So, what now? But before we think about that, what happened to dream stage 1? Did it turn out as dreamt way back in the mid 00’s of the 21st century? Was the dream just about promoting connections or did it consider that once linked, it would generate its own life journey and end up at this point. More likely the former I’d reckon.
So, what now? Hang on a minute, haven’t we almost arrived, and shouldn’t we take the opportunity to reflect on where we have come from and sit back and enjoy our current situation? Just look at what we have created, a building that many have expressed amazement about, others have stated how big or how generous it is, yet others have pondered about how we will ever pay for its upkeep. But so, what? Is it the creation of the physical asset, or liability, that’s important, or is it the journey of the people, the way they have melded together and formed into more of a whole than they were before, that is the significant achievement? I suppose time will tell.
So, what now? What might this re-formed group of people from four disparate congregations, with sometimes subtle differences and sometimes clearly obvious differences between and within them be able to achieve and how can they make use of the significant physical asset they have been gifted by sacrificing their individuality and separateness? We have a very clearly defined vision as a UCA people in this region and have developed a clear document on why we have created this new physical asset in the form it has taken. In many respects our future direction is set and will benefit from input from us all. However, as a group, we only make limited use of this new physical asset. Involving the community through activities we arrange, allow others to arrange or by rental of space to others at different levels of return helps fill the void, but are there other opportunities we haven’t entertained, or yet dreamt of?
So, what now? Are we actually on the cusp of another more significant step? If so, what might be the substance of dream stage 2? The Asset Strategy Program that helped us get to this point is being taken up by a number of other UCA congregations by considering similar amalgamations and consolidation of venues. In our case the timing of picking up on dream stage 1 was appropriate because we had sufficient active human resources to become ‘stronger’ as a result of coming together, whereas in some other cases one could argue it is just delaying the inevitable. We are blessed to have a facility that can cater for more groups, including religious groups and in particular those in the UCA not too far away who may be heading toward unviability or be contemplating what we did in the early days of dream stage 1. How can we assist them and at the same time support the wider church in how best to use its assets?
So, what now? Should dream stage 2 be to support other UCA congregations by passing on what we have learnt and by offering them an alternative to what we have achieved? Again, time will tell, so keep dreaming!