Monday, November 9, 2015

The Visit

First of all, an observation. Through the years I have written three posts about Columbia's Villages. None of them generated a single comment. Not one. It's just not a topic people feel compelled to talk about. That may be because they like things fine just the way they are, or it may be that the whole matter is irrelevant to them. (Or perhaps they don't even live in Columbia. There is that.)

My guess is that the group of people for whom the village concept is vitally important is shrinking. I don't believe that the relevance of Village living is regenerating itself. I would be more excited about the future of the Village way of life if leadership and participation were truly open to all, and not just people who say they got here first.

Still, I do have a little news. From Owen Brown. I visited the Owen Brown Interfaith Center yesterday to attend a service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. My daughter attends the youth group there and on the second Sundays they are invited to come to church, with a meal and discussion afterwards. Since I heard the topic of the service was to be education, I tagged along.

You may already know that the OBIC is under construction, or rather reconstruction, to add a rather impressive addition to their space. The building is home to the UUCC, at least one other religious congregation, the Cradlerock Children's Center, and hosts a variety of community group meetings throughout the week.

We read all the time about how church is dead, or at least dying. Not at the service I attended. I could see why enlarging the building is so crucial. The Unitarian-Universalists are bursting at the seams. This is a vibrant, welcoming bunch of folks. I was greeted warmly. Even the pastor came over to introduce herself before the service.

By all the measures of church life--two well-attended weekly services, active Sunday school and youth programs, charitable outreach, a variety of activities and events throughout the year--UUCC is lively and strong. I once joked with a priest that a church's membership would never grown any larger than the room used for coffee hour. The one at OBIC is large but the UU's easily fill it and could use more room. That's a pretty amazing thing.

So the news from Owen Brown today is that the Interfaith Center is expanding, the UUCC is succeeding, and it's a place where the values of the People Tree are right at home. That's pretty good news to start your week.


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