Donor gives camp an observatory

Donor gives camp an observatory

Plus: Flooding brings fish into meeting house basement; Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, church celebrates building expansion; Madison, Wisconsin, society marks fiftieth anniversary.

The UBarU Youth Astronomical Observatory, seen from above with the retractable roof open.

The UBarU Youth Astronomical Observatory, seen from above with the retractable roof open. (© John Phelps)

© John Phelps


After seeing the work UBarU—a Texas UU camp and retreat—was doing to educate youth about the value of preserving the night skies, Andrew McGown donated $52,500 from the McGown Family Endowment to construct and equip the UBarU Youth Astronomical Observatory. The observatory, which will enhance science and astronomy education for youth 18 and under, was completed in October 2017. The observatory features a motorized, slide-off roof to provide a 16 x 24 foot viewing area equipped with a pier-mounted PlaneWave 12.5 inch CDK primary telescope, plus a movable 16 inch Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian telescope. UBarU was certified an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association in 2015.

Winter flood damages church

The Cape Cod Times reported on January 9 that fish had been seen swimming in the crawl space below the UU Meeting House of Provincetown, Massachusetts, a few hours after historic high tides caused by a winter storm that struck New England on January 4. Assessing the damage afterward, the Rev. Kate Wilkinson said rugs, computer equipment, and electrical equipment were destroyed.

Pennsylvania church celebrates expansion

In October 2017, the UU Church of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, celebrated a $2.6 million expansion that completes the building’s conversion from a 1920s mansion to a church. When the house was purchased in 1971, its living room was converted to a seventy-five-person sanctuary and the bedrooms became classrooms and offices. Planning for the current expansion began in 2009, and the new sanctuary, which seats 220, features large windows, soaring steel arches, a natural wood ceiling, and a stage that accommodates the pulpit, a new grand piano, and room for the choir. The new addition also includes offices and religious education classrooms.

Prairie UU marks 50th

Prairie UU Society of Madison, Wisconsin, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in September 2017 with a weekend of events, including a party, the opening of a time capsule containing letters written by members in 1985, a special service and potluck lunch, tours, a paper timeline detailing events in the fifty-year life of the congregation, and a display of artifacts and artwork. Prairie Society was established in 1967 as a branch of First Unitarian Society of Madison to relieve church school overcrowding.


The Summer 2018 print edition and an earlier media roundup misattributed a story to the Boston Globe that originally appeared in the Cape Cod Times.