Congratulations to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden (UUCO), Utah, for being the newest Breakthrough Congregation! Each year the UUA’s Office of Growth Strategies recognizes a handful of congregations that have “broken through” barriers to achieve exemplary goals. UUCO’s embrace of multigenerational worship and religious education for all ages has drawn attention from across the UUA. UUCO has also become a sanctuary for LGBT youth and a community hub for social justice work.

UUCO is highlighted in the summer edition of the UUWorld, which will be hitting Unitarian Universalist members’ mailboxes at any moment.  The following study guide is intended to accompany the article about the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, Utah.  We hope that this enables lively discussions for your congregational leaders.

Cora Webb passes a collection basket at UUCO.

UUCO prides itself on having truly multigenerational worship, with children and youth participating in multiple roles throughout the entire worship service.

Questions for Discussion

  • Why does having children in worship and RE for all ages “go against the conventional wisdom”? What assumptions are in this statement? What assumptions do you have about your congregation? Can you test them?
  • What are the advantages cited in the article in having children and youth participate in such a manner?
  • How does this compare with the way in which children and youth are involved in worship in your congregation?
  • What would need to happen in order to more fully include children and youth in your worship service?

UUCO is involved in many activities that benefit the community and is known locally as the church that is “willing to help.”   As Rev. Novak says, “This church doesn’t wonder why we’re here.  We know why we’re here.”

Questions for Discussion

  • In what ways does UUCO make a difference in the world? In what ways does your congregation make a difference in the world?
  • Does your congregation know why “you’re here”?
  • If word got around “your congregation was willing to help” what would you be doing in your community?

Rev. Novak believes that joyful worship, a sense of mission and a willingness to try different things are the actions that other congregations can also take to better realize their potential.

Questions for Discussion

  • How joyful is your worship service?  How can you make it more joyful?
  • How strong is the sense of mission in your congregation?  What strategies can you employ to strengthen your sense of mission?
  • How willing is your congregation to try different things?  What may be holding you back?  What would be the “payoff”?

This study guide was a group effort by:

  • Mark Bernstein, Regional Consultant for Growth Development with the Central Eastern Regional Group
  • Sue Sinnamon, Co-Director for Evangelism and Growth with the Southern Unitarian Universalist Reg
  • Dori Davenport Thexton, Faith Development & Growth Director with the MidAmerica Regiooni

The UUWorld couldn’t feature all the beautiful pictures taken on the researcher/reporter’s visit, but you can see more of them here.

About the Author
Tandi Rogers