Fire and Accessibility: Rebuilding and Outreach in Appalachia
DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.
(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)
The essence of this fundraiser is to raise $9,500 to make necessary repairs to our building and surrounding property after a fire 5 years ago, repairs that had been delayed due to lack of funding, and to make needed accessibility additions, so that we may return our full focus on outreach in Appalachia, and to create a more inclusive ministry. We are a UUA congregation and we will be happy to supply a receipt for your tax deduction purposes.
OUR CLAIM FOR UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM:
For decades, the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington, WV, a UUA congregation, has worked to be an active member of our community. Not only do we offer a weekly Sunday Fellowship meeting that balances the UUA order of service with enlightened educational discussion, but we have also participated in and hosted dozens of community events, meetings, gatherings, and spiritual celebrations each year, including: AA/NA Meetings; PFLAG Meetings; Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition Meetings; Lambda Meetings; Weekly Meditations; Monthly Drum Circles; Boardgame Nights; Participation in the annual Marshall University Earth Day Celebration; Participation in the annual Huntington Sustainability Fair; Educational Workshops and Lectures on Yoga, Climate Change, Social Justice, Art, etc.; and Holiday Celebrations on Solstices, Equinoxes, Christmas/Yule, Halloween/All Souls Day, etc. We’ve even hosted visits from local and international Buddhist Monks. Suffice to say, we are an active bunch, doing our best to live by our shared 7 Principles and to be an active positive influence on our region. All of the work to maintain and perpetuate our Fellowship is done by volunteers.
Our congregation is particularly motivated to be involved in matters of Social Justice & Environmental Activism, and to encourage each other on our paths to seek truth and personal growth. We have families, children, teenagers, single persons, married persons, elders and LGBTQ persons. One group we are less able to minister to, however, would be those with serious mobility challenges, as our Fellowship Hall does not have a wheelchair ramp. This is one of the things were are asking funding for.
Our vision involves a few things: Providing an inclusive space that is safe and welcoming where people feel comfortable to attend while they search for truth; ministering without judgment to those who need it in an area that can be very judgmental; setting an example of environmentally friendly and sustainable use and maintenance of our property; participating in matters of social justice; and perpetuating personal improvement and growth. Our members are passionate, intelligent, diverse, and have a desire to make an impact.
We are especially involved in the sustainability renaissance that has been happening in our area. To that end, we have partnered with a number of area organizations to host a number of green workshops and events in 2021, such as: Urban Orchard pruning and maintenance, hosted by WV Extension Service; Composting & Sustainable Urban Agriculture, hosted by the Marshall University Sustainability Department, Native Edible Perennials, hosted by Appalachian Forest Herbs, and a series of outdoor movie nights called “Green Movies Under The Stars”, hosted by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. All have verified their commitment through either letters or email.
On September 5, 2015, our Fellowship experienced an electrical fire that caused significant damage throughout our building. Through our Church Mutual insurance and our 2015 Faithify fundraiser, we were able to fund and make many significant and necessary repairs. However, we were unable to raise enough funds for all repairs, the largest of which is rebuilding the rear roofed stairs and decking that provided secondary access to both the first and second floors, which is a serious safety issue, and further brick mortar repair to adjacent walls.
The rear roofed stairs and deck were significantly damaged in the fire and had to be torn down. The bricking mortar was damaged as well, with sections so deteriorated that you can stick a finger into the mortar and watch it turn to dust. We have been without stairs out back ever since then, leaving the second floor without a secondary exit and thus unsafe in the case of another fire emergency, and making it impossible to move from the kitchen to the backyard, as there is more than a 4-foot drop. This has made utilizing our backyard meeting space complicated to say the least. Moving from inside the kitchen to out back requires going outside, walking around the building to the side gate (a found discarded piece of fencing our volunteers had turned into a somewhat functional gate). This inability to move directly from backyard to kitchen has also meant we cannot lock the gates from the inside, which has led to substantial vandal damage to our fencing.
