Now that the survey is complete (many thanks to the 136 of you who filled it out!), the Search Team is excited to be moving on to the next phase of our search — Cottage Meetings and Focus Groups! The survey was a necessary first step, but it really just gave us broad outlines. Now it’s time to start filling in the blanks in more detail! The Cottage Meetings and Focus Groups are how we’ll do that.
Cottage Meetings are small group meetings. Each one will be led by two Search Team members who will ask you additional questions that were not on the survey. We hope everyone — members and non-members — will attend a cottage meeting. There are three cottage meetings scheduled, and childcare will be provided at each one:
- Saturday, October 19, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., in both classrooms (Esmeralda and Libby)
- Sunday, October 20, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Community Room (David and Laurie)
- Tuesday, October 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Community Room (Tommy and Cathy)
You can sign up for the Cottage Meeting of your choice in the Community Room, by adding your name to the relevant sheet, or by filling out the Google Form at the end of this post. There is no deadline to sign up, and you can attend a Cottage Meeting even if you don’t sign up. The sign-up process is just to give us a general idea of how many to expect at each one.
Focus Groups are also small group meetings, but they are geared toward specific populations within the congregation. We hope you will attend as many as apply to you. Childcare will be provided upon request. We will have a number of different focus groups, each one led by one or two Search Team members:
- People 65 and up (Laurie)
- Youth 5th grade and up (Libby)
- Parents of children and youth (Michelle)
- Kids 4th grade and under (Libby)
- Young adults 18 to 30 (Cathy)
- People of color (Esmeralda and Michelle)
- People who identify as LGBTQ (Esmeralda)
- Past Board members (David)
- Staff (Tommy)
- People with disabilities (Michelle)
- People affected by past ministries (Cathy)
The deadline to sign up for focus groups is October 20. This is because, once you have signed up, the leader of your group will contact everyone to decide upon a date and time that works. The meeting will then occur sometime between October 20 and November 3. Once the meeting is scheduled, you will have a better idea of whether you will need childcare, and you can request it at that time.
We believe that some of you may desire confidentiality in your participation in a focus group. As a result, the sign-ups in the Community Room will be different. Instead of putting your name on a piece of paper visible by all, we will provide envelopes and index cards. If you’re interested in attending a focus group, just put your name, email address, and phone number on an index card and drop it in the envelope of your choice. You may attend as many focus groups as apply to you.
Finally, if you prefer to sign up for these things electronically, this Google Form will allow you to sign up for the Cottage Meeting of your choice and any Focus Groups that apply to you: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScYKDOAuvBP4XTtPQIFQgN7TzyVC_o3FsiISp7-AUIB6Ce1cw/viewform. But again, while there is no deadline to sign up for Cottage Meetings, the deadline to sign up for Focus Groups is October 20, so please sign up as soon as you can!
As always, we appreciate your participation in this process. The information you give us helps us answer important questions in our Congregational Record, all of which will be available to ministerial candidates and aid them in deciding whether Wildflower sounds like a good fit for them. The more information we can gather, the better position we are in to finding the right minister for us! And remember, if you have any questions at all, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.