Engaging essays from Unitarian Universalist leaders in the field show creative ways to transform and “upcycle” the main ingredients of our congregations into something relevant, innovative, and new.

Product Code: 7395
ISBN: 9781558968158
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 112
Size: 8.5 x 5.5
Published Date: 04/17/2018
Availability:In stock
Price: $15.00

Enhancing the quality of congregational life doesn’t always require huge outlays of time and treasure. There are many ways we can “upcycle” the things we already do in our churches, with resources we already have. These nine engaging essays from Unitarian Universalist leaders in the field show creative ways to transform the main ingredients of our congregations into something relevant, innovative, and new.

“These authors are people like you—real-life congregational and religious leaders who have found a way to make new wine from old wineskins, attracting new growth and vitality where things had gotten a little dim and dusty. In one case, it was a simple as flipping worship and coffee hour—inviting people to attend coffee hour as the main event on Sunday. In another example, new vitality came when the leaders became laser-focused on a mission and started telling a new story about themselves that made them the heroes of their own story rather than bystanders helpless to effect change.

You don’t have to start from scratch to bring vitality to your congregation. You don’t have to take it all on at once. There are simple, yet profound ways you can use the riches you already have around you to create fun, relevance, vitality, and beauty in your religious community.”
—from the Introduction by Sarah Lammert

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The New Revised Standard Version of Our Story
Vanessa Rush Southern

Making It Matter
Christanna Willie McKnight

Generations Together
Tandy Scheffler

Beloved Community
Julica Hermann de la Fuente

Worship Alive
Ken Beldon and Lee Paczulla

Contemporary Worship Here?
Elizabeth Norton

Upcycling Our Hymn Singing
Donald Milton III

Coffee Hour Central
Seth Fisher

Join Our Cause, Not Our Club
Carey McDonald and Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

About the Contributors

“The world looks different today than it did fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago. The way that we experience community has changed, and in order to fulfill our potential as institutions of faith, hope, and reflection, we too must change. This does not mean that we lose our values or who we are theologically. But it does mean that the world will develop, and we have the choice of developing with it or not. Our congregations can keep exemplifying the values that were highlighted in churches thirty or forty years ago—the values of being quiet, and the traditions of separating children from worship, the idea that the church of the poor and the church of the rich were not the same places. We could do that. But, today, our values are different. What I hear from my congregation is that we value authenticity. We value the ability to connect with new people because we don’t know all that many and want to meet more. We value being with people who understand why the plight of the homeless makes us sad, and in a place where we can work every day to make the world a better place.

Of course, it looks and feels different than it used to. And there is still, as I suspect there always will be in ministry, much more work to do. But today, we are doing so many things that matter, and because of that, our church, along with so many others, is creating a new kind of hope, a new kind of Unitarian Universalism. Built on where we have come from, we are finding new ways to matter and to meet the needs of our hungry world. The mission can guide us to new ways to matter, to transform, and to connect that we have not yet dreamed of.”
—Christanna Willie McKnight, “Making it Matter”

Wondering about your congregation’s future? Asking yourself “how will your congregation change to meet the needs of the 21st century?” Thinking that Church is dead? Upcycle Your Congregation has some answers for you. If you are a religious professional or a lay leader this book will spark ideas about how your congregation can make changes to infuse it with a new energy while capitalizing on the good energy you have. Each of the writers brings real life experiences that we can learn from. We don’t have to do what they did, but they will get you thinking in different ways about your congregation. Easy to read and full of wisdom, it contains good news for the future of our Unitarian Universalist brick and mortar congregations. Church is alive!
—Rev. Cheryl M. Walker, President, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
(also: Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Wilmington)

What a wonderful gift Sarah Lammert has assembled for Unitarian Universalists. Your congregation will benefit from the wisdom and experience of these essayists. Their innovative upcycling of numerous staples of congregational life—from the community’s stories and justice-making partnerships to hymn singing and even coffee hour—may provide the spark that sustains your congregation’s journey toward beloved community. In these pages you will find the imagination and creativity that many have been looking for. I urge you to read and explore this book and then generate your own upcycled ideas and programs as a way to restore and engage Unitarian Universalism’s promise.
—Rev. Fredric Muir, editor of Turning Point: Essays on a New Unitarian Universalism

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