Due to COVID-19, gatherings at the church greatly increased our use of your backyard. When the case counts were lower and stay-at-home orders were not in effect, we alternated online zoom services with in-person outside masked meetings every-other-week. At our Fellowship Hall, we either gathered on the small front porch when numbers were small enough to keep 6-feet or more apart, or in the backyard. We even hosted a few garden workdays and an Autumnal Equinox celebration using this space. Since new stay-at-home orders and a significant rise in cases in our county, we moved to virtual gatherings only in early October. But for the months we could gather, our backyard space was invaluable.
In plain fact, however, our backyard is not currently friendly to anyone with mobility challenges. There are some dips and holes in the yard that need leveled out, and entrance areas really need to be made more stable with leveling and concrete paving squares. Our fencing needs some repairs, too, due to age and vandal damage, and the gating needs replaced with something more stable, secure, and accessibility friendly.
Our Fellowship Hall greatly needs a wheelchair ramp, too, as it is currently only accessible via the front porch stairs and side door entrance stairs. Anyone utilizing a wheelchair or walker would have great difficulty joining in our fellowship meetings or community outreach events.
Given that things will likely continue to be complicated concerning COVID-19 and future mutations of the virus, the use of outside gathering spaces will continue to be a necessary option. As we work to improve and expand our outreach, we wish to make both our inside and outside Fellowship Hall meeting spaces more accessible. To that end, we wish to install a wheelchair ramp for easy access to our front porch and inside meeting space, and add level paving stones and light, easy to open yet secure gating to our backyard meeting area.
We need to raise $9,500.00 in 45 days for these delayed fire damage repairs and needed accessibility additions. Here is how we have come to this fundraising goal amount:
- For installation of new roofed decking and stairs to both the “ground” floor and the 2nd story on the back of the building, and mortar repair to that general area, material and supply estimates have run upwards of $3,000, with approximately $4,000 for bonded, certified labor.
- Stephen Zoeller, a volunteer with Faith In Action of the River Cities, has been building wheelchair ramps for people and organizations in the community for over 15 years. He’s promised his volunteer labor and expertise to construct our new wheelchair ramp, with some volunteer help from our UFoH members, and has provided an official estimate for materials and supplies at $1,200.
- For installation of lightweight lockable gates (for sturdy security and ease of opening by those who use wheelchairs), and a few panels of new fencing along the back that are more vandal resistant, estimates for the vinyl gates and wood paneling materials and supplies are around $800, with labor provided by UFoH members.
- For leveling of backyard “dips”& holes, and leveling of gated entrance areas using concrete paving squares, gravel, weed barrier fabric, and sand, estimates for materials and supplies are around $500, with labor provided by UFoH members.
Total ask would be for $9,500.
Any additional funds that are raised will go towards building more vertical and raised gardening areas and increasing the paving square zones in our yard, so as to improve accessibility and increase participation in fellowship meetings and community outreach events by anyone with mobility challenges.
If these repairs and accessibility additions were completed, our congregation could better focus on the UFoH’s vision and outreach mission, including our “2021 green push” workshops and movie nights, foster a more inclusive ministry, and be personally involved in perpetuating the positive social changes slowly arriving in our area. We live in an area that is not always receptive to social changes. We desire to spend our energy on preserving and promoting the health of the sacred interdependent web of existence by practicing and educating the community on sustainability measures, growing food, and recycling/up-cycling. We have several ministers here that are happy to conduct same-sex marriages. Perhaps it would be of interest to you that we have an agreement which was voted upon in 2011 that if the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington should ever experience dissolution; that the church building (which we own without debt) would be sold and the funds from the sale would be given to the UUA Ohio Meadville district. So, any investments made into this project would ultimately return to the UUA.
We understand that these are significant requests for assistance and would be glad for any help that could be sent our way. We thank you for your consideration.
