This is the time in our worship service where we invite the congregation to respond. If you are a visitor to UBC, and you feel like you’ve found a church home here, you are invited to come forward during the next hymn and talk to one of the ministers about joining the church. But we also invite everyone to respond to God’s call.
Much like the season of Advent is a time of reflection and anticipation, this season at UBC is a time to reflect upon our past and upon what we love about UBC, and to anticipate what the future here will be. During the last several months, we’ve had opportunities for conversations in which we’ve acknowledged what we love about UBC, remembered times we’ve “said yes” to the church, and reflected on why those things are important in binding our church family together. We love the community, the intergenerational relationships, the progressive beliefs, the beautiful music, the intellectual conversations, the opportunities to serve, and the wonderful staff that we have.
Taking all of that together, our committee is working with Daniel to discern — what’s next? Where does this lead? What is the Spirit of God calling us to do together? As you have heard through conversations and sermons, we are sensing a desire to partner with others in our community to further the mission of our church. And we are hearing excitement about maximizing the use of our space in ways that align with our beliefs — whether as a performance venue, co-working space, or a place for different groups to gather — as well as leveraging our property and assets to create the social justice we seek in Austin. It is clear to the Discernment Committee that there is a new energy around these possibilities. We also perceive a yearning to find ways to join our personal stories with the great story that has been shared with us in this place so that we might bring good news to our wider community.
The new year will bring additional conversations for further discernment among the deacons and church council, as well as inquiries into our worship and communications. I invite you to consider what is becoming clear to you about UBC, and where does that lead? Have a conversation with one of our committee members — Anna Strickland, Jody Joyner, Paul Taylor, Richard Moore, or me — and share your thoughts about our future, and the possibilities that you sense.
We have experienced community, love, family, and acceptance here at UBC. How will we share that with people who haven’t yet come into our doors? How can we be a blessing to those who may never participate in Sunday worship? What do you have to share that will contribute meaningfully to our neighborhood and city?