News briefs: Congregation moves from Norfolk to Virginia Beach; fellowship in Port Townsend, Washington, partners with S’Klallam Tribe to create Chief Chetzemoka Interpretive Trail.
The combined choirs of four congregations in southeast Virginia sing at the dedication of the new home of the Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists in Virginia Beach on April 28, 2019. (Courtesy Justine Sullivan)
On April 28, the Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists (CVUU), formerly the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, Virginia, celebrated both its name change and its move to Virginia Beach. More than 250 people attended the celebration, which opened with a video greeting from UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray followed by blessings from seven visiting UU ministers. An original anthem, “We Can Build Our Home,” composed by CVUU Music Director Matt Griset for the occasion, was sung by the combined choirs of three Virginia congregations.
At a total cost of $3.8 million, the new building is twice the size of the old one. The new site is on higher ground and far less prone to flooding, a fate the old building suffered often. It also has more parking and outdoor space. Weekly attendance is up 30 percent since the first Sunday service in the new building, and the religious education program has grown from nine children last summer to 99 today, said the Rev. Justine Sullivan, interim minister.
After two years of work by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and the Native Connections Action Group at Quimper UU Fellowship in Port Townsend, Washington, 600 people gathered for the grand opening ceremony of the Chief Chetzemoka Interpretive Trail June 29. The new trail, which includes interpretive signs at sixteen sites of significance, tells the story of the relationship between nineteenth-century European settlers and the S’Klallam leader they called Chetzemoka, who lived in Port Townsend until his tribe was forced to leave the Qatay village in 1858. Tribal elder Celeste Dybeck had the original vision for the trail, and the congregation, three S’Klallam tribes, and the City of Port Townsend worked together to make it happen. The Rev. Kate Lore, minister of Quimper UU, hopes the trail “paves the way to a deeper understanding between cultures and a heightened appreciation of indigenous leadership.”
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