In Love and Peace,
Linda R. Greer
President of the Unitarian Fellowship of Huntington
619 6th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
UU Fellowship of Dubuque Historic Building Preservation
The UU Fellowship of Dubuque is a small, primarily lay-led congregation with a 35-year history of actively working to create a more just, equitable, compassionate world. Our church is the only one in Dubuque, Iowa in the Carpenter Gothic style, distinguished by its pointed arch windows, steep-pitched roofs, and decorative wood millwork – familiar architectural features in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting.
Recently, our building caught the eye of historic preservationists, including one who saw an old photo of the belfry and offered to help pay for its restoration. With the help of the wider community – we can bring this charming building back to its original spirit and beauty.
The church exterior will be restored – including replication of the belfry, which was removed about 70 years ago. The limestone block foundation and basement walls will be reinforced, exterior masonry will be cleaned, repaired and repointed.
Entrance doors and entryway transoms will be repaired and restored. Exterior wood surfaces will be repaired and repainted. Wood shingles on the walls and the current roof will be replaced. A drop ceiling will be removed to uncover the vaulted ceiling and pointed arch windows.
In addition, we currently do not have an elevator to access the lower level of the building, and the existing staircase is narrow and uneven – so the lower level is unusable for most events. We look forward to installing a lift, which will double our usable space.
Investing in Our Community
We are not only restoring the bricks and mortar of this building, we’re renewing our commitment to serve as a resource to Dubuque – opening our doors even wider for community events and conversations. We invite speakers from area nonprofits, businesses, organizations and other religious traditions – Hope House, Temple Beth El, Path of Hope Immigration Services, Resources Unite, Tri-State Islamic Center, Dubuque Rescue Mission, Presentation Lantern Center, and Catholic Charities Jail & Prison Ministry – to present at services.
We host the Historic District Coffeehouse, giving local musicians, poets and storytellers from Dubuque and Tri-State region a platform for sharing their talents with an appreciative audience. People from the neighborhood join us as performers and audience members.
We make our parsonage available to Families First, a state-sponsored organization that provides a home-like setting for supervised visits uniting parents and children separated by the courts – helping restore family unity. Many families are from the Jackson Park neighborhood.
The total estimated cost for the restoration project is $1.5 million: $465,000 to replicate the belfry; $410,000 to restore the exterior; $625,000 to renovate the interior. We have generous donors who will match $2 for every $1 we raise – and for every firm pledge we receive – through December 31. This triples the impact of donations! Our application for $300,000 in historic tax credits is under review. With over $60,000 in pledges already in-hand – we need to raise $140,000. We aim to raise $3,500 through Faithify, which with the 2:1 match will equate to $10,500!
Our goals for this project are to increase our visibility to our community, to rededicate and invigorate our membership’s commitment to neighborhood service, and to increase the functionality of our building to enable us to live our mission: to provide a welcoming community that inspires growth by encouraging individuals and families to examine their religious and spiritual beliefs, to explore new ideas, and to respect and enjoy each other’s differences.
Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse of Provincetown Sanctuary Restoration
Stretch Goal Added!
see details below
A pew and floor in the Sanctuary.
Sanctuary restoration and accessibility project at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse of Provincetown.
During this time when we cannot gather together in the UUMH of Provincetown, we want to use the time our temporarily going online affords to engage in stewardship of the historic interior of our Sanctuary. We have been entrusted with a beautiful and historic building, and we want to preserve, restore and steward it, as well as increasing accesses for all members of our congregation and guests, now and into the future.
We will also improve accessibly and inclusion for members of the congregation and guests who use wheelchairs or scooters, by carefully removing one row of pews to create more room while being mindful of the historic integrity of the Sanctuary.
We have a budget of $20,000 for this work with a match of $10,000. We are seeking to raise $10,000 from the congregation, UU’s worldwide, as well as friends and visitors. You can donate online by credit card here, or mail a check payable to UUMH of Provincetown to PO Box 817, Provincetown, MA 02657. Please make a note “Sanctuary Restoration” in the memo field if donating by check.
Center aisle of the Meetinghouse.
