; charset=UTF-8" /> Southern Nevada Thinks Outside the Picnic Basket : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

Southern Nevada Thinks Outside the Picnic Basket

by Russ Smethers

     Picture, if you will, the following – and very familiar scenario – playing out at your church.  You organize a special event, let’s say a picnic, and invite the members of the other UCCs in the area to join in the fun.  They come, they enjoy, and eventually they reciprocate by inviting you to a party of their own.

     Your event.  Their party.  Therein lies the rub.  When all is said and done, your picnic remains yours; their party, theirs.   There was no sense of teamwork, no group involvement.   Lasting connections were not being made.

     That’s exactly how it was in Southern Nevada until…  Things changed last November when members from several UCC congregations joined forces to create the UCC Parish.  Its goal?  To develop multi-church functions and community volunteer events – programs that were “ours” rather than “mine” or “yours,” programs where new relationships could be grown for the common goal of growing the UCC membership and presence in the community, while still honoring the glory of God.

     Members meet once a month. Working toward common goals under the UCC Parish “umbrella” allows participants to reach those goals unburdened by territorial “soup.”  It also creates stronger bonds among participating churches.  Currently three congregations – Las Vegas United Church of Christ, 1st Congregational Church UCC Las Vegas and Las Vegas Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa   are “onboard.”  All others are invited – and welcome.

     Programs to date have included a BBQ and a movie night (popcorn and cola supplied), with a second movie night scheduled soon.   The BBQ was the Parish’ first “event” and everyone (including myself) was a bit anxious.  “Was anyone going to show up?  Was the food going to be good?  Was it going to rain?”  Well, the weather was perfect.  The hamburgers and hot dogs didn’t burn, and people from all the congregations – almost 70 of them – attended with their families.  WHEW!  Then came the first “movie night.”  Again the anticipation was agony. “Was the BBQ a fluke? It’s 106 degrees outside.  Will people want to come out of their air conditioned homes to watch an old movie?” As show time approached there were over 20 people sitting in their seats (popcorn in hand) laughing, joking and waiting to see RV with Robin Williams.  OK, this wasn’t a fluke. The second “movie night” is on August 14 and, needless to say, everyone in the UCC Parish is a bit more relaxed.

     A founding member of the Parish, I am encouraged by the program’s success and look forward to many more group events.  Such outside-the-box (or -picnic basket) thinking is, I believe, what keeps the United Church of Christ alive and growing.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free