For all the latest news on the Renewal Process, .


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 two months. It began with our first 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

In the early stages of Phase 2, the Renewal Team, Church Council, and our consultant, Steve, discussed which recommendations would be most valuable to our congregation and created a Strategic Directions Document. This document outlines four areas of work: Congregational Care, Community Connection, Facility Development, and Funding for Ministry. A condensed copy of the Strategic Directions is linked to the right.

In March of 21018, we established seven “Strategic Teams” charged with working on various aspects of each of these different directions.  The seven teams were:

  • Congregational Care
  • Communication
  • Community Connection
  • Capital Improvement Plan
  • Mission and Building Use
  • Growing the Endowment
  • Creative Stewardship

After three months of work, the Strategic Teams reported back to one another on their findings. And at our annual meeting, June 10, 2018, the Renewal Team gave a summary of these reports.

What’s Next?

Throughout the summer of 2018, the Renewal Team met regularly with Steve to review and process all this information. In September we released a statement celebrating all the work that we have done so far and the ministries that are beginning to take shape. In October, we will share a list of “big ticket” recommendations with the Church Council for their consideration. At that same time, we have number of our strategic recommendations that need further research and consideration by the congregation. We will be tapping on many of our gifted members and friends to help us refine these ideas.

Your Participation

We are so thankful for everyone who has participated in the process so far. We had over 90 people meet with Bill at the beginning and over 35 people participating in the Strategic Teams this spring. We really hope that you will continue 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.