AJ Blackwood, M.Div.
Prairie UU Church
“A Liberal Religious Light on the Prairie”
Mission: “We gather as a welcoming, caring community to nurture mind and spirit, celebrate diversity, and work for justice.”
Where we are…
Happy New Year! First I would like to thank all of you for your generous, and spirited support and participation over the holiday season. We had a wonderful turn out for the Christmas Decorating Party, Christmas Eve, and Kwanzaa. I am looking forward to this month of celebration of our theme of Freedom.
As we enter this new year, I would like to remind you all to join me in the Constructive Theology and Creative Expression Class beginning on Saturday, January 11th. It will be a 10-week workshop with lively conversation, in-depth reflection, and an opportunity for an imaginative creative outlet and expression.
I am also very excited to see the energy behind some of our small group ministries that are forming. We will be starting a Men’s Group very soon led by Dave L. I will be hosting a People of Color group starting on January 15th. Cindy W and Fran L are now in the formation of a Covenant of UU Pagans spirituality group that will be focusing time and attention on developing events based on the year’s turning of the Wheel.
I am looking forward to our Learning Hour times together with the 1st Sunday NewUU discussions and either 2nd or 3rd Sunday, Reading with Pastor AJ. Each of these times will be designed to have a “continuing conversation” feel in connection with one of the Sunday worship topics and/or themes for the month.
Where we are going…
Last month I announced that we would be working in the following areas. I am happy to provide these updates:
- Establishing new administrative and financial process flows with Rhonda and Renee – In development still. We are happy to host our “1st in a while” finance committee meeting on January 8th. These meetings will be regularly scheduled at 6:00 pm on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.
- Developing a new Sunday base multimedia format – Completed! We rolled out a new format on Christmas and January 5th. Thank you to Mary S for all your help.
- Developing a new format for our Announcement sheets – Completed! The new Announcements were rolled out on January 5th. Thank you again to Mary S. There is some room to grow on this but we are off to a great start and have received lots of positive feedback.
- Purchasing and rollout of the Congregational software. The software was purchased on January 8th. Thank you to Rhonda W and Renee L for all your hard work in making this happen. We will start data conversion this week.
- Finalizing 2020 scheduling. We are pretty solid with Services and other events through June 2020. We are now going to start to look at scheduling large events as of July 1.
Developing small group identity groups. In progress and on-going. We have three new groups actively in formation at this time and at least two more in conversation.
Room to Grow
New things on the plate for this month:
- Hospitality – We are currently still struggling in this area. We will be looking at a new committee based structure that will request that one or more committees commit to one Sunday a month for hospitality including, food, set-up, teardown. Cindy W, Fran L, Brenda P, and Iris V. have committed to being Fellowship Host once a month.
- Associates – I am looking forward to restarting and re-envisioning our program in a way that is aligned with the work of the Visioning and Appreciative Inquiry work that was completed over the last 2 years. All are invited to the 1st meeting on January 12th.
I continue to invite you all to give me your input, feedback, candor, and generosity of spirit, and I will return with the same. I am truly enjoying our shared ministry and life here at PrairieUU. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to spend this time with you.
If anyone would like to meet and chat, I am here to serve and I look forward to our shared time together. Thank you for inviting me into both your community and lives.