To get a better idea of how Unitarian Universalists might organize new churches, I look at what others do. I found similar behavior between two Christian churches that are about as far apart on the ecclesiological spectrum as could be. Clearly there was something to learn.
- Worship on Saturday morning. (These are not sabbatarian churches.) Check.
- And not every Saturday. Perhaps once a month. Check.
- The mission church is distant from the next nearest church at the same communion. Check.
- The mission church rents “secular” space. Check.
The groups are Copts and Primitive Baptists respectively. The churches are in the Southern states and Manhattan respectively. I don’t think it’s too far to say that each is culturally out of the mainstream in their own settings. And that both are short of clergy. (The Primitive Baptists in Manhattan are a branch of a church in Maryland, three hours’ drive away, and that’s probably the closest one.)
I won’t labor this. What they have have in common is the economical use of resources. Don’t build too fast, if at all. Monthly Saturday services are a service and a sacrifice for the sponsoring church, but I’d bet it’s manageable. And not so “heavy” that if it need to change or be suspended that it imperils another mission opportunity.
Here are some links.
- Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States (look at the “communities”)
- A recent article in The Atlantic about Coptic church growth, but from a different angle
- New York Old Baptist Fellowship
- The church it’s an arm of