Betsy Rueckert, long-time member of University UM Church and a member of our Vital Church Initiative Leadership Team, spoke to the congregation at the Sunday worship service on April 17 on Endowment Fund Sunday. Here is her Faith in Action message:
Phase I of the Vital Church Initiative (VCI) was funded by a grant from the UUMC Endowment Committee some time ago. These monies allowed a team of UUMC people to investigate the process and determine if VCI could be a viable path for University to walk down.
What would be our desired destination? A vital church for the 21st century.
A vital church for the 21st century. What does that mean?
A vital church for the 21st century. What does that look like?
A vital church for the 21st century. We are in the 21st century. University UMC is a vital church,
But are we? Is UUMC a church which is vital to members, non-members, our neighbors and our community?
We call ourselves University United Methodist Church. Many people in this room will tell you, and me, that our mission is “to serve the students of Michigan State University.” But is this church and its programs vital to that university?
If University United Methodist Church ceased to exist, would the people of Michigan State University even notice?
We are now in Phase II of VCI. Phase II is a time for researching the past, counting and measuring the present, and praying and visioning for the future.
Some of you will be invited to help coordinate a special team for researching, measuring, counting or praying. Many of you will be invited to assist with these special teams. There will be a time when everyone is invited to answer a local survey and some are invited to meet with experienced conference consultants.
A strong and growing endowment is a vital part of a strong, thriving and vital church. The founding members of this congregation had the desire to create a vital church. The founding funders of our endowment made financial gifts to support a vital church.
Did those founders know what a 21st century vital church would be? What it could be? I doubt it. I don’t know --- yet.
University United Methodist Church. Let’s walk the path and become an even more vital church of the 21st century.