Invitation to Congregational Conversation
at February 18 Potluck Lunch
If you remember, back in October we had a Congregational Conversation at our monthly potluck lunch. We talked about the concept of stewardship and how it might apply at Westside. Members of the Board of Trustees and the Committee on Ministry told you about some ideas we had come up with on the subject, and we asked you to tell us what you thought about them and to share your own ideas. Thank you for your amazing input!
We've spent the months since then reviewing what you told us and thinking about how to implement your ideas most effectively. We've already taken the first step by creating a Stewardship Committee that will oversee the program over the long haul. That new committee has been working with the board to translate those ideas into a program of actions that will help ensure Westside's sustainability and strength.
Many of the ideas you came up with in October are excellent recommendations for increasing our income from sources outside the church. You suggested capitalizing on our beautiful (but often empty) building through initiatives such as promoting Westside as a wedding venue, seeking out community groups who need a regular meeting/gathering place, initiating a child-care or elder-care program, putting on a series of events (concerts, lectures, games, food events, etc.) that would attract a paying audience, and many more. You suggested other activities, such as rummage sales, book/CD sales, and car washes, that would provide services to both Westsiders and outsiders.
We also asked you in October for your ideas on a possible mortgage-reduction campaign. Your input was mixed. Some thought this was a good idea that could get Westsiders focused on a single issue. But others felt that church members were already contributing as much as they comfortably could and that this additional request would be too burdensome. Clearly, we need more discussion before we can figure out whether and how to proceed on this initiative.
As I said earlier, the Stewardship Committee and the board are working on these issues and hope to come up with a draft plan of action soon. Our thinking is still evolving as I write this blog to meet the publication deadline, but our current idea is to approach stewardship as an ongoing program that will have different components over time. As a purely hypothetical example, we might start out by promoting the church as a wedding site, then, when that is going well, add periodic concerts, then book sales, then . . . The result being that the Stewardship Committee would always be looking for ways to increase our revenues while never forgetting that the primary purpose of this church is to serve the spiritual needs of its members.
Please plan to join us at the potluck lunch on February 18 for a follow-up Congregational Conversation on stewardship. We will introduce the members of the new Stewardship Committee, and the committee and the board will share their ideas with you and, most importantly, ask for your ideas on how to make Westside even stronger and more successful.
See you on the 18th!