From the Western Regional Fall Gathering

This month UCE President Karen Mills and I and several other UCE folk attended the Western Regional Fall Gathering. We were introduced to Rev. John Pentland, a United Church minister who has led the transformation of his 60 member congregation to one of over 600 people. He was our keynote speaker and a workshop leader who gave an overview of his book “Fishing Tips”.

We bought several copies to share amongst Board members and others to see if there are ideas that could be useful around here. Mostly he speaks about keeping the things that work and letting go of traditions ideas and programs that don’t serve us anymore. The encouraging part of his book (which I have not yet finished) is that it seems we have already done some things – like streamlining or deleting some committees and creating focused task groups as needed, using more contemporary music, creating programs that serve present needs, celebrating what we do and engaging with the wider community.

To me it feels like his book will offer us useful tweaks on which we can build. We are doing the right things overall, and that’s encouraging. This month we will try an experiment with the children’s program having our younger community members spend more time with their parents in church. That way the leaders of our children’s programs get to be part of our communities and parents get to spend some time in the service with their kids sharing the idea of what ‘church’ is.

Will it work? We don’t know. Must it work? No. If it’s a good idea it will survive and be improved and if it does not suit us, we will drop it.

See you in Church!