Insulated Coveralls for the Homeless
At Grenfell Ministries we are a Unitarian Universalist outreach in Hamilton, Ontario.
Due to assistance from Cantex Distribution (a company in Niagara) we have been able to secure a really great deal on quilted, insulated coveralls and instead of paying $250 a pair we are able to pay $40 a pair. With four thousand dollars we can put 100 of these on the street for folks suffering this winter with homelessness. We have already place 25 into circulation and have ordered 30 more.
Grenfell Ministries, a Unitarian Universalist faith-based Ministry that aims to provide support to marginalized communities through programming that focuses on seniors, youth, those experiencing homelessness folks who use substances, and those who are or were formerly incarcerated. We serve with integrity, compassion and promote individuality and self-empowerment. We are committed to building communities through advocacy and activism.
We are a peer-run, peer-led organization that strives to improve the quality of life for those we serve on their terms. In solidarity, we offer organized voices of lived experience in the hopes of encouraging programming, policy adaptation and to reduce stigma and discrimination. We collaborate with various organizations and services to assist folks with meeting their needs and offer grief support to families who have lost loved ones to the overdose epidemic on an individual and group basis.
Our projects have received funding in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, United Way Phase 2 and Phase 3 Funding for COVID-19 pandemic response and the Hamilton Community Foundation.
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 Free Library | Philippines
We live in an era of incredible story-telling and the recentering of peoples and communities who have been historically exploited, marginalized, and invisibilized. Books are at the center of lifelong learning, building community, and making meaning.
As new literature and media expand, there remains however a deep inequality. Throughout much of Southeast Asia, books are a luxury and public libraries are rare. For millions here, a book costs a week’s salary. Many cities and barangays (neighborhoods) lack a public library. Few feminist, liberal religious, environmental justice, and human rights books are available.
CORAL is a Unitarian Universalist community ministry based in Southeast Asia. We are establishing a small free library in line with our liberal religious and social change mission. We seek to collect, steward, and lend progressive books that are more difficult for ordinary people to find. We are based in Antipolo City, just East of Metro Manila in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains as part of a larger cohousing community. Learn more about us at www.coralph.org.
As Unitarian Univeraliasts, we believe deeply in the ongoing search for truth and meaning. For many of us, this has meant a loving relationship with literature. Lending and gifting books are an incredible way to build connections between people, and introduce new ideas to keep our “mind on fire” as Emerson might say. We seek donations of books, and small financial contributions to help us ship and organize donated books.
Help Undocumented Students Stay in College
It’s a long road to a college education for most undocumented students. About 98,000 graduate from high school in the U.S. each year, but only 5-10 percent go to college. Once there, they walk a financial tightrope to graduation.
Tuition and living costs add up quickly; tuition alone is more than $44,000 at UC Davis for those who don’t qualify for protected status or in-state tuition. Often the first in their family to go to college, students may juggle two or three jobs to make ends meet. Those who can’t work legally have an even tougher burden, but more than 730 undocumented students have beaten the odds to attend UC Davis this year.
This campaign, supported by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, aims to raise $5,000 for emergency grants to lighten their load. We have developed a relationship with SPEAK, a student-run organization at UC Davis that supports the undocumented students who are the beneficiaries of this campaign.
UUCD raised money via Faithify for the same purpose in 2017 but student need continues to outstrip resources. Last year, only a quarter of the 73 students who applied for emergency grants got them. The need is even more urgent this year.
“Especially now, with COVID-19, there’s more need for financial support,” said Ana Sandoval Contreras, co-coordinator of SPEAK. “Students have used emergency grants for paying rent, buying groceries and providing support for their families. At $200 to $300 each, it is not a lot, but money that is needed. I have received one in the past. It was very helpful. I used it to buy groceries and books.”
We see this campaign as a simple matter of social justice and access to education. It also follows UU traditions of reaching out to under-represented and vulnerable groups and collaboration across age, ethnic and economic divisions. We have received an urgent request from SPEAK leaders for help.
We hope you will support this effort to help undocumented students at a particularly scary time for immigrants in this country.
Ana Sandoval, 21, is a fourth-year student who expects to take five years to graduate. She has relied on a variety of grants, scholarships and food vouchers to stay afloat and healthy during her college days. She currently works at the AB540 and Undocumented Center at UC Davis as a community advocate.
Born in Puebla, Mexico, she came to the United States in 2009 with her mother and sister. She was nine years old. Her father already lived here. Sandoval was told to pack one backpack with a couple of sets of clothes for a visit to her father.
