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Carter Johnson
Carter Johnson

Ay Ay Ay Im Your Little

The music video begins as the two band members Veronica Almqvist and Nina Boquist descend from a spaceship shaped like an orange butterfly onto a flat meadow with mountains in the distance. Immediately the two begin forging ahead through the meadow in order to find their dream-men, two samurais. First the two girls run into two little boys around eight years old, and since they are too young the band continues their journey. At this point the band manages to convert the path they have already traversed into a 3-D tunnel. At one point they run into another pair of boys, and these are nerdy-looking teens around fifteen years old. Again, the girls leave the boys standing. They finally encounter their dream-men at the end of this tunnel on a platform away from the entrance, and they briefly cross a chasm to get to them. The moment they are united, the butterfly-shaped spacecraft appears in a hole in the roof and they all ascend it; the ship flying away into the blue sky.

Ay Ay Ay Im Your Little

GK: So I went outside (BLIZZARD) to the even-numbered side of an odd street where the old DeSoto was parked and got in (CREAKING DOOR). The engine was a little stiff. (SLOW CAR STARTER GROANING) It was cold out. You could tell by the birds dropping dead out of the sky (SFX). I mixed up a batch of pure alcohol (POURING) with a shot of nitro (HEAVIER LIQUID) and urine from a cougar (POURING) and sprayed that on the carburetor and (STARTER, SERIES OF EXPLOSIONS AND POOFS) got her going. (BRIDGE, FOOTSTEPS) I found the Biochemistry building and made my way down the hall past an office where a large man in a football jersey was singing:

GK: She was tall, with blonde curls and blue eyes like flames. She wore a sweater that appeared to have been made from recycled hyacinths and jeans and she took your breath away and didn't give it back.

Another time he took me over to the side. Stroked my hair. Said, you need not fear. Everything is ok. I am however, not your father. I sensed that my nerves were shot. Thrown into the world. To feed the wolves.

GAIL FORSYTH-VAIL: Hello, everybody. This is the Faith Development Office's September webinar. And this month we're, meeting the UUA Outreach Office, which is Anna Bethea and Carey McDonald. I'm Gail Forsyth-Vail. I'm your host tonight. And Susan Lawrence is doing tech support. So welcome. We're glad you're here.

ANNA BETHEA: Thank you, Gail. Our opening words are an adaptation of the message from last week's Braver/Wiser weekly message series. So if you haven't heard about Braver/Wiser, we're going to talk about it a little bit later.

So our webinar today, we hope to share with you some trends and changes within religious life, within our society at large and within outreach. And then, we will tell you a little bit about Team Outreach, who we are and our approaches. And then we'll share some of our resources with you that we provide and create within our office.

So we're just going to talk a little bit big picture to start. And I think that lots of you as religious professionals, you may have heard some of this material before. It may seem familiar to you, and that's OK.

But part of what we're presenting here also is the simplest version that we can do in a way that you could probably also take and use with the other folks in your congregation, the lay leaders or your colleagues who maybe aren't as familiar with it. So you can also watch it from that point of view.

So the first thing that we want to talk about, and why the UUA has been talking about outreach, and why it's important for your congregation is that the way people interact with religious communities, with congregations and churches in our country, is changing.

How do we take them from a curious individual all the way through becoming connected? What does that look like for people to feel like they're really connected? And then also, how do they want to be approached to start to become engaged with what you're presenting with your RE program and your classes for the kids and also for adults?

I think that one of our great strengths is that we do allow people to choose their own paths. But at the same time, we have to provide enough guidance and not assume that they're going to be engaged just purely by what you have there for your membership at large.

And this shows on the left side of this screen here, the wider community, and realizing that people from all walks of faith, different backgrounds, different worldviews come into our congregations. And we'll talk a little bit in a minute about how to put your messaging out there for people to be able to become that curious individual as they come into your congregation.

