A too-often overlooked spiritual practice rests in how we make the decisions guiding our common life. Our democratic process – known as congregational polity – requires that we inform one another, remain transparent, communicate clearly, be open to criticism, and treat one another with love and respect when we disagree.
Clarity in roles and lines of authority are necessary for minister, staff, elected and volunteer leaders. We work to help congregations develop the clear policies and procedures that keep us grounded in loving service, even as we hold one another accountable. When disagreements become more pointed, careful church leadership restores the covenant between those expressing opposing sides. We are devoted to this kind of wise governance and administration, and see it as central to the success of the Congregation's mission.
Stewardship is so much more than finances. Taking care of the house and grounds, volunteering to serve the mission; keeping electronic systems functioning; updating policies and procedures; identifying and training new leaders – all of these and more comprise how we steward or 'take care' of the congregation and one another.
Sound finances are also vital. We are both very comfortable talking about money. We pledge to the churches we serve and we talk about pledging openly. If we are encouraged by the stewardship team, we share the details of our gifts, inviting others to generous financial stewardship. We strive to tithe in our total giving; we donate at least 10% of our income, before taxes.
One of the most common reasons cited by people for joining a congregation is “Community.” There is a growing level of isolation in America; one role of religion is to assuage that isolation. Through Small Group Ministry we offer connection. Through concerts, classes, and forums we build community, enrich minds, and honor beauty. Through pastoral care and social events we deepen our relationships. Through community outreach programs we instill pride in our mission. Church happens seven days a week, within and beyond the walls of the building.
We are dedicated to offering access to community through diverse programming – vespers services, young adult worship, earth-based spirituality, interfaith explorations, Sound Bath healing meditations, and so on. The life of the community is always changing. We listen to the congregations needs and help the congregation build the social and program life that will enable the experience of meaningful community.
THE ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION THAT MAKES OUR SHARED MINISTRY POSSIBLE