Posted by: smstrouse | April 13, 2013

The Moveable Church

I HATE MOVING!!!  OK, now I’ve got that out of my system I can tell you that I’ve moved – again. Not my residence this time. The church office. We’ve left our suite of offices in a funky Victorian walk-up and moved over to where we worship. For the first time since 2007, our offices are at the same address as our worship space.

If you’re unfamiliar with First United’s recent history, here it is in a nutshell:

  • Sold building at 30th & Geary for a very good price – just before the real estate market crashed!
  • Began worshipping in the chapel at First Unitarian Universalist, SF
  • Shared office (literally a closet with no windows) with admin/music director across the street in Urban Life Center
  • After one very claustrophobic year, moved into new digs about 5 blocks from the church
  • Last summer, moved in with St Cyprian’s Episcopal Chuch, but kept offices off-site
  • This weekend, desks, boxes, copier, files, music, etc. now piled in new offices

As much as I hate moving and the chaotic aftermath of settling in, this was the right thing to do. Not only will I no longer have to schlep stuff back and forth from office to church, it will also give us a more visible presence in the neighborhood. It’ll also make it easier to meet with my Episcopalian counterpart and other staff at St. Cyprian’s.

This move also reminds me yet again of the nature of the church of today. We have to be open to creative ways of being and doing – beginning with the use of our church buildings. We no longer have the luxury of being isolated pockets, tucked away inside our own walled castles. Instead of bemoaning the plight of the church, the demise of denominational loyalty, shrinking membership, the glory days of big youth groups – how about if we put our energy into exploring what a truly collaborative church might look like.

I can tell you this: it can be messy. Sharing a space with another congregation, trying to forge a partnership between the two, navigating the  shoals of ownership, territoriality, trust-building, leadership styles, worship styles, denominational polity, etc., etc., etc. . . messy!  But it’s the right thing to do.

So tomorrow I’ll turn in the keys to my old office and brave the chaos in the new. Metaphor alert: isn’t this just what we’re being called to do in this thing called the church of the 21st century?



  1. […] published on 04/13/2013 by Pastor Susan M. […]


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