They're Closing the Berghoff
The church, too, can show this tendency. Certainly it has in the past and many denominations strive for a certain uniformity in belief and worship. The advantage is that you feel comfortable. The disadvantage is that we don't go to church to feel comforted ALL the time. Also, you may not always feel like the religious version of a "Big Mac". Only the faces have changed and probably not by much when one visits churches that strive for sameness. This is enforced by the popular "growth programs" and, of course, from marketing intitiatives. Well, good luck, I guess. I don't think Eliot Church will be signing up for any of that soon.
We are, as I have mentioned before, in something of a marketing phase at Eliot. We are intentionally going it alone because of these issues. What we are discovering is that our primary consituency isn't so much people who identify with the UUA or UCC but the people who live in Natick. We are, it seems, putting the "community" in community church. At Christmas we sent a letter out to the community around our building to reach out and see what they thought about our congregation. We offered various ways of keeping in touch. We also asked for money to help defray the cost of our steeple project. Our steeple, the tallest structure in the nieghborhood, is a local landmark. Response has been good on all counts.
Who knows where our quest to be ourselves will take us...