This project is being undertaken in consultation between the Board and a member of the congregation with a master’s degree in historic preservation to sensitively restore the Meetinghouse pews, floors, hymnal racks, handrails, etc in a historically appropriate way. We are keenly aware of both the emotional and historic significance of our building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and want to do our best to do this work in a historically appropriate way.
Charleston, WV UU Heavy Rain Damage Disaster Relief
DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately
(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)
Thanks to a Disaster Relief Fund Grant from the UUA, the goal for this campaign has been reduced to $5,000
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston is a small congregation in West Virginia with a big heart. We have served Charleston, WV and the surrounding areas for many years. We are the only congregation in West Virginia with a full-time minister. We own a rental home next door to our main building. This house brings in monthly rental income for us. Since we are a small congregation, this monthly income is essential for meeting our budgetary needs.
Our rental property is almost 100 years old. We have recently been getting frequent heavy rains and this has caused the basement to flood with several feet of water in recent weeks. We discovered after several basement floods that the old terracotta pipe that connects the sewer line to the main house was crushed in one section. Plumbers came out to look at the problem and told our tenant not to pour any water down the drains. The tenants were unable to use sinks, shower, toilet for several days. The city determined that it was the responsibility of UUC to repair since the break was on our property. The problem is also not covered by insurance, and we have no money in our budget for this repair.
This repair is going to be expensive at over $10,000. The pipe is over 8 feet underground and under the sidewalk in the front of the home. We ask our fellow UU congregations to help us with the unexpected cost of this repair. Catastrophic events like this can be especially devastating to small congregations like ours. We appreciate any assistance you can give us to help offset the financial burden of repairs.
Help rejuvenate this...
Our Unitarian Universalist church was built almost 170 years ago by a group of abolitionists, including our main founder, who was not a funeral director but drove a hearse around town as a means of helping formerly enslaved people find their ways to freedom. One of our other early members went with a group of women to Town Hall on Election Day, where they demanded to vote — before the vote for women was officially allowed in 1920. (She was not a woman to be crossed, and the group was allowed to vote.)
Dr. Edward Everett Hale, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many other key thinkers of their day have given lectures in our church hall (yes, the very hall we’re trying to renovate).
We’ve have a lot of fun in the old hall, including after church services during coffee hour.
We’ve been working to keep our founders’ dreams alive ever since the church began, making social justice a cornerstone of our community — raising money for Habitat for Humanity, hosting community suppers, becoming a Welcoming Congregation, hosting educational events about racial, economic and climate justice, holding Amnesty International letter writing campaigns, and holding a vigil and fundraiser to help reunite separated immigrant families.
Thing is, our church is really starting to show its age despite our small congregation’s best efforts, and we’re trying to increase our outreach to include everyone we can in the awesomeness of our beloved community. Under the rubric of our Spiritual Growth and Community Center, we host dozens of programs every year that are open to the community and that take place in Union Hall.
Recent and ongoing programs include: the Sessions open mic and coffeehouse, Japanese playgroup, drum circles, annual clothing giveaway, murder mystery dinner theater, potluck suppers, games nights, Mooncircle full moon rituals, labyrinth workshops, Red Tent events, Dungeons and Dragons, “Shake Your Soul” Yoga Dance, yoga, a rank choice voting informational musical event, Halloween Harry Potter-themed open house and fundraiser, winter blues beach party and many more. We also lend our space to Hudson town conservation meetings and the downtown holiday stroll.
The hall is in dire need of some updating.
We’d love to do even more, including increasing our attractiveness to outside renters as a way of improving our financial self-reliance. But be honest: If you didn’t already know and love us, would you really want to hang out in a place with cracked paint that’s in semi-darkness? (Neither do we, but we really need coffee after the service. You know.)
So, please, consider helping us buy new tables, upgrade to dimmable LED lights, cover Ye Olde Radiators with pretty fabric, and buy paint (for a DIY project). If our Faithify goal is exceeded by $1,500, we will also upgrade the wiring for the stage and the hall in general. (Yes, we have a stage, from the days before television, when folks used to engage in quaint activities like putting on plays and making music to entertain themselves and to raise money for the church.)
