The DFF Search Team surveyed the congregation to determine what qualities and talents members are looking for in a new DFF. Our survey was made up of three parts. First, on four consecutive Sundays, a question related to the search was distributed along with our Order of Service before worship. Those responses were collected and collated. Second, we created a five-question survey available to all members via Survey Monkey. That survey was advertised in our newsletter, our minister’s blog, and our video Facebook announcements. And, lastly, we held two open “cottage meetings” after services and asked members to attend. At the cottage meetings, we asked open-ended questions to try to reach a depth of response not possible with an online survey. Team members were grateful for the many thoughtful answers provided by members using each of these survey instruments. A summary of responses appears below.
What are we looking for in a Faith Formation Program? Under the direction of our Interim DFF, the UUCN has moved from a "religious education for children" model to one of lifelong faith formation. There have been many new opportunities for adult faith formation, and members feel strongly that this should continue. (e.g. Adults have enjoyed watching TED talks, participating in book discussions, and watching movies together). We have developed AREA events (“Alternative Religious Education Activities”) and in each of these events, adults, children, and youth worked together and found that work very meaningful. These events have included decorating “Sweetcases” for children heading into foster care, building bikes for children at the local Boys and Girls Club, and helping put together 10,000 ready-to-eat meals for refugees in Africa. “Faith formation is a recognition that we’re all on a journey, and as we’re on this journey, we go through the same stages in life.” We enjoy the opportunity to learn from each other.
What skills would we like our new DFF to bring to UUCN? UUCN members hope that our new DFF will bring acceptance and tolerance toward all the different and various beliefs members of our congregation hold (these range from Secular Humanism to Pantheism.) We would also like someone who can bring generations together and help us understand that, no matter how we choose to make meaning in our lives, our “faith” (Unitarian Universalism) is there for us. The UUCN is a busy place where lots of things seem to be happening at the same time so, we really want our new DFF to be organized! We feel that the administrative work, when it’s done well, makes everything flow easier. We’d like someone who can work “behind the scenes” as well as in concert with our minister, Allison Palm--we have learned how wonderful this relationship can be when it’s working well, particularly in worship services. We would like someone of passion and enthusiasm, who isn’t afraid of thinking “outside the box.” Someone who is comfortable with folks of all ages (children, adults, and youth). Someone who can communicate his or her passion to teachers, parents, and volunteers. We would like a DFF who can inspire us not only to deepen our own faith, but also to teach each other. We like teaching but, feel that volunteers need training. We hope our new DFF has a lot of experience training teachers. Members also stated their hope that our new DFF will be bring an understanding of people with disabilities and different learning styles. We hope our new DFF can model flexibility with all of our students (both young and old) because we feel it will help all our students recognize their inherent worth and dignity.
What is our vision for Faith Formation? We feel that “faith leads to action and action leads us to fulfill our mission” as a congregation. We think we have a strong message for our community and we would like to take our faith and action outside our walls. We have started consorting with two other UU churches in our area and we’d like to do more of that. We hope that technology makes our UU world smaller and more connected. And, we would like to show our love and support for the community of Nashua by reaching out and serving others.