“My aunt knew we were never coming back but for me, it didn’t click that this was the last time I’d see grandparents and everybody I knew back there,” she said. “It’s hit me now: the whole trauma of leaving my childhood for a whole new identity. I can’t go visit.”
Reunited with her father, Sandoval grew up in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles. Her mother cleans houses. Her father is a plumber and construction worker. A variety of cousins, uncles and aunts now live nearby. A few relatives have visited from Mexico.
Sandoval started fourth grade in a year-round school that sent her back to second and third grade in off quarters so she could catch up. She learned English, made new friends but never shared her story.
When others began working on college applications, Ana didn’t think she could go. Then she attended a conference put on by the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, a nonprofit that emphasizes the importance of culture, community, college and careers.
“I didn’t know I was undocumented,” she said. “It was not until I attended the conference, became really comfortable with others — and another person told their story — that I wanted to learn more about college. It was a milestone for my aspirations, my understanding about being undocumented and wanting to give back to my community.”
Now a senior at UC Davis, Sandoval is majoring in sociology and Chicano studies with a minor in education. She’s looking at graduate school and careers that range from student affairs to higher education to help students learn how to get involved and go to college.
She applied for a long list of emergency grants and scholarships to be able to afford college.
“It does feel like I’m on edge,” she said. “You can apply to 10 programs and hear from only one or two. Very few people get them. Thankfully, I’ve gotten some state support as well as grants.” Immigrant students with DACA protection have work permits, but the future of the program remains unclear. Sandoval missed qualification for DACA by a few months.
With your help, SPEAK hopes to provide emergency grants once again.
Laura Monica Bohorquez Garcia, Director of the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center
11/12/2020 marked the one year anniversary of the SCOTUS DACA Supreme Court decision. It is a day that I will always remember not only because of the decision but because of the power, strategy, and joy that I witnessed outside of the Supreme Court on 11/12/19. I carry this memory and I get to relive it everyday as I work alongside the AB540 and Undocumented Student community at UC Davis. I witness this power and joy every day when I talk to my family as someone who is part of a mixed- immigration status family and when I meet with students as the Director of the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center. Everyday I am reminded that we as an immigrant community are powerful as I see how UC Davis students own and navigate their power and use their courage to ask for help, to provide help, and to be helped. I invite you to join UC Davis students in their strength and give what your capacity allows you to.
Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor
Supervisor, Second District
County of Yolo
625 Court Street, Room 204, Woodland, CA 95695-1268 (530) 666-8622
District Office: 600 A Street, Suite B Davis, CA 95616 (530) 757-5557
October 23, 2020
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to you in my capacity as a Yolo County Supervisor representing District 2 to convey my strong endorsement and support of the Scholars Promoting Education, Awareness and Knowledge (SPEAK) program.
As a County Supervisor, I am committed to serving and supporting all members of our community, regardless of their immigration status. In my district in Yolo County, which includes the City of Davis, City of Winters and the University of California, Davis, (UC Davis), many of the young people who attend UC Davis are first generation college students, DACA youth, or are undocumented. UC Davis is ranked as one of the top public universities in the nation, and these young people contribute greatly to its success.
SPEAK provides small emergency grants to undocumented UC Davis students to help with critical expenses when money gets tight. They are among the hardest working people I have met, but have little access to the basic resources other students take for granted. I know of cases where students chose not to eat or buy textbooks to make ends meet. During these challenging COVID-19 times with less work opportunities available, these students need our support now more than ever.
I invite you to join me in supporting the SPEAK program to offer critical support and community to these students.
In shared service,
Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor, District 2
Member, Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis
Help Jon Sallée Attend Seminary
Jon Sallée, currently a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, Vermont, and previously of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, Illinois, has been called to serve should-to-shoulder, ministering to the soldiers and families of the Vermont Army National Guard (VTARNG) as their chaplain. Jon seeks to bring peace to soldiers as they contemplate purpose and meaning, navigating the moral complexities of citizen soldiership.
Unitarian Universalism, as a liberal theological tradition, is uniquely situated to meet both the spiritual needs of soldiers in the least religious state in the US as well as the interfaith orientation of the Chaplain Corps. Jon also has affiliation with Buddhism (through the Fo Guang Shan Chicago temple, in the Chan tradition), a frequently-requested topic of inquiry from religiously-unaffiliated soldiers.
His current status as a Chaplain Candidate and Second Lieutenant allows Jon to serve in the Guard while completing seminary, and while there are normally tuition benefits, none will apply in his specific situation. While Meadville Lombard Theological School has granted Jon a generous named scholarship, the remaining balance and related expenses are still significant.
