On Oct 21 the Prosperity team led the second part of Visioning for our church. Thanks to all the big hearted people who came and participated in this event. You are a blessing!

The event was stated by Dennis Ryan, who has been a member of the church since the beginning.  He tolds us the beautiful story of the manifestation of our current church building, through prayer, visioning and action; how the whole community came together for this purpose and how it continued over the years to repair and maintain the building after it was purchased. It was an inspiring, compelling story, our very own, that contained all the elements of manifesting that we learned about in prosperity consciousness classes taught here at Unity. I dearly hope Dennis will publish it at some point in this newsletter to share with all. I wish we would have videotaped it. It was really amazing.

In the visioning part I event, the whole congregation participated providing vIsions/ideas for our community. We gathered these ideas into six coherent groups led by the most voted ideas in each category. Now it was the time of putting energy behind the visions and of designing steps that would move the visions forward. In visioning part II, we asked people to gather around one of the six main visioning categories. With the help of a meditation, each group visualized steps to move forward their group’s vision. We asked the groups to identify actionable steps that can be implemented/achieved with in one year, and actionable steps that can be achieved within 5 years.

I was moved by the creativity of each team. Some ideas surprised me. For example, the request that we get rid of the pews and use chairs instead came from two groups: “our space” and “connection to our world”, as a means not only to have more comfortable furniture, but to have a space that offers more flexibility for accommodating a larger choir or large music groups. The idea of becoming a B-corp was new to me. I had to google what it means to be a B-corp. It mainly states that it is a mission driven corporation where the profits are used to sustain the mission.  To me this is a creative way to serve and strengthen our community. See below for more details on ideas that the B-corp could engage.

One area where the visioning is well underway is in the area of serving the extended community, under Peggy’s leadership. And there is a strong interest in small groups such as support groups, quest groups and sharing groups. Bill is interested in starting a sharing group soon. So if you are interested, please contact Bill whose information is at the end of this article. I also heard many people express interest in being a part of a quest group. Please contact Peggy or Gretchen.

A lot of us vision a larger space for our community. This is an item that makes me think twice. Are we ready to go that way? But each time we do a visioning, this year and in previous visioning exercises, there has been a strong desire for a space that would serve us better. So a committee is being formed to look into this. If you are moved to help with such idea, please contact Dottie.

There were more initiatives. Below are the summarized results for each group, and at the end, a list of groups that you could join.

1. Our Space:

Our space needs to be:
Multifunctional space – sanctuary
Accessible – priority: one level, sanctuary & fellowship hall in same level
Energy efficient & low upkeep
More meeting rooms
Near inner city on bus line
Our own parking lot, next to building
Lots of light

Possibilities:
Look for a new building for the church on the market
Build a new church building
Remodel our current building

Actions:

  1. Create a New Church Building Committee (separate from Buildings and Grounds) which will look for a new building for the church.
  2. If we stay in current building, Rich will coordinate the removal of pews and replacement with comfortable chairs – interaction with music for possible expansion for choir or big bands
  3. First steps: Finalized plan for church meeting our qualifiers that mesh with other group’s qualifiers
  4. By Dec 31st 2023 – Blessing for our new space

2.We Are a Beacon …

Within one year:

  1. Clear Vision, Mission, Values – subcommittee
  2. Enhanced Hospitality/ Community Involvement – Michael & John
  3. Circles of support & prayer – Bob & Michael
  4. Enhanced outreach to community re. Unity (e.g. flyers and much more)
  5. Church Tower Beacon – Sam
  6. Groups of listening, connections & dialogue where differences are clear, but where there is a yearning to close the divide – Sam

3. Connection to Our World

A. Operate as a B. Corp (a mission driven corporation where $$ go to the mission).
Within the structure, manage
-the bookstore,
-facility rental
-classes/online classes ->Udemy → leverage existing technology
-performances / concerts
-secular instructional courses

