Here’s the good news: our congregation is experiencing growth. In 2015 we welcomed 66 new adult members to our church family. Those 66 adults brought 31 children with them. This means that a third of the new faces gracing our flock over the last year are young people. This trend is likely to continue. Our weekly Sunday morning attendance has seen a growth rate of about 5% per year over the last two years.
Now here’s the challenge: as much as our kids are a sign of our vibrancy, there is an added cost. We require more child care staff (that must have experience, be properly vetted and trained). We require more supplies and accrue more programming costs. We must recruit and train more volunteers. And we have to continue to nurture and expand our adult religious education opportunities as well. Compounding this is the hard truth that families with children tend to have less disposable income, generating a greater relative financial obligation all around.
But fear not! This is the right problem to have. Over time, that relative financial burden will diminish. All the while we’ll watch a generation of little UU’s become young adult UU’s, who turn into adult UU’s with kids of their own. We are like a garden in the early spring. Lots of shoots are emerging. Lots of work must be done now. But we’ll have tomatoes come summer.
Today, for our Stewardship efforts, we, as a congregation must dig a little deeper. We’ll depend on everyone to reflect on the message coming from our Stewardship Committee: “We are family”. A central Unitarian value is captured in the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”. Our Religious Education Committee simply wants to remind you that we’re a growing village with lots of children. Which is just as it should be.
Religious Education Committee Chairman