Re-envisioning Orinda Community Church (ongoing)

On January 29, 2006, the Annual Church Meeting adopted a resolution calling for the appointment of a committee “charged with the responsibility to engage the congregation in a three-year process leading to the refocusing and restructuring of Orinda Community Church…”  The motive for undertaking this process of re-envisioning was summarized by Pastor Frank Baldwin in these words: 

OCC’s present institutional structure dates back to 1971, and despite modifications and adaptations over the years, still tends to reflect the religious and social accommodations of the 1960s.  However, our church, the surrounding community, and the cultural setting in which we now find ourselves have changed dramatically over these past forty years.  Forward-looking congregations today are increasingly re-exploring the core purpose, mission and spirit of the church, in order to refocus and restructure the church’s life and work for the 21st century. 

While the intent of the Annual Meeting was to get started on this process “within three months,” that undertaking was delayed by a variety of factors, including a major property decision, a landmark financial study, and several changes in the church’s pastoral leadership.  However, by the fall of 2009, the Church Council felt that the time had come for implementation of the Refocus/Restructure Initiative.   Accordingly, a process steering committee of seven was appointed in October:  Sabine Hathaway, Anne Long, David Milnes, Susan Russell, Roger Samuelsen, Kurt Sunderbruch (Chair), and Bob Winbigler, with Frank Baldwin and Jeff Crews serving ex officio.  The Re-envisioning Steering Committee’s formal charter is as follows:

As soon as possible after their appointment at the October 28, 2009 Church Council meeting, the members of the OCC Re-envisioning Steering Committee shall begin work on their task to engage the congregation in a two to three year process leading to the re-envisioning, re-focusing and restructuring of Orinda Community Church that will include the following elements: 1) study, discernment, dialogue and prayer for the purpose of creating a process through which 2) the congregation will envision and develop a refocus/restructure initiative for the church, and 3) facilitate the  implementation, testing, adjustments as required, and evaluation of results.

During an initial six-month interval of research and planning, the Re-envisioning Steering Committee (RSC) designed a year-long series of ten congregational dialogues, most of which are taking the form of after-church “town hall” meetings.  Using a model suggested by Anthony B. Robinson’s stimulating book, Changing the Conversation, we have been asked to look together at some of the essential questions and issues involved in re-tooling our faith community for the future.  The rationale behind this initial state of the re-envisioning process is to: 1) provide the congregation with an informational base about the powerful cultural forces which have reshaped the American religious landscape over the past fifty years, 2) stimulate respectful thinking and sharing about the qualities of spirit and style which we most value in Orinda Community Church, 3) begin to trustingly discern together how God is guiding the church into the next stage of our congregational journey, and 4) prepare OCC to implement creative, well-reasoned and spiritually-grounded changes, where such are perceived as necessary. 

Below are links which will take one to further information about OCC’s re-envisioning project. 

Links to Files:

First Year Agenda:  The Ten Congregational Conversations

May 23, 2010 "It's not about You"
May 23, 2010 Meeting Notes

July 25, 2010 "And Yet it is About You"
July 25, 2010 Meeting Notes

September 19, 2010 "A New Heart"
September 19, 2010 Meeting Notes

October 15, 2010 “Why Are We Here?”
October 15, 2010 Meeting Notes

October 16, 2010 “Write the Vision”
October 16, 2010 Meeting Notes

December 12, 2010 Discussion of Emerging OCC Purpose & Vision”
December 12, 2010 Meeting Notes

February 6, 2011 “Who Shall Lead Them” and “Let’s Get (Less) Organized”
February 6, 2011 Meeting Notes

March 27, 2011 “The Church and the Public Square”
March 27, 2011 Meeting Notes

April 17, 2011 "Death and Resurrection"
April 17, 2011 Meeting Notes

May 22, 2011 "Where Do We Go From Here?"
May 22, 2011 Meeting Notes

July 13, 2011 Vision Statement Cover letter
July 13, 2011 Next Steps
July 13, 2011 OCC Vision Statement Draft

September 13, 2011 Letter to members and friends
September 13, 2011 Vision Statement draft

October 9, 2011 The congregation unanimously voted to accept the new Vision Statement.
October 9, 2011 Next Steps

December 2011 Working Groups are forming

Additional Links:

Visit to the Congregational Church UCC, Scottsdale

Visit to the the Church of the Redeemer UCC, New Haven, CT.

January 30, 2011 Straw Poll on Purpose and Vision


"Next Steps" - Summaries of Working Groups

May 2013 Final Report to the Congregation

Sept. 2013 Governance Trends

Sept. 2013 Governance & Leadership Scenarios