In the December 20th and January 1st Westside Weeks we offered a survey of congregational connection during these challenging times. The results were overall encouraging, with almost 70% of respondents saying they were feeling connected or deeply connected and over 80% of respondents saying that they are okay with the level of connection they have, at least for now. That said, with only a little over 30 people responding, there are many community members we didn’t hear from. It’s also clear that those feeling the least connected are unlikely to be answering a survey about it. The answers still provided a wealth of perspectives:
Many people had ideas about additional ways for connecting
- I see how much work is going into creating community and I appreciate it. Home fix it calls, reading group. Old school Pen Pals – those interested are paired with a congregant and they exchange postal letters. It would be cool if we could upload videos to our profiles so other congregants could watch and see who we are and a little about us beyond the written word.
- Allow limited physically distanced outdoor gatherings. Promote delivery of thoughtful small items such as Christmas cookies between members particularly to the most isolated.
While others felt that the limitations of the time make it difficult
- I am not really sure, as I personally am burnt out on being on computers, I work full time thus participating is limited to non work hours and I prefer/am most comfortable in small groups.
- Introverts like me aren’t drawn to groups, but little is happening to facilitate one-to-one connections. That’s what’s missing for me, though I’m not sure how to fix that.
- Given the circumstances, I think WSUU has hit on almost all possibilities. Nothing to suggest. Sometimes I’m over-Zoomed when I include other aspects of my life.
And some voiced appreciation for the ways we are currently connecting
- I appreciate the creative ways church members have done outreach. I plan to attend a movie night soon! I wish we could rent a drive-in theater to hold a distanced gathering/service. Likely not practical in winter, but just a thought!
One pattern that stands out is that 6 of the 7 people who feel deeply connected in our community are involved with “church work” of various kinds. Working together is a powerful way to build connection in our community, and there is no shortage of work to be done. Reach out to anyone on the board if you feel inspired to be part of a committee or team or would just like to talk about what kind of opportunities might suite you.
The full survey results, with identifying information redacted, can be found: (link to name redacted results)
Ps: there was one person who asked us to reach out to them directly, but did not leave their name. If you are that person, please write the board so we can…connect.