Help Open Hearts and Doors in West Virginia

Help Open Hearts and Doors in West Virginia

Crowdfunding Completed: July 2, 2017

Amount Funded: $6055

Project Owner: UU Congregation of Charleston, WV

Short Description of Project

West Virginia's largest UU sanctuary is hopping with many new regular attendees, but we literally can't open our doors to welcome everyone inside.

How was this project connected to UU?

Winding down from our tree trimming this year!

Unitarian Universalist presence in the state of West Virginia is deeply needed and wanted in today’s climate.

Located in the fairly progressive capital of this now red state, our congregation has been experiencing an increase in attendance from people of a wide variety of ages, geographic location and economic backgrounds. Our 116-member congregation has been working hard to welcome these newcomers through efforts such as our increased “New to UUC” sessions and covenant groups that intentionally mix newer folks with older members.

Our congregation is engaged outside of its walls, and because of who we are in the community, our building is a desirable space for community gatherings. Despite its physical limitations, many in our wider community feels comfortable in our space and we want it to continue to be used in this way. We have activists running trainings and organizing poster-making sessions, two Narcotics Anonymous who hold their weekly meetings in our sanctuary, as well as arthritis exercise classes, tai chi and meditation. The congregation itself has been actively involved in our state’s water crises, and welcomes UU youth to stay with us while on their service trips to the state by working with the UUA’s and UUSC’s College for Social Justice. We are actively involved in supporting Black Lives Matter through our own Task Force, and are actively addressing issues of racism within and outside our walls. We are an engaged, growing congregation in a place where Unitarian Universalism is needed and embraced.

The physical portion of our congregation is lagging behind our programming, however. We need help making it so that everyone who wants to come into our congregation can indeed do so! Help us continue to grow as a beacon of hope and love in West Virginia.

Full Description of Project

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston, WV is West Virginia’s largest and only minister-led congregation. For many years we have been a beacon of progressive religion and an incubator of activism in the capital of a red state. Since the election, we have been experiencing a spike in attendance during Sunday worship and throughout the week, which has made our already problematic entry spaces an even bigger problem.

People are coming for spirit and community and have been getting these – but our physical capacity has been preventing some of the folks who try to get here from getting inside. Whether an inability to find parking, get up our ramp, or open our doors – our physical space has prevented people from entering into the sanctuary they are seeking. Help get more folks into our congregation in a time when our state is in need of space for community, healing and inspiration.

Help us to:

Purchase new entrance doors, as the current doors are difficult for many to open and close
Fix entry ramp, as it has developed a large drop from ramp to lot, making it very difficult to get onto
Repave parking lot, which is quite hole-y and therefore dangerous for people and their cars
Repaint parking lot, as our lines are quite faded, preventing us from maximizing the cars that can park
Order parking lot signage, to clearly mark handicapped spots and entry and exit ways
The too-steep incline of our entryway

hole-y parking lot with far too faded lines!

Members document their difficult journey into the congregation on a Sunday morning for services.