October 20, 2018

The Unity 2020 committees are hard at work on the many projects related to manifesting our new home and our 2020 vision. 
Below is a summary of recent activity.  

Communications
Charged with keeping congregants informed about Unity 2020, the committee is doing so via periodic e-blast summary reports like this one.  A bulletin board visual display is currently in development for at-a-glance updates from each committee.  Also, a discussion boards system will soon be in place on the website to facilitate dialogue within and among the committees.

Community Outreach
Several service projects in the works:  
  • The Peanut Butter Challenge -- a fun nut-butter drive for The Food Bank of Northern Illinois.
  • Options for Thanksgiving volunteering and giving.
  • A special exhibit and program based upon the work of a noted refugee portrait artist.
Finance
Discussions underway on these topics:
  • Revenue streams that have decreased or gone away in recent years, such as Wednesday night events, income from classes, annual concert and other fundraisers.
  • Current operational budget shortfall and the impact of revenue stream losses (such as investment and parking space rental income) after a new property purchase, leading to an expected $13K monthly deficit based on current congregation financial behaviors.
  • Infographic in development to help keep congregants apprised of ongoing financial status.
Location Search
This committee has been very busy, given our timeline of turning over our current property to Misericordia by October of 2019.  Thus far, the team has discussed over 50 properties and made site visits to more than 20 properties, in areas ranging from West Rogers Park to Ravenswood and Albany Park.  Key suitability factors being weighed include size match with current and projected future needs; costs for purchase plus needed buildout/renovation expenses;  parking/transportation options;  zoning impacts; neighborhood diversity; et al.  The committee recently reviewed preliminary space plans drawn up by the Baumann architectural team for two properties the committee judged worthy of further consideration.

Marketing
Recent actions include work on: 
  • developing a Marketing theme for overall Unity messaging to the nearby Chicago community  
  • building a database of area Ward Alderman offices and their constituent e-newsletter contact persons  
  • gathering actionable data for use in marketing campaigns

A series of focus group questions will be developed for gaining insight into the spiritual/social activism wants,  needs and perceptions of Chicago area millennials and other population subsets. 

Membership
Coordinated and carried out the 2018 Member Recommitment campaign from initial mailing to fielding congregant questions, collecting forms, clarifying Abundant Life methodologies on Sundays through October 7 form submission deadline.

Spiritual Renewal
This committee worked hard to plan, coordinate and present the successful and well-received Unity Day of Prayer programming.  They are now considering direction and options for focusing their prayer energy and support. With an eye toward Unity 2020, the committee also developed a Prayer For Unity Chicago's New Home.  

Vision 
The committee formed three sub-teams to focus on various aspects of creating a vibrant purpose statement for Unity Chicago:
  • Survey Team -- to create a survey for members, congregants and other populations to gather the most useful information
  • Congregant/Member Focus Groups Team -- to gather information from those currently engaged in helping Unity Chicago move forward
  • Research Team -- to conduct research from online sources and other experts on trends in spirituality/religions, what's working in spiritual communities that are thriving
PRAYER FOR UNITY IN CHICAGO'S NEW HOME
(written by the Spiritual Renewal committee)

We recognize the one source, the Divine God,
which always shows us the way home.

We are each one with the living,
loving God at all times and in all
circumstances.

We embark in faith in the search for Unity Chicago's new home,
wherever that may be. We see and know Spirit leads us to this location and its acquisition in perfect time. We embrace the comfort of this
destination, and its convenience of location. We see the work of moving into this building and renewing it for our purposes being accomplished in divine right action, so that it perfectly meets all the various needs of Unity Chicago's congregation, Minister, Board, and staff.

We give thanks for the ease of this transition,
and for the peace and harmony in this loving safe space.

We release our fears of change, and we speak this prayer into the Universe, knowing Spirit makes it so.

And So It Is. Amen