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#1 of 89 Old 03-21-2010, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome to the Spring support, community, information, conversation, and fun thread for UUs and UU curious.

Here is the link to the previous Winter thread.

Come on in and say "Hi", ask a question, tell a story, or feel free to just lurk for awhile.

Yesterday, the first day of Spring, I woke up to see . . . SNOW! At least two inches of snow was covering the ground. Nevertheless, with Robert Browning:

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I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.
Wishing you all a season of growth, beauty, peace, joy, and love.



Adele

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#2 of 89 Old 03-21-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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Yay spring!!!

I'm in Spain so our spring weather said hello to us by being an average of 70+ degrees! Haha. It was a nice change to two months of straight rain in January and February! :P

I've been deprived of the UU church I usually go to. It's about Catholicism over here in Granada! Two more months and I'll be home though. Can't wait to go to church then!

~Lisha
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#3 of 89 Old 03-21-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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thank you for starting the thread Adele! I'm in southern California so we have beautiful spring weather, upper 70's and a nice cool breeze. But I guess crap weather is the price you have to pay for living in a great progressive state like Iowa.

I'm loving that it is spring, a time for renewal and rebirth. I feel great things on the horizon for my church, and for my faith.
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#4 of 89 Old 03-21-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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I'm having such an AMAZING time. Seriously. Around 40 UU, UCC, RJ and other youth and adults discussion comprehensive sex ed? AMAZING. Tomorrow we lobby. Tonight we're alternating between all watching Health Care stuff and discussing OWL/Sacred Choices.

AHHHHHH. I don't wanna LEAVE! Tonight we broke into groups and my group spent the whole time talking about the principles and stuff. It was awesome.
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#5 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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Subbin'... Hooray, spring! DD and I celebrated the equinox by dyeing some eggs with beets, greens, turmeric, and blueberries. We went for a meadow walk to spot all the little flowers blooming, sauteed some wild creasy greens with wild garlic, and had a picnic of the dyed eggs and the dye foods next to our daffodil patch. A fantastic day.

Sooo... Easter is coming up and it is my least favorite of the holidays. Not sure of a PC way to say this: the gory death on the cross stuff creeps me out, especially when I see it used as leverage to promote guilt and shame, like in the passion movie. I try to focus on the good things about spring and to be tolerant, but it's hard when I'm surrounded by fundamentals. I'm newly UU so I'm still learning, and any suggestions for opening my perspective of easter or being more tolerant this time of year are appreciated. (And if this is not an appropriate topic, feel free to say so!)
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#6 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome all the subbies to the new thread. I'm glad it sounds like your Springs are starting out much more springy than mine!

Treehugz: Totally appropriate topic, IMO. I have had Christians tell me about how Easter is their favorite holiday and I have never been able to understand it really. I have also tried to focus on the Spring/new life/rebirth parts of Easter. I love Christmas for many non-Christian reasons, but I have always been able to get behind the joy of the season for Christians as well - the birth of Jesus - understanding how that is joyous is pretty easy. Jesus' death - not so much. At least not for me.

It has been a few years now, but I still go back and reread an Easter sermon my minister gave that I thought, and still think, was amazing. It is one possible UU perspective on Easter that is much more than just bunnies and flowers. It is "dark" in some ways, intentionally so, but I find it very inspiring. I hope you like it: Choosing to Live

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#7 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to a UU Church for the first time the Sunday before last, and am thinking about going back this weekend (I was busy last Sunday with some Real Estate stuff.) I had to cut out early because of a personal emergency, but I really enjoyed meeting everyone and listening to the messages that were preached, they really seemed to resonate with me and reflect human values rather than specific, doctrinal values. The people were very nice and interesting. This group was mostly very elderly folks, and I was wondering if this was normal, as there didn't seem to be anybody my age (23) there at all.
While I would love to say that your experience is not "normal" at all, you are not the only person to have noticed being the youngest adult at a UU Church. ziggy mentioned the same concern in the Winter Thread as well

I believe keeping our youth is an acknowledged problem in Unitarian Universalism and people are working at both the association and congregation levels to do better by our young people. UU gets a large number of its members from people who did NOT grow up UU, and there is a stereotype that I'm sure has more than a grain of truth that people come to or return to a UU church when they have children because they are looking for a spiritual community for their kids.

Still, while my medium-to-large congregation (around 400 members) probably does not have a proportional number of young members, there are still a significant number. I think it helps to live in a community with Universities and colleges. If your church offers more than one service you could try a different time. At my church you see a mix at all three services, but the proportion of families with young or school-age children is higher at the second Sunday service and the proportion of young adults is higher at the Saturday evening service.

I am glad you enjoyed yourself anyway and found you could relate to the messages. I hope you continue to attend. Maybe in the future other young people will be discovering UU and your presence will make their first visit more comfortable.

