Engaging the Wider Community

The mission of our communications committee is to inform and engage our congregation and the wider community in a way that reflects our shared principles and passions.

I think we can all agree that having greeters at the door on Sunday is important in helping everyone feel our warmth as soon as they approach us. The website and social media should serve the same purpose. They are quite often the first point of contact for people who are checking us out. I know that was true for me when I first had the brilliant idea of searching for local UU communities!

And this isn’t about how many people we can attract to our events and services. It goes to the heart of what kind of congregation we want to be. It’s about radical hospitality. In our connected world it’s one of the best – and, conveniently – one of the easiest ways to reach out to our extensive community, including:


  • Members who can’t be with us because of illness, disability, or distance. They can see photos on our Facebook page, catch up with our events in the newsletter, listen to an audio recording of Sunday sermons on the website.


  • Locals who need a safe space – letting them know how much we value and celebrate them. Our website affirms that we are an LGBTQ welcoming congregation, for example, to many more people than will see our flag on the street. I also noticed that about 20 people were able to attend our Transgender Remembrance vespers this week. Twenty different people interacted with our Facebook photos from the event. Posting regularly lets people get to know us and our values before they ever walk through the door.


  • Strangers, some of whom we might never meet in person, others who might come to revitalize our congregation. I recently created a Hayward UU group on the website Meetup.com. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s a great way to discover groups of local people who share your interests. I’ve started sharing our events there and we already have 35 members – 25 of whom I don’t recognize as affiliated with us. That’s amazing!


This is the part where I tell you that we really need help maintaining our current level of engagement. Let me assure you that every single thing our committee does is within your power to do with minimal guidance. My dream is that we can get enough energy going to expand our radical hospitality with more photos, videos, and other creative ways to let people know they are most welcome.

Emily Watkins, Communications Committee Chair