Ayrolyn Keady is one of those people who likes to cut to the chase.
Does JUC really does want to make an impact in the world? “If we do,” Ayrolyn says, “ we have to make more space for families with children. Period.”
Ayrolyn understands how we got here – here meaning overcrowded in Religious Education classes. JUC does so much well. Families want to be a part of the congregation. The kids are given good, solid programming. “It’s not just one of those places where you drop off your kids and know they’re going to color for an hour,” she points out. RE has been growing like crazy (280 kids were registered last year).
Here are the challenges she has observed:
Sunday morning classrooms are often crowded, especially at the 11 o’clock session. (Starting this year, families will have to register for either the 9 or the 11. See the article below on RE Balance).
Parents who used to hang around between services and connect with other parents now feel they have to leave sooner than they used to, since parking is so limited.
There is no room for adult Sunday School classes. Families with young children can find it difficult to attend weeknight classes, so Sunday is often their only time at church. “How wonderful it would be,” Ayrolyn says, “for parents to take classes together where they can really get to know each other. We could really build some deep community.”
And here’s another one of her cut-to-the-chase observations. “If people don’t feel connected, it’s harder to feel committed. How can we grow a large group of donors? By deeply connecting. If we don’t have space to get to know each other and our ministers, our ability to raise money is limited.”
As an involved parent and co-founder of the Family Ministry Team, Ayrolyn isn’t about to head for the door, even with her concerns about space and the limits it places on connecting. But she worries about other young families who want a church home like ours.
What does have this to do with Making Room? Everything! When we find a larger campus, we need lots of good classroom space for kids AND adults, and the parking to support the many things we do at JUC.