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Recalculating and Community

Most people are familiar with the voice in the car's navigation system saying "recalculating" when the driver has decided not to obey her directions. Well, Westside is changing directions; we are recalculating our path leading us to our goal of attracting new people, getting visitors to come back, and hopefully, have existing members be more invigorated by their Westside experience. By now everyone should be aware that we are entering a new era, at least as far as Sunday services are concerned. Rev. Carol

has outlined what the changes are in her blog as well as at church. Our August potluck included the opportunity to provide feedback on these plans. Comments included concerns about the length of the combined service parts, issues with the children always being in the main service, and other things. Positive comments included the opportunity for RE teachers to be in the worship service and the use of more types of music. Most people seemed willing to give it a try, and actually, that's all we're asking. Nothing will be written in stone. We can always change things after further review and recalculating.

We are certainly not alone in having a diversity of views on how things should be done. I recently came across something that led me to an article by Tyler Edwards on the Christian website entitled What to Do When You Stop Liking Your Church. He says, "It's amazing how heated the preference battles in the church get. Everybody wants church to do things their way. ... No matter how you slice it, there are a lot of competing priorities in the church. These battling preferences drain the power of community." Some of this can be attributed to transitioning from a Family style church to a Pastoral one, which Westside is doing. Edwards goes on to say, "Everyone has an opinion. We have preferences and styles we like. The problem comes when those opinions and preferences collide in community. What makes it even more difficult is that it’s rarely an issue of right or wrong. It’s just what we like." Of course, it can probably be said that people in a UU church tend to have more varied opinions than most other churches. Edwards then brings in the focus on community. "We are expected to engage in the community of the church. When we have people from different walks of life, backgrounds, generations and cultures all meeting together in this diverse community of the church, it’s difficult to meet everyone’s personal preferences. .... The only way community can truly exist is if those who are a part of it care more about what is best for the group, or the mission of that community, than they do about their own personal preferences. A cohesive group of people with personal agendas and uncompromising beliefs (in regards to their preferences) can never exist. Think of the word community as having two parts: "common" and "unity." Without something in common, without unity, there is no community.

I believe we have a church with common unity dedicated to the seven UU principals. Together, we can accomplish great things.

Len Walker

President, Board of Trustees

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