Within 2-3 years: Real Estate Opportunities
-Transitional living [40 beds @ $400/month per bed $ $150/month for meals]
-Property management firm
-Homeless shelter

B. Cable TV access – Channel Albany – 60 min slot for Unity 2019
C. Reconfigure stage area, add risers for additional choir members 2019
D. Theatrical performances [family oriented] TBD
E. Surplus budgeting; Business plan; Board trained in financials and governance . 2019

4. Service to Our World

  • Interdenominational work – FOCUS
  • Helping those in our community who are most needy and vulnerable

Within 1 year:

1. Get to know the immediate community and their needs

  • Neighborhood BBQ
  • Circulation Day

2. Larger community

  • Adopt a family
  • FOCUS & food pantries
  • Healing Racism
  • Sanctuary for immigrants

Within 5 years

1. After learning our immediate community needs, we can:

  • offer after school help – Nancy & Kevin
  • Visit senior citizens – Nancy

5. Spirituality and Education

  • Support groups (singles, couples, parenting, etc.)
  • Sharing Circles: gratitude, healing, miracles
  • Lots of classes, wide variety of topics & offerings

Within 1 year:

  • Create support sharing groups, 2 xs/month, 6-8 people. One in the morning, one in the evening. – Bill Newman (518) 860-2301
  • Monthly Reiki share (Sunday)
  • Reiki class
  • Quest group

6. Youth Program

  • Programs for parents – Capitalize on bus line – parenting classes
  • Large growth program youth THIS IS OUR FUTURE/sustain
  • Collaboration with another organization/church
  • Compassion, acceptance, healing
  • Relax, connect, create [art, music, nature, conversation]
  • Revisit who are the current youth leadership @ Unity
  1. Identify groups with needs
    – Outreach to StAnnes/Alts + schools student volunteers
    – book-club, cooking, finances, healing arts
    – UAlbany students – campus center info table – spiritual center
    – MARRILAC – Homeless shelter
  2. Invite to special events – post @ wic schools
    – Thanksgiving
  3. Mentoring
  4. Youth group – youth night sing music

What to do next:

This visioning exercise started the movement towards our future. The people that participated in the visioning exercise were a small fraction of our community. This small group cannot do it all by themselves, we need the “buy-in” from a significant portion of our community, to move significantly forward. We really need more people involved in the initiatives that surfaced during visioning. Therefore, we encourage you to consider volunteering for one of these efforts, in the area that calls you most strongly. We need you, passionate and committed people, to succeed. Please consider joining one of them.

Committee | Contact person

New Church Building Committee | Dottie Frament
Enhanced Hospitality/ Community Involvement | John Thomas, Michael Ramirez, Karin Reinhold
Church Tower Beacon | Sam House
Groups of listening, connections & dialogue | Sam House
B. Corp | Cheri Warren, Chris Johnson, Jacqui Anscombe-Waring
Reconfigure stage area/Theatrical performances | Cheri Warren, Chris Johnson, Jacqui Anscombe-Waring
Neighborhood BBQ | Kevin Helm
Circulation Day | Kevin Helm & Peggy Kaufmann
Adopt a family; Healing Racism; FOCUS & food pantries; Sanctuary for immigrants | Peggy Kaufmann
After school help | Kevin Helm & Nancy Wells
Visit senior citizens | Nancy Wells
Sharing groups | Bill Newman
Circles of support and prayer | Bob Sinacore
Quest groups | Peggy Kaufmann and Gretchen Nortz
Youth Programs | Simone Freeman, John Cocco, Diane Albano


We need you to move forward with these endeavors. So let’s remember that together we are Unity. Together, in partnership with God, we can do anything. Mary Morrissey says that if your dream is not big enough, you are not letting room for God to work with you. And so, together, in partnership with God, we “awaken to and embrace the Christ in all persons through prayer and service”. Together … “creating community, living love, teaching truth, serving spirit, practicing peace”. Together we become a larger version of ourselves.

Blessings,
Karin Reinhold