Brief congregational news items from the Summer 2013 issue.
Archival photo shows a May Day wagon party outside First Universalist Church in Yarmouth, Maine.
Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2011, members of First Universalist Church in Yarmouth, Maine, set out to record 50 years of the congregation’s history. It turned out, however, that the members’ memories stretched back even farther, so a new book about the congregation captures 75 years instead.
The Church at the End of Portland Street: 75 Years in the Life of a CommUUnity in Yarmouth, Maine, is an oral history compiled entirely from interviews with 30 longtime members of the congregation. Illustrated with donated historical photographs, the book is available from lulu.com for $31.55.
Church member Mariana Tupper, who edited the book, has also crafted a script from the interviews and is creating a movie—complete with recordings of the church choir.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Wakefield, Mass., celebrated its bicentennial with a yearlong slate of special events, stretching from June 2012 to May 2013. The congregation staged plays and musical events and hosted a town-wide scavenger hunt to help the community explore local history. In April, the congregation held a bicentennial service featuring the combined choirs of area UU congregations. Members hope the celebrations will bolster the capital campaign to repair the aging steeple on the historic church building.
Members of First Unitarian Church of Dallas raised more than $23,000 to fund a well in South Sudan, the original home of church member Bol Deng Malual, who returned to the village to help install the well. Malual was working in a grocery store in Dallas when he was befriended by a First Unitarian member, Deanna Charles. When she heard his story and learned that he had a dream of providing a water well for his village, Charles made that a project of First Unitarian.
Church members raised money for the “WaterBol” project primarily by giving up soft drinks, alcohol, and other beverages for Lent. Malual returned to his village in October 2012 and hired a contractor who dug a well 500 feet deep into a pure aquifer. Now, for the first time, villagers don’t have to walk a half hour for water that isn’t especially clean, bringing it back in containers balanced on their heads.
A longer version of this piece ran on uuworld.org.
This article appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of UU World (page 48).
Please note: newsletter on hiatus
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).
Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.