. It's a solid plan, backed by knowledge and lengthy experience.

The plan features a great variety of native plants which evolved with our native insects. Milkweeds will provide nurseries where Monarch butterflies can lay eggs. Summer blooming coneflowers will provide nectar just when butterfly populations are expanding in late spring, and later they'll produce nutritious seed for wintering goldfinches. Late blooming asters will attract a lively insect party late into the fall.

The same continuous bloom that keeps the insects and birds interested all through the seasons will also be a delight to our members and visitors as the visual display changes from week to week with every bud, bloom, and fruit appearing in natures proper time. And, consideration has been given to other human needs like maintenance effort. These plants are ones that, when established, will not need us to baby them with spraying, watering, or pruning.

Additionally, their arrangement will serve to welcome us to our beloved place. For example, on the parking lot island, lower plants and additional stepping stones will naturally lead our eye toward the entrance, rather than sending up a symbolic barrier.

The members of the grounds team are really excited about this plan. And, truth is, we wish we could make our dreams come true right now! We did get a rough bid for potentially having this done professionally (anybody have $9,000 handy?) But in reality, the long process of doing this transforming work ourselves step-by-step may be the only way we will manifest our dream. The long process may also be the truest expression of our caring relationships, and of our commitment to stewardship of the interdependent web of all existance of which we are most definitely an integral part.

Knowing that so many in our congregation share a deep connection with the natural world, we want to keep you informed of our plans, and invite you to join us on this journey. I've told you about many hours that our team has devoted to this task, but for myself and I think for the others, it has been a labor of love in respectful community that we find fulfilling and pleasant.

– Carol Arnold, Grounds Team Member

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Naomi Powell Memorial Bench Donations Being Accepted

We are now accepting donations for the Naomi Powell memorial bench in our Memorial Garden.

Naomi was the creator of Access Arts and a stalwart member of UUCC from its beginning. She was an artist and poet who decorated the sanctuary weekly. She lived to be of service to others.

To contribute, write a check to the church with "Powell Memorial Fund" on the memo line. Church Administrator Kathie Bergman will manage the fund.

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Exploring an Additional Worship Service

Noon Sunday, April 12
10 a.m. Saturday, April 25

Have you noticed that the sanctuary often feels crowded on Sunday morning? Have you had trouble finding a place to park? Have you stood in the back of the room searching for a desirable seat?

And yet, do you long for there to be a place among us for all who seek our message and beloved community?

Folks who study church growth and dynamics tell us that when 80% of desirable seats are occupied on Sunday mornings, it is time to add another service or experience stagnation and declining attendance. (“Desirable” means the front row and the seats behind the columns don’t count!)

We have calculated that in our sanctuary, 80% of desirable seats is 104. Our average worship attendance in February was 126, well over the 80% threshold that experts recommend as maximum

We’ve seen similar numbers for quite some time now – and yet we’ve discerned a desire to continue growing and including new folks in our mission and community. So it seems that if we are to make room for those who seek our message, it is time to add an additional worship service...

And we want your input! What are you looking for in a worship experience? What are your fears about adding a service? What are your hopes? Who isn’t among us yet, and how can we make space for them?

Join us at noon Sunday, April 12, or at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, in the sanctuary to discuss these questions and more as we discern how to manage and continue the growth of our beloved community.

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DRE Search Moves Forward

The Director of Religious Education Search Team began accepting applications in early March and hopes to be interviewing candidates in April and May.

The job listing is posted at the national Liberal Religious Educators Association website, the MidAmerica Region of the UUA, idealist.org, University of Missouri and Columbia College career pages, and The Columbia Daily Tribune.

If you are interested in the job or know of likely candidates, please do not hesitate to be in touch or pass along our listing.

DRE Search Team members are Carol Arnold, Heather Carver, Joe Collins, Adele Dorman (youth member), Kadie Elmore (youth member), Tracey Milarsky, and Dennis Murphy.

If you have questions or comments about our hiring process, please contact me or one of our search team members.

In Faith, Rev. Molly

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Green Sanctuary Team News

The Green Sanctuary Team is committed to the issue of growing, consuming, and thinking about food in an ethical way. Several GS Team members and other UUCC members participated in the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture workday held at Lucky’s on Saturday, March 14. An urban “milk crate” garden is in progress on the southeast corner of Lucky’s. What an awesome idea – check it out!

Thanks to Janice Smith for hosting another “bag- making” evening March 17. T-shirts donated by church members were cut and sewn into approximately 40 reusable cloth bags. The bags can be used to bring your dishes, utensils, and cups to potluck Sundays. We still need more T-shirts (not fabric), and will soon decide on a distribution plan.

The GS Team is encouraging the church to use environmentally friendly soaps, cleaners, tissues and other products. A rough draft of a new purchasing policy is in the works. Please contact Lisa Guillory with suggestions and ideas for this transition to products that are less toxic to all living beings.

Earth Day is Sunday, April 19. The GS Team will sponsor a table to promote UUCC’s values, programs and activities. Soon UUCC members and friends will receive an email link for SignUpGenius. Please volunteer for a couple of hours to meet festival goers and chat about our environmental justice and social justice activities.

April 12 is the Green Sanctuary lay-led service. Come join us as we celebrate the Earth and share what spring means to us. We can’t wait for everyone to see the new Earth Banner!

The next GS Team meeting is at 7 p.m. April 7 at Lisa Guillory’s house. Our meetings are open to all.

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Updated church website coming soon

Our current church website, launched in August 2011, is undergoing a complete redesign that will be unveiled in the next couple of months. The updated site will use the Wordpress web publishing platform, which will allow for much greater interactivity.

The existing content will be repackaged in a cleaner, easy-to-navigate format.
Included on the new site will be a minister’s blog, an R.E. news blog and a general news blog, all of which will automatically feed new posts to our public Facebook page.

The Wordpress system will allow multiple people to update the site as needed and enable us to host our own calendar and sign-ups instead of relying on external websites for those functions.

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