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for any help you can give us. And whether you donate or not, please visit us in wonderful downtown Hudson, Mass. – we’d love to meet you! (Even if the lighting is suspect, at least we’ll be able to offer you some coffee. And there are lots of great restaurants and cool shops to check out afterward.)
For more information about our church and our wonderful minister and staff, head to www.ucmh.org.
Help us REOPEN Downtown Church in Greenfield MA after asbestos found
-Click the “Updates” tab to read earlier updates on this project.-
What’s wrong? Greenfield All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church is totally closed, sealed by the Greenfield Health Department due to a public health contaminant discovered during a demolition and rehabilitation attempt. Church members and volunteers gutted a former mold and water damaged classroom in preparation for productive use of the space. Just as the demolition was almost complete it was discovered that many of the materials contained asbestos. Now Department of Environmental Protection is mandating remediation which will cost us over $17,000.
We are a “Little-Engine-that-Could” congregation of about 70 members who are desperately seeking funding to re-open the church as soon as possible. Our current operating budget is so slim that we are currently lay led. Recently a group approached us about using our spaces during the week and we jumped into action to make those spaces habitable and ready. That’s when our disaster struck us and closed down our beautiful home and vibrant community gathering place. There are no funds available to rectify this emergency without your help!
All Souls Church is a Unitarian Universalist Congregation located in the historical downtown section of Greenfield, Massachusetts. We are a very active social justice oriented church with a small membership. We’re a downtown church, in one of Massachusetts’ lowest income communities, Greenfield. In addition to our Sunday services; we host the Stone Soup Café, Wednesday evening AA groups, recitals and concerts, community forums, our annual Anti-racism Film Festival, we host a myriad of economic and green justice initiatives. The Stone Soup Café (thestonesoupcafe.org) provides a weekly Saturday meal, feeding lunch to 90 – 150 guests on a pay-as-you-can basis. Stone Soup also serves 700 – 1,000 people at an annual Free Harvest Supper and supports many other community non-profits with food donations as well as catering from our kitchen.
We have been a major force for community-building and social justice in action in Greenfield; the inability to access our church creates difficulties not only for the congregation, but for the hundreds and hundreds of others we serve through our ongoing ministries.
Your help is really needed!
- Until we are able to complete the asbestos abatement and pass all the tests, no one is allowed to enter the church.
- The $17,000.00 clean up bill poses a serious threat to our ability to stay open.
- We are faced with at least tripling the cost for the renovation of this classroom space and will need as much help as possible.
- Your assistance will be greatly appreciated by the congregation and all those that we serve.
Flash Flood Relief- Help...
DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately
(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)
East Suburban Unitarian Universalist Church (ESUUC) is small in size and large in goals. We have served the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh for 53 years as fair share congregation of the UUA. We have an active CUUPs chapter and our RE program has grown to two classes last year.
Unfortunately the church was flooded on July 21st and when the congregation removed carpet and padding we found out that there is crumbling asbestos tile that needs to be removed by abatement, a costly fix, before new flooring can be installed.
We call upon our sister and brothers UU’s to help us get back into the RE and Community Rooms in the building. We estimate the cost of abatement and flooring to be between $15 and $20K. We have $10K in reserves we are putting toward flooring.
Please help us get back up and running!
Help Fund a...
Located in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, the Unitarian Church of South Australia maintains a gorgeous plot of native bush land which is home to the historic Shady Grove chapel, cemetery, and hut. Unitarian services have been delivered from the chapel from as early as 1856 and continue to this day. A later addition was the hut, which is regularly used for shared lunches, children’s camps, and retreats for adults and families.
But – a new heater is needed for the hut at Shady Grove to keep the chill away in the colder months and to allow the site to be used to its full potential as a special place for our Unitarian Universalist community. Please help us buy a good quality secondhand heater for the space. Any leftover funds will be used to improve the hut at Shady Grove, which could use some additional improvements.