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#8 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Would this be a good thread to ask general questions about UU for a complete newbie?
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#9 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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Would this be a good thread to ask general questions about UU for a complete newbie?
It's the perfect thread for that.

~Lisha
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#10 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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Thank you! I am an atheist (most devout!) and my partner is christian, converted methodist but not practicing in over a decade.
Is the UU someplace that might welcome a strange little family like ours?
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#11 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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Thank you! I am an atheist (most devout!) and my partner is christian, converted methodist but not practicing in over a decade.
Is the UU someplace that might welcome a strange little family like ours?
Yep, in fact, you may find other partners with similar spiritual make-up, making you and yours unstrange. unstrange? it's a word today!

Vojerleda :yawning, sahp to (03/06)dd1 and (11/08) dd2 , married & living on the border w/dh .
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#12 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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Yep, in fact, you may find other partners with similar spiritual make-up, making you and yours unstrange. unstrange? it's a word today!
It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
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#13 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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I believe keeping our youth is an acknowledged problem in Unitarian Universalism and people are working at both the association and congregation levels to do better by our young people. UU gets a large number of its members from people who did NOT grow up UU, and there is a stereotype that I'm sure has more than a grain of truth that people come to or return to a UU church when they have children because they are looking for a spiritual community for their kids.
This is always a timely topic. I was recently asked by our worship committee to help them with ideas on how to attract younger people. I think it's a struggle in ANY faith, honestly- but we've got some colleges and universities down here; we should be doing better with yout's. I'm prepared to handle young adults/teens when they come- but getting them here...

At any rate, at my fellowship we are entering a new season in LOTS of ways- we just had our annual meeting, so we have new officers; and the ministerial couple (team if you will) that has helped us for the past few years are retiring, so now we are beginning the hunt. We are also planning on adding to the church, so we're in the grant research /architectural planning phase.

Vojerleda :yawning, sahp to (03/06)dd1 and (11/08) dd2 , married & living on the border w/dh .
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#14 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
UU services vary greatly from place to place. I can tell you how ours goes, here in deep South TX (UUFHC) our service opens w/ a chime or bell, or singing bowl. A prelude is played, the welcome is given, we have just incorporated a physical greeting which involves standing up and saying hi to people around you (passing the peace, anyone ? ). Then the order goes like this:

lighting chalice (read in unison while our chalice is lit by a member)
hymn (these are great.a few sound like Christian hymns, but the words are way more inclusive)
Time for All Ages- a story is read for the children, but the adults usually love it more; directly after this, our children go to the RE building.
Joys and Concerns- walk up, share joy/concern, and light a candle. completely voluntary, and you don't have to be a member to do it.
readings- inspirational passages chosen from a variety of religious texts, philosophical works, and other sources.
meditation- like it sounds
offering- members gotta pay the light bill- visitors aren't expected to give
message- the 'sermon,' but the topics are CRAZY-varied. If you don't like one week's message, come back the next week because it'll be completely different.
closing hymn
announcements
coffee time!
Frequently, snacks are included. People like to cook. Occasionally a potluck ensues but I know at our church you can stay and eat even if you don't bring anything- there's always plenty.


In many ways, it would remind your partner of other protestant Christian services he's been to, in loose structure anyway. But the content is UU.

Vojerleda :yawning, sahp to (03/06)dd1 and (11/08) dd2 , married & living on the border w/dh .
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#15 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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That is really helpful, Vojerleda, thank you!
I assume I would either be directed where to sit or I could just sit anywhere?
And I can just follow the prompts of those around me as far as what I should be doing with myself (physically) at any given point in the service?

I'm in DFW so if services are highly regional, I would think my local UU's would not be too far off from yours.

When you do give an offering, what is a normal amount? I would hate to offer something that is completely inappropriate, but I literally have no idea what would be appropriate.

Is coffee time a sort of social hour? One of the reasons we're interested is (as described above) because we're really looking for a sense of community that our lives are currently lacking, especially now that we've got a child on the way.
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#16 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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I'd like to say something about attracting/keeping young adults. Be welcoming, treat them as intelligent equals, and don't overwhelm them with how happy you are that there are one or two people in the 15-30 crowd at your church! I am no longer interested in attending services at the congregation I joined 2 years ago, b/c at least 50% of the population is over 60, and DH and I are the only regular members in the young-adult age group.

We met at the church, and some members seem to think that gives them a right to know everything about our lives. I'm a very private person, and it really bothers me to have so many people wanting to be in my business.

Sorry for the rant. I guess I just need some support right now. We have a new minister, and I'm not liking her as much as I expected to. I'm really disappointed, actually, in the direction the church seems to be taking. I had tried to take a leadership role, & help the congregation grow and adjust to the changes that growth requires, but that doesn't seem to be happening, and I'm feeling really disillusioned and burnt out.

