Overview

BCCUCC is excited to embark on a church revitalization program in conjunction with the Center for Progressive Renewal. This process began in September, 2017, and will continue for approximately 18 months. It consists of two separate phases, an assessment phase and an implementation phase, which are described in more detail below.

Now some will ask, “Aren’t we vital already?A New Thing We’re doing lots of great stuff!” Absolutely! We are. However, we cannot ignore that churches across our country are struggling and closing at an unprecedented rate. We are not immune to the changes happening in the culture around us. If we want to remain vital to our community (God’s community) then we need to continually be proactive in understanding what God calls us to in every day and age.

Our Renewal Team

  • Larry Ashley
  • Tom Colby
  • Erik Ela
  • Marion Fodor
  • Helen Schall
  • Heather Williamson
  • Rev. Dale Azevedo

Feel free to contact any members of the Renewal Team with questions you may have. We are here to help this process move smoothly.

Our Consultants

Our first consultant is Dr. William “Bill” McKinney. Bill is the formerMcKinney President and Professor of American Religion at Pacific School of Religion(PSR) in Berkeley, California, the oldest theological seminary in the American West. Bill McKinney is a sociologist of religion by training and also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ(UCC). His research interests include Protestant congregational dynamics, and the recent history and prospects for Mainline Protestant denominations. At PSR from July 1986 to June 2010, Bill McKinney was previously Dean of Hartford Seminary. His focus areas are strategic planning, endowment strategies, leadership and systems dynamics, governance, and community trends and demographics.

Our second consultant (church coach, really) is Rev. Steve Sterner. Steve Sterner is an ordained UCC pastor with over thirty years experience as a local church pastor. He has served in a variety of churches across the United States. Prior to his first retirement, Steve served as the Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries in the UCC National Setting. His areas of focus include stewardship and finance, church structure and governance, congregational renewal, emerging trends in faith communities, and combining mission and growth.

Phase 1

Phase 1 lasted about 2 months. It began with our consultant visiting BCCUCC for a long weekend (Sept. 28 – Oct 1). During that weekend, Bill met with the Renewal Team, community leaders, the church staff, most importantly the members of our congregation. Bill conducted a series of listening sessions where he will learned about who we are, what our community is like, the challenges we face, and what our hopes and dreams are for the future. Through these sessions, Bill met with over 90 members of our church and leaders in the community. We thank everyone who participated in this phase as it was essential that Bill get to know you, because you are the church!

Phase 1 officially wrapped up in November of 2017 at our Church Council meeting as the Council, along with the Renewal Team, received the final version of our Assessment Report, and had a video conference call with Bill. Bill was joined by Rev. Gregg Carlson (Dir. oif Contracted Services from CPR) and Steve (our second consultant). We had a wonderful informative conversation and were able to ask many questions of the report and process going forward.

Following that meeting, the Renewal Team distilled the information we received and prepared a condensed report to share with the congregation. Both that condensed report as well as the “full” Assessment Report are available to the congregation. Links to those reports are here:

             

Phase 2

Now in the early stages of Phase 2, the Renewal Team, Church Council, and Steve are working closely together to determine which recommendations would be most valuable to our congregation and then establish a plan of action from which to move forward. We anticipate this entire phase to last approximately 12 months. However, we plan to prioritize the recommendations or “Areas of Opportunity” by early January. As of now, the list is (in no particular order):

     Some key areas of opportunity

  1. Finances (exploring income streams)
    1. Endowment (growing)
    2. Stewardship (changing our approach funding ministry)
    3. Monetize assets (using the building to not only reach out, but to raise funds)
  2. Facilities
    1. Maintenance (creating a long-term plan)
    2. Usage (How are our facilities going to be utilized to live out our mission?)
  3. Congregational and Community Development (3 Legged Stool)
    1. Witness (to members and community)
    2. Nurture (members and community),
    3. Attract (new members or community participation)

 

If you would like to share your input on what you feel are the priorities we should be focusing on, feel free to email the church office or Rev. Dale.

Throughout the remainder of the year, Steve will meet regularly with the Renewal team, the Ministers, and other church leaders (dependent upon the recommendations accepted) to coach us through the action plan. We also hope to have Steve come visit BCCUCC for a long weekend. We look forward to your input, feedback, and participation in this ongoing process.

Your Participation

We really hope that you will choose to participate fully in the Church Renewal Process. The members and friends of BCCUCC are the lifeblood of our ministry. It is through you, your faith, and your response to God’s call in your life, that we exist. God has been working through us for over 300 years and we pray that God will continue to do so for 300 more and beyond.