Notes from the Worship Innovations Stakeholder Meeting

The May 17, 2018 Worship Innovations Stakeholder Meeting brought together 35 members of the congregation to comment on changes in our Sunday morning services. With the advent of a new minister, changes are highly likely. During the interim period it’s especially helpful for the congregation to experience changes and to use a stakeholder meeting format to share their perspectives. This will be a good strategy to use regarding changes a new settled Senior Minister may bring. The stakeholder meeting format is based on Adaptive Leadership dialogue circles, which have as one goal getting a variety of perspectives around the table so that members can see people they know offer their points of view.

A frequently mentioned topic on May 17 was the length of the silent meditation, with a number of members asking that it be longer. In response, the Ministers have lengthened the silence and plan to continue this practice. Another frequent topic was the use of TV monitors to show images and, occasionally, play a short video. Members attending the meeting had varying perspectives. Because there have been many comments received about the inability to see what’s on the screens, there’s a plan underway to mount a screen so that it’s more visible (but not permanently installed). The Ministers will schedule another Worship Innovations Stakeholder Meeting after a test of the more-visible screen.

In the meantime, members are encouraged to leave a comment in the Tell Us About It notebook, and to check out the scribe notes from the Worship Innovations Stakeholder Meeting:

Worship Innovations Stakeholder Meeting Scribe Notes from 05-17-18

Counting marks (“III”) after an entry indicates the number of others who said the same thing

  1. One of the changes I appreciate is:
    New TV monitors (don’t need glasses etc) IIIIIIII
    New OOS with announcement on separate sheet IIIII
    Celebrants – who get to be creative in speaking their own ideas
    Like more info about the authors of readings that are used
    Use of inclusive language
    Like kids reading the story
    Musicians who are adaptable
    Change in the components of the OOS—got us out of our rut
    Service feels richer with the additions to the OOS
    Move to an iPad so that everyone involved can see things, and make it possible to be out from behind the podium
    Like the use of technology—which doesn’t require paper and the podium
    Like the invitation to have people in the congregation involved in the service
    Intergenerational services
  2. One of the changes I find challenging is:
    Getting used to the change in technology
    The way the sacred words have been changed/modified
    Some sense of chaos—too many moving parts
    Too much stimulation—need more solid contemplative time
    Disjointed lineup in the OOS – IIII
    Last minute changes as a Celebrant is a challenge
    Missing more silent meditation and joys and concerns together
    Unreliable page turning on the monitor for songs
    Missing a reverent element in the service, iPad feels more scripted than things used to be, more disjointed the way things are put together. IIII
    Miss a calm time—and the stage feels more like a circus
    Feel over-stimulated and the service is more theatrical than contemplative
    It’s distracting to have to deal with the technology before the service and not get to focus on the music for that day
    There was a comfortable rut I was used to, and now this year that is gone.
    If I’m looking at the monitor then I’m not looking at the people—there are plus and minuses
    Separation of joys and concerns is a challenge.
    Would like more spirituality than technology
    Meditation seems rushed III
    Feels more frazzled before the service since the technology has fallen to just a couple of people
    Everything seems a little more complicated—it doesn’t feel like you can relax
    Misses youth doing music in the service
    Frustrated with people around me who do not participate
    Lighting Chalice too late in the service
    Sing Hymn of Valor more often
    Put Joys/concerns together
  3. [After discussion in pairs/triads] What is most important in making a worship service meaningful:
    The take-away from the sermon
    Community/family interaction on Sunday
    Personal growth
    Being in relationship
    Joys/Concerns together – authentic sharing
    Genuine personal stories and Odyssey
    Sermon message that applies to our own lives
    More meditation time that is not divided
    Simplifying services
    Emotional/spiritual/ intellectual sermons that help us live our best selves
    Want to have all aspects in service have common theme
    Getting a sense of peace, nurturing and intellectually challenging
    A sense of community that would come from sharing joys/concerns
  4. What things have been happening in Worship that you want to keep?
    Novelty elements [the things Celebrants have been adding?] Gathering song at the beginning, so people can get settled
    Children reading the story
    Hymn of Valor II
    Special music
    Meditation II
    Joys/concerns—liked when people were able to speak their own concerns
    Personal journey stories
    Bruce on piano
    Special music
    Kids who read the story
    Singing children out
    Celebrant reflections
    Keep kids in service until offertory
    Introduce the next thing in the service—Hymns etc.
    Theme each month
    Expanded role of Celebrants
    Traditional UU songs
    Hearing words of wisdom in readings from people all over the world
    Faith in Action partners talked about in the service
    Trees [as I look out the windows] Coffee hour
  5. How do you feel as we end this session?