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Multi-Site Task Force

The Multi-Site Task Force (MSTF) is a task force of the Board of Trustees, and includes Rev. Mike Walker as an ex officio member. The MSTF was established in order to explore options for utilizing or consolidating our church campuses.  The Task Force studied current models of multi-site worship; examined the costs of operating our two campuses, explored the possibility of selling one or the other property, and developed a plan for moving forward.  The Multi-Site Task Force recommends that the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg develop a "CHALICE CENTER," an interfaith community center at its Market Street Location.  The Market Street building would serve as a hub for a variety of efforts that serve the Allison Hill community either through worship or through the provision of services.  While the Unitarian Church would continue to have a presence, we would bring other partners to the table.  Space would be rented out to other churches and non-profit organizations in the area.  This would not only help us share costs, but provide common ground for a variety of groups working to make downtown Harrisburg a safer, happier place. The task force has researched the possibilities for rentals, and we are satisfied that our Market Street site has potential to rent to various community and religious groups.  Congregants have offered further ideas in recent meetings.  No possibility can be developed until the Congregation gives permission to develop a business plan for the Chalice Center.  We believe that the Chalice Center would be financially feasible, spiritually fulfilling, and would strengthen community both within UCH and between UCH and the Harrisburg faith community….IF OUR CONGREGATION HAS THE WILL.  

Obviously, the acquisition of the Market Street building in 2009 has led to deep divisions in our church.  The MSTF has taken the stance that no matter what the past has been, we now have to deal with the realities of our holdings.  The MSTF believes that even while healing in our congregation must continue, we now have the opportunity to come together in united purpose by intentionally creating an institution we can be proud of.  We hope that the congregation will unite around a mission that gives us a rationale for our two campuses, but is beyond the provision of worship services.

The MSTF will present a proposal to the congregation in the coming weeks. The proposal will NOT be a completely worked-out plan that addresses all details.  Rather it will ask the congregation for the PERMISSION for the Board of Trustees to develop and enact such a plan.  While the MSTF has laid groundwork in its consideration of options and exploration of the feasibility of the Chalice Center, much more work needs to be done in order to plan for all the details that inevitably must be addressed.  This will require efforts that would be unfair to ask of a group of people to embark upon without the agreement of the congregation that this is the direction in which we want to put our energies.  Until further study is made, for example, we intend to honor the worship traditions of members who currently enjoy services at Market Street, but we have no firm idea about service time, form, frequency or RGL.  We have no absolute answer to detail questions.  The answer is in the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg membership: we can do what our members are willing to do.  To make the Chalice Center work, for it to become a thriving center of interfaith community and compassionate practice, we need to rely on each other in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.  We cannot depend on paid staff to make the Chalice Center a success.

The Process:
  • The MSTF, with the help and cooperation of the Healthy Congregations Task Force, gave a power-point presentation on the factors that led us to propose the Chalice Center, and the reasoning behind it, on April 3, April 10, and April 11.  The power-point was followed by small group meetings in which congregants could react and respond to the proposed Chalice Center.  
  • The MSTF will develop the DRAFT of a formal proposal that will be voted on at the Congregational meeting in May. [You can trace the evolution of this proposal with the information provided on these pages.]  The process for that vote will follow the new rules for a high-stakes proposal, IF the current proposed process for high-stakes decisions is approved by the Board and congregation.
  • This part of our website has been developed in order to fill in members who missed these meetings, allow us to answer some frequently asked questions, and to provide some more detailed information congregants might want to have available when making their decisions.  (See below for a description of the topics provided.)  
  • Town Hall style meetings will be held: At Market Street on May 14 @ 12 pm;  After the Clover Lane Service on May 15. These meetings will allow congregants to voice their concerns or enthusiasm for the proposal and to hear the ideas of others.  
  • The proposal will be refined and put to a vote by May 22.  
The information you will find here:

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