A lot has happened in the last 2 months.
There are many positive changes at UUCJ:
- Sunday services have continued to strengthen in variety and quality due to the hard work of the Worship Committee, Music Committee, Worship Associates and so many behind the scenes members who have worked hard to repair, clean and improve the campusThis has been possible under the strong leadership of Rev. Lee Ann.
- Members have returned for in-person services, new members have joined the church, and there are new visitors every week.
- New lighting has greatly improved the look and feel of the chapel and office spaces
- Member workdays have allowed needed cleaning and repairs.Monthly workdays are planned, and there is easily enough work for many months.
- Security has been upgraded with more secure locks.
- UUCJ.org is much improved in appearance and includes an expanding variety of programs.
- Our internet broadcast capabilities are impressive and improving.
Problems (old and new) need to be addressed:
- Campus security is a big challenge, involving both property and personal safety issues.
- The condition of our buildings has suffered from a longtime lack of TLC
- There continues to be concern about the lack of young families in the church and the lack of a children’s program.
- Members are concerned about the lack of ethnic and cultural diversity at the church.
- The many changes and challenges make some members anxious about the future of our congregation.
The future continues to be positive but will require some big decisions by the congregation:
- We must have a safe campus.The congregation will have to support a security service, fencing and other changes.We also will have to change the way we have offered an open campus to others.
- UUCJ provides a unique religious experience that cannot be found at any other church in Jacksonville.Jacksonville needs a UU church.If not here, where?
- UUCJ has a solid congregation in terms of both individual personal and financial support.That allows us more options.
- We have a church facility with no mortgage or debt (except for a sewer loan)
Security issues are detailed in another article. The decisions about campus security are being made now. The Board is hiring a security service to assure staff and member safety and to protect the integrity of the church property. Implementation of security services to protect our staff, building and members will need the support of the congregation. Use of the campus will need to be restricted in some way.
We all need to learn more about church security and safety. But. we have the opportunity to come together as a church and as a community to solve these problems.
Thanks for letting me serve as UUCJ Board president,