In love and service,
Your friends from the Unitarian Church of South Australia
Help Save Our Historic Sacred Space From Stormy Weather
STRETCH GOAL ADDED: $12,000
The project includes shingle replacement, fascia repair and gutter replacement. The original estimated cost was $38,000. With additional work done to complete the project, including interior repairs, the overall cost will end up being above $40,000. While we’ve met our original $10,000 goal, please help us go a little bit further in helping to defray costs.
We’re so close to meeting our goal – thanks to the generous donations we’ve received. Please help us cross the finish line in the short time left in this campaign by becoming a donor. Please share this link with your friends or anyone else who might be interested in this campaign so we are able to continue the social justice work of Rev. Olympia Brown!
The roof on our church building began leaking earlier this year and has already begun to damage our sanctuary’s plaster walls. Unless we replace our roof, we risk more serious – and costly — damage, not only to the walls but to our historic organ. The project includes shingle replacement, fascia repair and gutter replacement. The total estimated cost is $38,000.
Olympia Brown served as minister of our church from 1878-1887. Our church building is in Racine’s Historic Sixth Street Business District and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The church serves as a center of social justice activism both for our congregation and for many other like-minded people in our community. The building is not just a physical home for our spiritual community engaging in this important work, it is a symbol to the wider community of the faith that we live, inside and outside our 123-year-old structure. Replacing our roof is necessary to enable us to continue the important work we do unimpeded by worries about its future.
Our congregation is in a time of transition after enjoying 43 years with the same minister. Improving our long-term financial planning and operation are among the important tasks we are undertaking during this interim period. Ensuring that we have a sound and solid building is part of that agenda.
Last year we had a major repair project on our congregation’s annex building that exhausted our Building & Grounds Maintenance fund as well as drawing down our operating reserve. That reserve will be the main source of funds for the roof repair. We ask for your help through Faithify to defray the costs of our roof repair and to supplement our remaining operating reserve to pay for the project.
RELIEF FUND Hurricane Michael Rebuild
This is a Disaster Relief campaign. The “All-or-Nothing” goal is removed. All pledges made will be processed.
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall just east of Panama City, FL. Michael was just two mph shy of a Category 5 according to USA Today. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bay County was hit hard. The main building sustained roof damage but is otherwise ok. The two Religious Education buildings sustained much more significant damage. And approximately 63 trees have been broken and must be removed. In addition to the damage to our church home, many congregation members’ homes have been damaged as well, and some have already been declared a total loss by their insurance adjusters. This storm will take decades to recover from.
And yet, we have a lot to be grateful for. Every person connected to this congregation survived the storm. We have received some financial assistance for our main building, tree removal, and even to help some people in our community who were the most impacted by the storm. What we haven’t found funding for yet, is to repair or replace our Religious Education buildings. That’s where you come in.
As the community is working to put the pieces back together, our children need somewhere to gather. They need a little glimmer of hope. Maybe you can be that light?
This campaign is for $5,000 but that’s just a start to get us going. Any help you can give would be appreciated.
Building Sanctuary in Madison, WI
Faithify Project Description
This past November, James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Madison, Wisconsin voted overwhelmingly to support the New Sanctuary Movement by becoming a host site for an immigrant facing deportation. To answer this call of witness and action, we will need to convert part of a large multipurpose room at the rear of our church into a guest room, install a shower in an existing bathroom, and make other renovations to conform to local codes. A professional architect from our congregation has drawn up plans and solicited construction bids. We expect the cost for the entire project to reach up to $30,000. Our Sanctuary Leadership Team at James Reeb is seeking small grants and also planning fundraising events to generate the rest of the funds necessary to complete the project.
We are not alone in this endeavor! James Reeb belongs to the Dane Sanctuary Coalition, which organizes congregations and organizations to provide physical sanctuary to our immigrant friends and neighbors at risk of deportation. We do this as part of the national New Sanctuary Movement.
