In September, the Transition Team completed major tasks in the congregational transition process. Many joined us on October 15 in the Wheeler Room for an update on the work we have done and a peek forward at plans for the fall. The three critical tasks completed in September were:

  • Completed the Healing Conversations and provided the church board a summary. (see summary below)
  • Drafted a Process and Timeline for the Pastoral Search to be delivered to the Board. The Board will appoint the Search Team and is committed to a transparent and inclusive process for appointing members.
  • Outlined a plan for the next phase of conversations for this fall: Calling Conversations.

Healing Conversations

Starting in June 2023, the Transition Team hosted a number of Healing Conversations for the congregation at First Congregational Church. We have celebrated each participant’s high-points from their time at FCC, and have deeply heard concerns, hurts, and issues that are holding us back as individuals from wholly committing to moving forward in this transition. We hosted small group discussions, limited to 10 or fewer participants, so that significant discussion could take place. We used Appreciative Inquiry techniques to engage those interested in participating.

Though the focus was on the individual, we took notes for an overview to the Board and to the congregation summarizing the areas of celebration, the areas of concern, and messages that became clear in the conversations. Church staff and the Board have taken significant steps to address areas that multiple members identified as needing immediate attention. The work is not complete, but significant progress is meeting needs and we will continue inviting participation from members, new and old.

  • Continuing the Board’s work on transparent leadership and engagement of congregation members in the work and
    business of the church.
  • Developing a plan and initiating the work to provide Pastoral/Congregational care across all age and demographics
    while developing and implementing longer term processes and programs. This includes hiring staff to offer
    programming for children.
  • Revitalizing programs that allow individuals to get to know each other outside worship including Dinners for Eight,
    Companions in Christ, Seekers, and other programs.
  • Finding and engaging those who wish to serve and were not finding an appropriate place.

The Transition Team shared with the Board comments in six key areas. These six areas will be highlighted in our next
set of conversations on what we as members of FCC Eugene are being called to be and do.

  1. Value of connections and community as a part of the congregation
    Activities and Traditions ~ Small group experiences ~ Shared larger group experiences ~
    Intergenerational experiences ~ Opportunities to more fully know and be known by others
  2. We are a community of Spiritual Seekers
    Shared values as progressive Christians ~ Strong worship services are critical ~ Intellectually and spiritually challenging
    sermons based on shared theological values is critical; translate scripture to our lives in ways that sustain through the
    week ~ Spiritual Development ~ Living Christ’s teachings of service and care for neighbors and the world
  3. Importance of having strong participation of families with children
    Joy ~ Kids must know they matter, and have a community ~ An intergenerational spiritual home for children,
    families and all who worship ~ Support in parenting is needed ~ Concern that an aging congregation cannot be sustained
  4. Need for strong lay leadership
    Speaking truth in love is critical to our success ~ Avoid making the same mistakes in management of the church ~
    Congregational participation is key ~ We must own our own future
  5. Demonstrations of Love and Care for each other in difficult times
    Pastoral Care ~ Congregational Care ~ Programming and support for members in their Third Act ~
    Meal-Trains, prayer chain, congregational visitation
  6. Make a difference in our local community
    Join other spiritual communities in Social Justice Work ~ Impact on homeless issues ~
    Build a more just and loving community