Some things to keep in mind
This is so important - we are still trying to shift our culture to year-round church...and it's not easy. I think more and more, ministers are trying to not take the Whole Summer Off to support that. And it is still hard to know we have to actively ask people to come during the summer just to get a quorum.
And I'm glad you had people there - I know how important this Sunday's service was for you. <3
You hit nearly every priority for worship, and this edition of “Hold” should be required reading for the ones filling all the roles you listed.
I would add one more after this past weekend when I was part of planning worship: fill the house.
Summer services in so many of our congregations are lightly attended and distinctly more casual than during the season’ but it doesn’t have to be so. Shouldn’t be actually. There are often interesting and guest speakers and with a slower pace time for socialization after the service are real benefits of Summer at a UU congregation.
I wanted a full house this past Sunday so I personally invited 50 people I really wanted to see. 25 came and others let me know they were away or had guests. But they came and not alone. Some hadn’t been in our sanctuary for 9 years. Others not since 2020. Having them there was like a reunion and the buzz in the foyer both before and after the service was energized with conversations and hugs.
Lots of reminders on social media posts both by me and the worship leader brought in others.
Invite, invite, invite and it has to be personal not just an announcement of coming events.
The “regulars” who come every week were also reminded of how important their presence is. I attended services the week before and asked everyone who I could talk to after the service to please come next week.
Having a full house was a real delight for the people who were attending for the first time. They saw a vibrant, friendly, and welcoming place and they surely made it known to several of us how excited they were to have found TUUCW. Having a full house was a big boost for the participants in the service - the ministers, the musicians, the worship associates and tech team too.
I read in today’s NYTIMES about the dire circumstances facing Harlem’s once vibrant Mother AME Zion Church, the oldest Black church in NY City. Attendance has declined to just dozens and grants for the old building repairs don’t get to the shrinking membership core of the decline.
Filling the house doesn’t happen because we wish it so, neither does the quality of the worship experience for those who attend. Sunday Morning should never be amateur hour.