Interested in giving feedback? Looking for help with new church

As you may know, I’m planning a new Universalist Christian church, and I’m working on a document that describes it shape and mission, particularly in light of the by-laws revision that passed at General Assembly this year. It’ll take a second passing vote — pretty darn likely — and conceives of non-local congregations within the UUA. (PDF; see page 1, line 131.)

I am, admittedly, thinking of a hybrid. So with the distinct theology that this new congregation brings and a generally dormant culture of evangelism, I thought it a good idea to gather a team to reflect and advise me.

Your thoughts?

8 Replies to “Interested in giving feedback? Looking for help with new church”

  1. Hey Scott,

    I would love to attend a Universalist Christian church, and am glad you’re starting one (even if DC is too far to drive for me). My feedback is I’m wanting to hear an evocative name–the name sets the identity and signals the core story and mission better than any clear statement of intent, I believe. And I guess a sense of who are you in service to/with. A particular neighborhood? (Though I guess if you’re doing the non-local congregation, your mission isn’t necessarily a “neighborhood” church…) Anyway, I’ll be out here, eager to hear how things unfold….


  2. Scott, I would love to know more about your project. I’ve been somewhat dormant in UU Christian circles in the last few years but with some major changes in my life that will change. I frankly think we have a lot more to offer the world from our Universalist roots.

  3. Speaking of non-local and hybrid, have you checked out Darkwood Brew?
    It is hard to describe, but is a local group in Omaha, fairly emergent and progressive I would say, leans UCC but not sure if identifies that way, that has a jazz church service Sunday nights with music, lectio divina type prayer, and discussion, and the speaker is almost always skyped in from somewhere else, and the whole service is streamed with a very lively chat function for those of us elsewhere. I have attended twice and find it truly revolutionary. You should definitely check it out at least once.

  4. I attended online by the way, just to make that clear, but must say I totally felt “in attendance” if that makes any sense at all. I think it was the lively chat during the whole service that made it feel that way for me. If you are one who ever wanted to carry on side conversations in church through whispers or writing on pew pads, this is your dream come true.

  5. At the very least, it is a church — “non-local congregation” can be a tautology, but “congregation” is the term in vogue — that has members in more than its immediate parish, or abandons the idea of a parish for a distributed network of connections. Churches have long had “away” members but these rarely have vital, responsive connections to the main body. Some careful correspondents managed in the age before rapid communication, so it needn’t been seen as an online phenomenon, though it is obvious helped by the technology. A better way to distinguish between non-local churches is whether they even have a core, or if it’s primarily network. The Church of the Larger Fellowship comes to mind; the bylaw change habilitates it from legal fiction, making it possibly the first (chronologically) before others.

  6. I was thinking a “local” congregation was a tautology, but maybe that’s what you meant. Whether the Church of the Larger Fellowship “congregates” corporately is an interesting question (it may congregate partially, nonsynchronously and in multiple places– but perhaps that means it’s multiple congregations). Whether it is a church (or at least could be) seems less of a problematic question.

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