Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, Maryland

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UUCR Year of Reflection

The “Year of Reflection” includes three intergenerational, all-congregation gatherings that will generate the stories, hopes, and dreams of our congregation. Our first Day of Reflection is November 20. It’s just around the corner! In addition, we invite all committees and groups in the congregation to pursue this work in preparation for deciding the directions and goals over the next five years.

We will give voice to our understanding of who we are as a community. This is the end goal of our first Day of Reflection – to understand how we as a congregation see ourselves and to know what our strengths and resources are.

Here’s a little more information for you to help you plan your day and fully participate:

We will not have RE classes that day but there will be Nursery Care. In order for all to participate, pre-school through fifth grade will be having a Special Program with Little Friends for Peace (LFFP). Parents of children in these grades are asked to arrive early to check them in prior to the start of service – look for a table in the entrance corridor. At the end of the activities (1:00 p.m.), parents need to proceed to the lower level to sign out their children from the LFFP programming. Sixth grade through senior high will be part of the multi-generational event.

We (all ages/family members) will gather for our Morning Service at our usual time of 10:00 a.m. We will start with a short Introductory Session (20 minutes) to help us focus on our dreams and aspirations for our community. As you are entering the sanctuary at 10:00 a.m., you will be asked to select which small group you want to participate in during the Breakout Sessions with leaders from The Sanctuaries and from UUCR. There are limited spots for each breakout group. When a group is filled, you will be directed to a different breakout group.

You will want to be sure and arrive a few minutes early
so you can select the breakout group you want!

After the Introductory Session, kids in preschool through fifth grade will head with LFFP to the lower level. Those remaining will break out into their small groups to explore various themes for up to an hour. 

There will be opportunities to explore through music, movement, and poetry and writing, led by the very spiritual performance artists, The Sanctuaries. There will also be the option to engage in a seated discussion of our five questions that have been shared. (See below.)

These questions will engage us in creating the felt sense of the heartbeat of UUCR, its values, its feeling of community, and what being a part of UUCR offers to congregants. When we’ve finished the exploration period, we’ll come back together to creatively share our exploration with all. This will bring us to around noon. We’ll pause and grab something to eat – not a full meal, but sustaining. Coffee, of course, will be available earlier.
After our break, we will come back together again to listen and experience the magic of The Sanctuaries group as they knit together a fuller picture of UUCR from the pieces we found during our exploration. They are a dynamic group and the presentation will be more than the pieces we give them. This is not to be missed! We will then sing ourselves out into the world as we start a new week. (In more concrete terms, the service will end around 1:00 p.m.)

The Board and the Future Planning Team want to involve everyone in creating UUCR’s future, its legacy, and ultimately, its history. We want to do it with creativity. We don’t want to pick arbitrary numerical goals; we want depth, and for this effort to be a community-building opportunity. We want to make conscious and thoughtful choices about where to devote our time and energy in the future. The result, we hope, will be a plan for the future that outlines the primary directions and goals for the congregation over the next five years.



Future Planning Team members are:  Ellen Rohan, Christin Green, Lisa Reed, Scott Reilly, Bill Newhouse, Rev. Lynn Strauss, and Terrie Barr. Please contact them if you would like to learn more or if you have a question about the new way to choose our future. 


Our Questions for Reflection are listed below, with summary feedback we received on November 20!
Note:  We used the actual words spoken and provided by those attending and youth responses during class in preparation for the First Day of Reflection.


What makes you feel that UUCR is your home?

Appreciation for the people who care about each other
Bring children, “family safe”
UUCR is a constant in life
Community values
People Make the Congregation
Having my loneliness assuaged
Sense of Community
Individual Collective

What do you love and cherish the most about UUCR?

Generosity of commitment: “it takes a lot to run this community” 
Values with structure but loose enough to allow individuality
The space, beautiful and welcoming
Building deep relationships
To be a force for progress
Non-judgmental community
Supported and appreciated
Create something meaningful
Find meaning
Soul opening
Roots with Urgency
Meeting Needs
Social Justice
Music Program
Great Religious Education Program
Special Programs, e.g., the Pageant
We are open, LGBTQI
OWL Classes
Activities for youth, Cons, Heritage Trip, Summer RE
We talk about important issues
People are willing to talk

How do UUCR people treat each other?

Not competing “to be”
Respectful, accepting, not judgmental 
Shared/Communal Mindful
Space For Disagreement
Spirituality as an ongoing endeavor
Curious about each other
Peace & Love
Everyone matters
Acceptance regardless of belief
Supporting, open and intentional
Warmth and kindness genuine

What challenges are facing UUCR?
What challenges have we overcome in the past?

Needs to be more inclusive
Congregation does not reflect the diversity in our community
Traditionally white
Style of worship
Not known as much in the larger community
Financial challenges
Engaging Youth
Dealing with conflicts
Large congregation/not so intimate
Need for growth through diversity
Fear of change, fear of controversy, fear of pain, fear of discomfort
Burning out with responsibilities
Being aware of privilege
Narrow down our priorities
Focus - have a meaningful impact on our community
How can our beliefs translate into more open political views - space for minority political views?
Stay Open to the Challenges
We have a strong sense of community and some details to work through - let us pool our strengths!
More field trips, overnights
More interaction with other congregations, youth and adult
Have bring a friend Sundays
More willingness for people to volunteer
Broader set of activities to help with RE lessons, films, etc.
More Student Service Learning (SSL) opportunities
More adult activities


What are our resources?
what do we draw on for strength and renewal?

UUCR is a Sanctuary in Challenging Times, a place to find and build peace in ourselves and the wider world
Children and young adults
Partners in change; turning belief into action
People power; climb every mountain
Insanity in a Troubled World; Ripples of Hope and Challenge
Open discussions that carry energy
Our response to political turmoil
Professional staff
Music program
Accepting, Supporting, Educating (circled by science)
Social justice is our fight
Sustainable leadership
Outreach for positive change
Facing our Challenges
We practice a free and responsible search for truth and meaning
We engage with the principles; we pick up trash, bring food for Manna
UUCR can hold both those who are energized and ready to act and those can’t act at the moment



First Day of Reflection:
November 20, 2016

Second Day of Reflection:
April 2, 2017

Third Day of Reflection:
July 30, 2017

  • lifelong spiritual discovery
  • beloved community
  • a just world

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