Brief news items about congregational building programs.
Unity Church–Unitarian in St. Paul, Minn., has broken ground on an $8 million expansion project. It will add a glassed-in entrance to the sanctuary, parish hall, and classrooms, and will create a courtyard opening to the surrounding neighborhood. The church is also remodeling the religious education level, adding high-efficiency heating and air conditioning, and installing a new commercial kitchen. Members hope the project will be completed in time for the December 2012 Christmas pageant.
Singing “Enter, Rejoice and Come In,” members of the Oberlin, Ohio, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship entered their new home in May. A religious meeting space is the latest of many incarnations for the building, formerly the Parsons Dairy and offices of a building contractor. The fellowship is remodeling the interior and adding windows and doors. Services will begin in the new building in the fall of 2012.
Organized as a Unitarian fellowship in 1960, the congregation became the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship the following year when the two national denominations merged. It owned a house in the 1960s and ’70s, but sold it in 1979. Money from that sale, along with donations from the congregation, made the purchase possible.
To prepare for its move to a new building, the members of the United Unitarian and Universalist Society of Mukwonago, Wisc., passed their lit chalice from member to member in a month-long ritual in February. The chalice started in the hands of the congregation’s longest standing members, three sisters in their 90s. It ended with two of the youngest members, who carried it into the church in the neighboring town of Waukesah.
The congregation, which was founded in 1877, will now be known as the United Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
In place of a courtyard that often flooded, Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, Calif., has installed a plaza with an accessible stone labyrinth—complete with a mosaic chalice—as its centerpiece. The 45-by-80-foot plaza provides drainage and drinking water. Excess rainwater collects in a dry well system and flows into underground containers. The water is filtered and added to the city’s underground aquifer system.
This article appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of UU World (pages 44–45).
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Michelle Bates Deakin, a member of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, Massachusetts, was a UU World contributing editor from 2006 to 2011 and a UU World senior editor from 2011 to 2014. She is the author of Social Action Heroes: Unitarian Universalists Who Are Changing the World (Skinner House, 2011) and Gay Marriage, Real Life: 10 Stories of Love and Family (Skinner House, 2006).
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