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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

From CCWM to Sanctuary UCC: How Sanctuary Came To Be (2013 – 2016)

The Crossroads Process and Bold Decision (2013-2016) Following a formal inquiry and discernment process using the Crossroads Model (details below) the Congregational Church of West Medford “left the building to follow Jesus into the street to meet people where they were and spread love and care to all – being sanctuary wherever we found ourselves and with whom ever we met.” This document defines the Bold Decision and reflects the mission and ministry plan, the shared values and the vision we set for Sanctuary UCC.

Refining Sanctuary’s Mission and MInistry (2016 – 2019)

Beyond Crossroads (2016-2017) Moved by our experiences of being Sanctuary, the impact of the Boston Globe Article, the affirmation and recognition of our mission and ministry from our denomination and our community –  we were still aware of resistance to new ways of being church and the long timeline to sustainability that we understood to be the typical path for new church starts in the progressive church. We read “Beyond Resistance” together – which inspired this process of assessment and refinement. The outcome of this ‘discernment moment” is expressed here in the 2016 Sanctuary Visioning Presentation which reflects how we measured success/impact, what ministries were working, what needed further attention, and what we would attend to in developing the 2017 ministry plan.

Being Sanctuary – Deep Questions (2017-2020): As we continued to be sanctuary, we leaned into the recommendations to attend to what we do well, find our neighbors, right size our mission, discover our worship style, and listen for what God wanted from us. This 2019 picture of the process-and-practice of “being sanctuary” describes what we do well, what we love, and what is unique about how Sanctuary does church. “The Five Deeps Model” connects our vision to our mission-in-action. It was used to invite dialogue about how folk would connect to the call to “be a spiritual sanctuary and have spiritual transformation” and chose to engage that call in their lives and volunteerism.

Sanctuary Congregational Conflicts (2018 to 2020)

In any consideration of the journey of Sanctuary it need be noted that during the period from 2018-2020 the congregation held conflicting perspectives on Sanctuary’s call, ministry and staffing models, and measures of success. Details of these perspectives, processes pursued to resolve, and organizational outcomes are documented in their respective Congregational Documentation of meetings held and decisions reached.

An overview of this period of conflict, a commitment to release the confict, and a call to move forward to be Sanctuary is expressed in the Pastor’s Report to the 12/06./2020 Congregational Meeting.

Sanctuary Community and Hillside Partnerships (2020 –  today)

The pandemic lockdown and ensuing changes led us to partner more deeply with Hillside Community Church. In a word – it just made sense. That partnership increased the mission and staff capacity of both congregations; and has inspired excellent worship and music, diversified our community outreach, strengthened our ministry with children and youth, and broadened our faith formation options.  

Through the pandemic to today we were abled to maintain excellent worship and faith formation, increase our micropantry and food ministry, re-engage the OWL program, restart am2pm youth community service program (2023), and restart the Sanctuary Arts and Inspiration Ministry (Lasting Look, Faith and Film, Where From/WhereTo).

Sanctuary continues to serve the city and wider interfaith community as a source of connection, organizing, and progressive thought for justice and equity. Examples include: interfaith gatherings such as the Pride Worship, Service of Hope and Light, and Easter Sunrise; and Advisor to the Mayor’s Office, the Medford School Superintendent, Medford School District Health Education Curriculum Review Team, Center for Ciitizenship and Social Responsibility (CCSR)

For Reference

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