On my way to work in Boston I walk past the Boston Society of Architecture. Its storefront is attractive, but hasn’t been overtly noticeable to me until this holiday season. I do see people through their big windows meeting or gathering on their ground floor during mornings or evenings. They make this room available for free for use by the public. And people seem to take them up on their offer. And in the process learn a bit about the Boston Society of Architecture.
One night on my way home, I noticed a line forming down the block to get in to an event there. The event was the 4th Annual Gingerbread House Design Competition.
Every year the Boston Society of Architecture develops a theme, a competition, a reception, opportunity for positive press, and new traffic through their public space on the ground floor. Do you see where I’m going with this?… What if your congregation opened up your public space during the holiday season–
Oh, what? You don’t have a space made available to the public to drop in? Let’s start there. What if your congregation had a public space where people could drop in for quiet sanctuary from the bustling world? You know, like other traditions do. Especially in these violent times, people crave a designated holy place to go and light a candle and just “be” in a space where other people of faith gather. I just ask that you consider this. If this makes you nervous, I encourage you to engage your local Catholic church and ask them how they do it.
Back to gingerbread competitions. The connection to architecture and gingerbread is playful and relevant. What could that be for your UU community? And maybe it’s not for winter holidays. Perhaps a celebration featuring Peeps sculptures in spring is your thing.
- Playful, idea-connecting, values-promoting competition
- Reception for the public
- Press releases that weave in the mission of your UU community
- Intentional community engagement
Bottom line, reimagine space you have access to and how it can be in proactive, relevant engagement with your wider community while promoting your values and mission. Be playful, playful is so attractive! If you need a thought partner for this kind of adventure, count me in!
Rev. Tandi Rogers is the Innovative & Network Specialist for the UUA. Exploring the streets of Boston during the winter holiday season has been an unexpected joy.
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