Ru , wife to DH . Astin (4/26/10) & Ember (5/19/10).
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#17 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Heinleinesque!

I'm glad to see thread regulars are taking good care of you and answering your questions already!

As Vojerleda said, UU congregations do vary, though I bet you and your partner will feel welcome at most if not all. You can see if your local UU church(es) has/have a web page. The UUA Congregation Finder (upper right side of the page) can help with this. The congregation results from a search include links to church web pages. Most church web pages have information to help visitors feel more comfortable the first time they attend a service. Here is my church's page for new visitors. If the church you plan to visit does not have a web page you can always call first.

At my church you will be given an Order of Service - like a program - to let you know what to expect during the service. We also try to help new people out with phrases such as "Please stand as you are willing and able and join in singing Hymn #165" and "You may be seated".

I was raised without religion and had never attended church except for the occasional wedding and maybe once or twice with a grandparent when I was very small. I was pretty nervous the first time I went! But it was soooo worth it.

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#18 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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Thank you, Adele! I did find the website for my local UU, but it was, I think, arranged for someone with somewhat more church-experience than I have.

We're just really hoping for a community that is not just tolerant of but welcoming to those with alternative lifestyles.
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#19 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Oh, wow, it's neat that you have assisted hearing devices avaialable! That's great!
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#20 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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It's a good word

I have never attended church. I'd be afraid of doing the wrong thing from the outset - from the time I arrive to the clothes I wear to knowing when to stand up or sit down or ... whatever other mysterious stuff goes on behind closed church doors! What is a typical service like? What do I need to know before I go?
Mine is similar to the PP. The songs at my church were about everyone joining together and being "one", things like that. I actually want to sing at church, whereas at my Catholic church I would never sing because I didn't believe anything I was singing about. And I think my favorite part is that there is no cross at the front of the church! It's the chalice to symbolize unity. And I just love that. But yea, the rest of the order is like the PP.

~Lisha
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#21 of 89 Old 03-22-2010, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to say something about attracting/keeping young adults. Be welcoming, treat them as intelligent equals, and don't overwhelm them with how happy you are that there are one or two people in the 15-30 crowd at your church! I am no longer interested in attending services at the congregation I joined 2 years ago, b/c at least 50% of the population is over 60, and DH and I are the only regular members in the young-adult age group.

We met at the church, and some members seem to think that gives them a right to know everything about our lives. I'm a very private person, and it really bothers me to have so many people wanting to be in my business.

Sorry for the rant. I guess I just need some support right now. We have a new minister, and I'm not liking her as much as I expected to. I'm really disappointed, actually, in the direction the church seems to be taking. I had tried to take a leadership role, & help the congregation grow and adjust to the changes that growth requires, but that doesn't seem to be happening, and I'm feeling really disillusioned and burnt out.
Oh, Mother Cake, I'm so sorry things are not going well for you at your church right now. I don't really have any helpful advice, but feel free to vent here anytime you need.

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#22 of 89 Old 03-23-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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... at my Catholic church I would never sing because I didn't believe anything I was singing about. And I think my favorite part is that there is no cross at the front of the church!
Ditto this for me exactly!!!

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That is really helpful, Vojerleda, thank you!
I assume I would either be directed where to sit or I could just sit anywhere?
And I can just follow the prompts of those around me as far as what I should be doing with myself (physically) at any given point in the service?
At our church, the services are very casual and relaxed. There's a wide range of how people dress... some ladies wear "Sunday" dresses and others just wear jeans - I usually wear a casual skirt or slacks. When I come in the door, I go pick up the order of service on a table and someone may say hello to me or might not (I'm an introvert so this is good)... there are always people milling around at the entrance though if you wanted to meet people though. Then I find my own seat. There is no stand-up-and-greet-your-neighbor at our service, which I love - I HATE doing that at other churches (again, introvert ). The reverend does ask near the beginning if there are any visitors who are willing and wish to introduce themselves (but doesn't draw attention to anyone, so it's no pressure). Offerings are optional and our reverend always says that visitors aren't expected to give anything... they pass offering plates around so you would just pass the plate to the next person and not put anything in it. Usually we only stand to sing hymns (which is also optional and some people do sit) and the reverend tells you when. The whole service is relaxed and there is often a time at the end of the sermon for the congregation to discuss or make comments (totally voluntary and always interesting). Coffee hours are weird to me, so I don't usually stick around unless I want to talk to a specific person, but if you're a social creature it's probably a good way to start building community.

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It has been a few years now, but I still go back and reread an Easter sermon my minister gave that I thought, and still think, was amazing. Choosing to Live
Thanks Adele_Mommy, I'm going to read it right now to prepare for our easter week vacation with my fundamental in-laws!
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#23 of 89 Old 03-24-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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I just got back from a conference with 40 other UU, UCC, and RJ youth and their mentors/allies. It was awesome to just be around other spiritual youth. We had a blast, learned a lot, and it was just nice to prove to myself that I'm not alone in being a YA UU.

