It’s that time of year again: congregational meetings, budgeting, and canvass campaigns. At the end of this month, we will be meeting to discuss the health and vitality of our community, and make plans for next year. As many of you know, we will need to do some trimming for the coming year. We have depleted our reserve fund, and need to step back and readjust so we have a more sustainable financial picture. But here’s the most important thing you need to know:
WE ARE DOING GREAT!
Westside is in fact a very normal UU Church. Did you know that the vast majority of UU churches have fewer than 100 members? A report a few years ago showed that over 500 of our congregations are the smallest size (less than 100) while the next size up (from 100-250 members) only had just over 300 churches. Our ‘small’ size in no way means we’re doing anything wrong; in fact, in our area, it is a great strength. People often tell me that they’re looking for a smaller church, and for those who want something different than our larger UU neighbor churches in Oak Ridge and Knoxville, we just fit the bill. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t growing at all, either.
Here are some things that matter about the current state of our church:
We are growing in numbers: We in fact reported a larger number of members this year than last year (up from 97 to 107)
We are growing in stability: We have done a great job of creating important new teams that will stabilize our volunteer and financial resources, including the Stewardship Team and the Caring Connections Team
We are growing in financial well-being: Despite a need to readjust the budget, we are still ‘growing’ financially. The Stewardship Team is taking a long-term look at ways to increase our revenue, and our staff is poised to start acting on those initiatives.
We are growing as a community: The Committee on Ministry is a healthy, functioning group that is working in close alignment with the Board to make Westside strong as a religious and relational community.
That we need to do some readjusting is not a sign that we have done anything wrong. In fact, it’s more likely a sign that we are doing something right. We are taking stock of our resources, and thinking practically while also continuing to commit to growth in all sorts of ways. So please come to the March 25 congregational meeting with enthusiasm and hope, because we have a lot to celebrate, and a lot to look forward to.
In faith and hope,