And these three here show the breakdown of what these areas can look like. So engaging the curious individual and welcoming the visitor, that's the job of outreach. And welcoming within your congregation, there's a little bit of overlap as far as welcoming them, connecting them and engaging them. And then membership development is really essential for that piece to be there, too.

But a lot of times, as far as defining what your role is and making sure that you are staying within your hours, especially for a lot of us who are part-timers, it becomes a little bit difficult. And to decide what can you do within religious education that's membership development, that seems like this like, OK, well that's a congregational responsibility.

So when you're sitting down to write your newsletter article, or you're thinking about what can you put out there on Facebook to grab the attention of somebody who may have not been coming for the past few months, it's helpful to think about target audiences.

And this is something that we cover in some of the resources that we'll share with you a little bit later. But thinking about both obviously existing people who are within your RE program and also growth targets, who do you want to build those relationships with?

So these are what we use within our UUA Outreach Office. But these may not be the target audiences for you. It really takes a little bit of work to delve deep into what you're able to offer uniquely, and meeting the needs of people who are in your community.

CAREY MCDONALD: So before we talk about some of the strategies for dealing with all of this change in our communities, in our congregations, I just wanted to pause there and ask the folks on the webinar-- and maybe you can write your answers in the chat and we'll make sure those get shared out-- does this match what you're seeing where you are?

Do you see the changes in the ways that families spend their time, or are able to show up or willing to show up? Do you see certain kinds of people walking through your doors more than others? How do these match up with the trends that you're seeing on the ground?

And so that's a really great example of something that could be a target audience for you all that is both you authentically serve them, you minister to that group, and there's a wider need. There's totally room for growth in your community, is my guess.

CAREY MCDONALD: Yeah, I totally hear that. And this may come up a little bit more as we talk through some of this stuff, but I'm not someone who would ever say that church is going away. I just think that there's so much more competition for people's time, and their talents and their treasure.

When I was the director of youth and young adult ministries for the UUA, I would always hear stories about the best way to build up a youth group is do the back-to-back OWL, and then coming of age. And those kids will be so bonded to each other. There's no way they're going to drift off if you can just invest a little bit of time and advising in there.

And so I went to one of these trainings, And one of the things that I realized is that the things that we count, that we actually count, the things that the UUA asks you to report, the things that you are basically held accountable for by your religious education committees, or by the board or whoever, is often not the whole picture.

And that doesn't mean that they never want the things that we offer. But it means that sometimes there may need to be a little more give and take than we sometimes think about. We have this assumption that if we build it, they will come. And I don't necessarily I mean the people on this call.

And often, we have talked about ourselves as UUs by saying things like, all are welcome here. And that when you're talking to everyone, you're not really talking to everyone. You're being scattered and not paying attention to your blind spots.

And just another little thing about that experience is we usually think about having positive experiences and things going smoothly. But sometimes, surprises are good, too, and delight, and unexpected little pieces of joy or glitter. Tandi Rogers is the best at this-- is those little moments of delight and joy.

Well, Jamar Clark was killed by a police officer in Minnesota, and they would release the tapes. And the church offered a program on a Saturday that was about how to talk to your kids about race. And wouldn't you know it, of course, it was standing room only.

ANNA BETHEA: Yeah. So I've been on the job for a little over a month, and it's been fascinating getting to see the other side of creating what comes out of the UUA Office of Outreach, and also to work alongside people in the FDO office, too.

So I am hoping that we have a little bit of time at the end here, because I realized that one of my biggest questions is, what do religious educators want more of? As we're talking about meeting the needs of the people that we serve and the people that we want to serve, that's my biggest question for you all.

So let's go through the listing of all the stuff that we're working on and we're excited about right now. And then maybe towards the end, we can hear a little from you alongside with your questions, some suggestions for things that you would like to get from us.

And I was really fascinated with how we've revamped some of our websites. And as you can see here, this is a little screenshot from there. Worship Web will help you find words for openings, and closings and even whole sermons in there. 041b061a72




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