A Word from Our Pastor 2010 August Outreach


This past month, a number of people at BMUC have been talking about caregiving. For two Saturday mornings in July, Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka led a workshop to help the 15 people who attended gain some new skills in caregiving. This past week, we had a follow-up meeting to talk about how we might implement caregiving to the wider community of our church.

Our discussion focused on three large areas of concern:
1) How can we make BMUC a place where people feel comfortable in sharing their joys and concerns with others — how can we deepen our church friendships?
2) What is the best way to reach out to our members who are confined (or largely confined) to home?
3) How can we provide more extensive caregiving to those who are facing particular challenges?

The first area of concern, that of making BMUC a “tighter” community, has come up in other discussions in the past couple of years. So, we came up with a few new ideas that would help make some of our ongoing programs more focused on building community. First of all, we talked about making the Book Club part of worship; we will announce in advance what book would be discussed on which Sunday, and invite several persons who have read the book to talk about its personal meaning. Further, in September-October, we will focus on the theme of “Friendship” in worship: how can we make our friendships more meaningful and open? We thought about changing the schedule for our regular movie night, so that we would feel more relaxed, and have more time for discussion. Finally, I will offer occasions during worship for people to talk to one another about the sermon topic.

Regarding the second area of concern, connecting with members who do not come to church very often, I will work with the Membership Committee to set up a Visitation Committee. This group will offer friendly, casual visits to our members and friends who have difficulty getting out to church. We just want to let them know we are thinking about them, and care about them. I will discuss with the Visitation Committee some suggestions for conversation starters and how to determine if there is need for more in-depth conversations. The Visitation Committee can include anyone in the church — you don’t have to be part of the Membership Committee. All you have to do is enjoy talking with people. Someone from the Membership Committee may contact you about doing a visit — I think it is something you will enjoy!

Another comment regarding outreach was, “it is good for us to connect to other faith communities.” Please don’t forget that there will be a class on basic Islam on Sundays, August 1 and August 8, beginning at 9:30. Please attend and bring your questions! This is in preparation for our potluck on September 5 (Saturday) with our Turkish Muslim friends from the Pacific Institute. It is traditional for Muslims to celebrate meals with neighbors during their month-long celebration of Ramadan; and we will have an opportunity to join with them. Please plan to attend.

Third, we are blessed at BMUC with two more persons who are interested in undergoing Stephen Ministry training, which will give them increased skills in providing care and support for people who are facing life challenges. (We already have two persons who have completed the course). The training is usually done over a six or eight week period. There should be a training in the Berkeley area this fall. Please let me know if you are interested in attending, and I will make sure you get the information.

We plan to have another meeting to discuss this important aspect of our church life. If you are interested in helping to make BMUC a closer, more compassionate community, please plan to attend on August 28, Saturday, 10:00 – 11:30. Hope to see you there!

Rev. Naomi

P.S. The Grief Workshop had to be re-scheduled. It will take place in early September. Please call the office or talk to Naty Uno or me for the new date.