There are currently seven congregations (at four sites) that offer sanctuary in Madison. Two are Unitarian Universalist, two United Church of Christ (UCC), one Lutheran, one Mennonite and one Jewish. (James Reeb is the only potential hosting site on the east side of Madison.) A dozen other congregations and several other community organizations offer other forms of support. Plymouth Congregational UCC, our neighbor on Madison’s east side, is also partnering with us on this project. We all continue to take our lead from two local organizations, Voces de la Frontera and Centro Hispano.
Our coalition opposes mean-spirited, cruel and immoral immigration policies that terrorize communities and violate human rights. Our faith teaches us that all people have inherent worth and dignity and that everyone deserves to live free from violence and deprivation. When our government tears apart families, executes unarmed immigrants, and sends refugees into the hands of their persecutors, we find ourselves compelled to act. This vision impels us to stand together in solidarity with our immigrant and refugee friends and neighbors, to offer our support and help, and to provide Sanctuary to those in need. We invite you to join us in this work! Please donate generously to our Sanctuary building fund.
Help UUFNW Raise Our Roof!
We need your help.
Preserving and Sustaining Modern Architecture
Like so many other UU Congregations, UUFNW wanted a unique building that spoke of our faith as a quest for meaning and connection. They turned to Victor Christ-Janer, a famed artist and modernist architect. Built in 1970, our congregation’s home has been featured on architectural tours of the area as a paragon of the modern architecture movement. It was noted in Christ-Janer’s 2008 obituary for it’s groundbreaking use of earthquake-resistant concrete blocks that he designed. There are times that light streams into the building through the high, narrow windows in ways that are transcendent.
Now our building, built 48 years ago on a very low budget, needs to be brought into the 21stcentury so that we can grow and thrive here. We have made the commitment to do this work. Our most pressing need is to replace our roof, which leaks badly, before the structural integrity of the exposed wood deck and girders is compromised. Two layers of roof, dating back to 1970 and 1984, need to be removed and replaced with an energy-efficient roof that will drain better when it rains. To help us define the scope of what needed to be done, we have engaged a professional roofing consultant. Our current hope is to complete this project during the third week of August, 2018; we cannot do this alone.
Our project has the added benefit of helping us live our UU values by making our building more environmentally sustainable. At present, our roof is uninsulated. An energy audit of our building found that the roof was the same temperature as the outside air, increasing our carbon footprint for heating through the cold New York winters. The new roof will be substantially insulated, saving on heating fuel and allowing us to move on to other sustainability projects in our building. This is a key component of our eventual Green Sanctuary certification.
The total cost of this project has proven to be a major stretch for this active but small congregation. Driving up the bottom line substantially was the discovery that the original roof contains a thin layer of asbestos felt—common in roofs installed before 1972. Asbestos abatement will need to be done by licensed professionals and timed for when the building (including the preschool that rents our space) is closed, and asbestos-containing materials will have to be specially disposed of. Air quality monitoring (both indoor and outdoor) during this abatement period has also been included in the project budget.
Financial Security for Our Congregation’s Future
Our total project budget is approximately $160,000. This includes the full replacement of the roof, asbestos testing and abatement, insulation and drainage, and the project manager/consultant. To date, members and friends of the congregation have raised over $30,000 and we have reasonable expectations of being able to secure a $100,000 loan. The congregation will use a portion of our financial reserves to cover the remaining costs—but to pay for the whole thing would deplete our reserves below a level we consider responsible. If we raise more than our goal, additional funds will be used to offset debt service and reduce the amount of the debt we incur in the project.
Our congregation’s mission calls on us to welcome, inspire, share and love. We would like to use our annual budget in a way that lives our values and mission to the community—for justice work in Northern Westchester, for faith formation and religious exploration, and for deep, creative worship for all ages. This project will allow our small congregation to focus on our mission in a building that is sustainable and dry while keeping ourselves in a strong financial position to invest in our future.