Attracting youth is super hard. I occasionally bring along a guy I live with, and have managed to bring other friends once or twice, but they don't really want to come often. And, really, I don't know what will attract youth. I go to the local college and there are some great people there, but having a local group of youth isn't necessarily key to getting youth into the space.

I have run into people not really respecting my ideas because of my age, but I'm also really used to being in situations with people much older than myself and having to advocate for myself, and proving to others that I really am an intelligent, sentient being. Sometimes it's hard, but I love my community and I'm willing to work to make it work.
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#24 of 89 Old 03-24-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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but I'm also really used to being in situations with people much older than myself and having to advocate for myself, and proving to others that I really am an intelligent, sentient being. Sometimes it's hard, but I love my community and I'm willing to work to make it work.
that's awesome!!! good determination and motivation!!!! Represent us youngens!!!

~Lisha
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#25 of 89 Old 03-24-2010, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just got back from a conference with 40 other UU, UCC, and RJ youth and their mentors/allies. It was awesome to just be around other spiritual youth. We had a blast, learned a lot, and it was just nice to prove to myself that I'm not alone in being a YA UU.

Attracting youth is super hard. I occasionally bring along a guy I live with, and have managed to bring other friends once or twice, but they don't really want to come often. And, really, I don't know what will attract youth. I go to the local college and there are some great people there, but having a local group of youth isn't necessarily key to getting youth into the space.

I have run into people not really respecting my ideas because of my age, but I'm also really used to being in situations with people much older than myself and having to advocate for myself, and proving to others that I really am an intelligent, sentient being. Sometimes it's hard, but I love my community and I'm willing to work to make it work.
That sounds like a wonderful conference! I'm really glad you had such a great experience.

Good for you advocating for yourself and sticking with your church. At every new member ceremony at my church my minister always says you do not truly become a member by signing a book. You truly become a member when the church disappoints you and you come back anyway. Even my own church, which I love so much and rave about endlessly, has disappointed me on occasion. Yes, yes, it's true.

This is not to say everyone should stick with a church no matter what, of course! I firmly believe church should be supportive and fulfilling and no one should feel obligated to stay with a church that is not meeting her needs. But all churches are going to have flaws simply because they are human communities.

ziggy - Is RJ Reformed Judaism? And did you have a mentor/ally from your church at the conference? Thanks for sharing your experiences on this thread. I really enjoy reading your posts.

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#26 of 89 Old 03-24-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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Yeah, RJ is reform Judaism. I didn't have any mentors from my church (or, um, the state of Maine!). The only people that had mentors were the under-18 folks, who had to have somebody over 18 with them.

But I'm bringing a bunch of information back to my congregation and next year I'm going to really really advocate for somebody else from my congregation to come with me.
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#27 of 89 Old 03-27-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Oh, Mother Cake, I'm so sorry things are not going well for you at your church right now. I don't really have any helpful advice, but feel free to vent here anytime you need.
Thank you so so so much for your support. I read your post the other night on DH's computer, & I wasn't logged in so I didn't respond right then, but it really helped.

I am getting some clarity on the situation. I really need to back away from this particular community for a while, but I don't want to sever ties just yet. Just focus my energy on other areas of my life.

Ru , wife to DH . Astin (4/26/10) & Ember (5/19/10).
I have lost my dreams--Dar Williams
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#28 of 89 Old 03-28-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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I've been staying away from my church because there are just too many negative changes going on.

I am, however, having a book fair there in a couple weeks. I just hope there are still enough families who attend that will buy some books/products.
At the very least, I hope some people donate some books to the RE program.

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#29 of 89 Old 03-30-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DaughterOfKali View Post
I've been staying away from my church because there are just too many negative changes going on.

I am, however, having a book fair there in a couple weeks. I just hope there are still enough families who attend that will buy some books/products.
At the very least, I hope some people donate some books to the RE program.
Oh I'm so sorry things aren't going well. Feel free to vent here if you wish.

I'm nervous and excited at the same time about our upcoming changes. we have a new board and a new minister beginning July 1st. My term on the board will be over. I both am relieved that I don't have to be on the board for the transition and wishing I was going to be a bigger part of the picture as we redefine our congregation.
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#30 of 89 Old 03-30-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so so so much for your support. I read your post the other night on DH's computer, & I wasn't logged in so I didn't respond right then, but it really helped.

I am getting some clarity on the situation. I really need to back away from this particular community for a while, but I don't want to sever ties just yet. Just focus my energy on other areas of my life.
I think that sounds like a good plan - no need to sever ties just yet, but give yourself some space. Good luck!

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