Oak Street Meeting House Project

Posted on July 24, 2021
Category: Accessibility
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GOAL $5,000 The Oak Street Meeting House Project, reclaiming our parsonage as vibrant, useable **and accessible** space at the First Universalist Church of Camp Hill, AL.
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The Oak Street Meeting House is a proposed venue for dinner church, social events, an outreach office, and an **accessible** restroom. Accessibility is a big issue for our old church building. First Universalist Church of Camp Hill is an aging congregation and there is no way to make our sanctuary wheelchair accessible.

It is architecturally impossible to do. However, the adjacent parsonage, which we are renovating, offers us wonderful opportunities.

Dinner church is something that is already in our DNA as a congregation. Potluck traditionally follows service here and as our numbers have dwindled, and we now gather in the fellowship hall for our Sunday worship, the space between the worship and the food which follows has become thin. However, to make that final leap, we need a modern fully equipped kitchen.

Several of our members are involved in the local music scene and once the updates are complete, we can use also the Meeting House as a place for concerts, as others are already doing in similar spaces in nearby Opelika once the Pandemic wanes.

We also need an outreach office for our Church. We maintain a food pantry here, serving our local community, and we also maintain an animal ministry, providing not just food, but spaying and neutering services, vet care and forever homes for the stray animal population of Camp Hill, AL. We cannot do this work from anywhere else.

Oak Street Meeting House is named as a nod to Mary Slaughter Scott who co-founded the similarly named Charles Street Universalist Meeting House; Mary was from here in Camp Hill, AL and together with her husband, Rev. Clinton Lee Scott, worked to modernize the denomination and ensure a place for humanism within what became our faith.

She is buried in Slaughters Cemetery which we maintain.

We were not the first Universalists here in Alabama. The very first federal judge to hold court in Alabama had been a Unitarian. In the 1830s, there had been a joint venture between the Unitarians and Universalist in Montgomery. However, ours is one of the oldest, surviving Universalist and later UU congregations in the Deep South, having been founded by Rev. Shehane back in 1846 with the support from such families as the Slaughters and Hesters.

We have a deep history and a legacy worth preserving. We have struggled to be on the right side of history, often falling short, but never stopping short. We have kept going and we are not done yet. We have been working to reconnect to our community, to find innovative, inclusive, and exciting ways to acknowledge worth and honor the legacy of enslaved people whose stories are also a part of us.

We have the vision, the grit, and the determination; we need the funding.

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