The Art of Hosting

Art of Developing Meaningful Conversations at 1st UU Columbus

On the evening of May 19, members of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus gathered with friends to encounter "The Art of Developing Meaningful Conversations," the name given to the Art of Hosting at the church.  (The name was selected by the first sponsoring body, the Leadership Development Committee, in order to appeal more directly to UUs.)

Our purpose was to encounter ADMC, to connect to personal purpose and community and to thrive, and to transform the way we work together by honoring our diverse gifts.

Questions for the evening: 

  1. What is the hunger that brought you here tonight? (check-in)
  2. What is it about our church community that nourishes you? (World Cafe round 1)
  3. What else could our church be if we all brought our best selves? (World Cafe round 2)
  4. What do you need in order to bring your best self to the church? (World Cafe round 3)
  5. What seems possible now? (check out)

We included some Q&A time between the last World Cafe round and check-out, and handouts were made available for those interested in more information about World Cafe and ADMC. (Handouts included a short description of the four-fold practice, "Cafe to Go," and "The Art of Powerful Questions.")

During the Q&A, it became VERY apparent that several who were in attendance wanted everyone else in the church to join the conversation.  It felt like a call for a culture change in the church!  Suggestions were offered to leave the harvest, the questions, the cafe etiquette, the tables and table-coverings with all the notes and doodles in order to invite others to participate less formally after the service the next day.  (In the end the group realized that the benefits of the intentional planning that went into the evening might be lost on folks who didn't actually participate with us.)

Response was overwhelmingly (though not uniformly) positive.  36 participants were in attendance and we served a truly hearty meal with wine before starting the activities.  Some offered feedback on the invitation, saying they experienced confusion because they expected an evening of personal development but instead experienced a conversation "to benefit the church."  However, positive feedback was received from everyone who turned in an evaluation before leaving.  

We now have photos and testimonials from several who were in attendance to help us in advertising for the next events.  A great evening!

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Tags: Cafe, Unitarian, Universalist, World, church

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