Student Tech Connect
Your money is needed to further Student Tech Connect. Student Tech Connect has successfully helped financially underprivileged students connect online with their teachers and classrooms. Still, many more students need help. Beaufort county, on the coast of South Carolina, is a wealthy county. There are a string of counties along the I95 corridor known as the corridor of shame due to long term chronic underfunding of their school districts. Students in these districts are in dire need.
The youth of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry (UUCL) realized the impact that the coronavirus had on classmates who don’t have access to their online teachers and classes. Members of the UUCL’s Social Action committee were concerned about the pandemic’s pandemic’s growing disparity of educational opportunity. So the two committees joined forces to become the Religious Education Social Justice committee (RESJ). Although many synergies were discovered in the combined committees, we quickly realized the problem’s size and complexity meant we would need partners.
The RESJ joined forces with the Martin Luther King committee for Justice to add their weight to Student Tech Connect, a program to help financially underprivileged students connect online with their teachers and classrooms and improve their learning experience. The partnering by itself was a huge success, with nearly 10% of our congregants newly serving on MLK committees and establishing working relationships.
The next step in the process was to identify the underprivileged students and what they need to connect with their teachers and classrooms. Obviously, we don’t know which students were underprivileged, but the school district has that information. So we partnered with the school district and its Superintendant, Dr. Frank Rodriguez. Dr. Rodriguez had already negotiated a very favorable discount for internet connectivity for needy students.
Student Tech Connect has been so successful that we now have several funding sources so we have partnered with the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. The Community Foundation disperses funds to the school district to purchase hardware and pay rental fees. The Foundation also disbursed funds to the internet service provider. The Foundation also has established donors that Student Tech Connect will be able to access.
Our partnerships with the MLK committee, the school district, and the Community Foundation have greatly increased UUCL’s incarnational growth. We are becoming much better known in the community for our justice work.
Holiday and Winter Pandemic Relief
According to a report by the Pew Research Center published in September, 25 percent of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household was laid off or lost their job because of the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 35 million children reliant on school-based nutrition and financial assistance lost access to services when COVID-19 forced states to shut school doors. Millions of American families are struggling to put food on their tables. NCGH is dedicated to the elimination of childhood hunger, one kid, one meal at a time. With funds donated by churches, private organizations, and individuals, NCGH works with faith communities and other organizations to alleviate hunger on a local level.
In the first four years since its inception, NCGH awarded a total of 56 grants. To date, in 2020, we have awarded 60, with many more waiting for funds. Where NCGH used to receive two to three applications in a week, now we often receive as many in a single day. The need is vast, and it continues to grow. We feed kids, one meal at a time. It matters; every meal matters.
NCGH provides grant money and mentorship opportunities so that community organizations can build hunger advocacy programs that will thrive and grow as their communities continue to tackle the problem of local food insecurity. Such sustainable programs include afterschool backpack programs, little free pantries, and community food pantries and donation programs.
NCGH also strives to educate the community on food insecurity issues and arm people with the knowledge to help. NCGH offers age-appropriate lesson plans to help local organizations to talk to people of all ages about the issue of food insecurity, helping to fuel future generations of childhood hunger advocates. The lesson plans are designed for schools, churches, or any group that would like to learn more about what they can do to eliminate childhood hunger in their community and are available to use at no cost. Lesson plans are available for Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-7, Grades 8-12, and Adults.
Let’s Feed Some Kids!
To learn about the organizations we’re partnering with to address community-based food insecurity, check out the photo gallery below, or read our recent blog posts:
Uptown Community Podcast
The Uptown Community Podcast (UCP) raises Unitarian Universalism and its values in discussing the legacy and future of its community. UCP has recently doubled its listenership across generations. Although this podcast is called the “Uptown” community podcast, the ideas expressed have much broader appeal.
The UCP is a program of The Peoples Church and Preston Bradley Center. The building also houses a transitional housing shelter, artist studios, performance spaces, and other churches. The content of UCP is similarly active in its promotion of the arts, culture, and the inherent value of every person.
The building is named for Rev. Dr. Preston Bradley and is located in Uptown, Chicago. He led one of the first broadcast ministries in the country and also provided radio stations with short inspirational messages. His charismatic preaching helped Chicago through The Great Depression and WWII. The UCP offers contemporary commentary on his messages and Unitarian faith. The UCP reviews these short inspirational messages in-between conversations with Uptown’s own inspirational community.
The UCP is a recipient of the Unitarian Universalist Funding program. Additional funding is needed for updated hardware, simultaneous recording, and costs for streaming and hosting digital content. Would you give generously to spread the good news of Unitarian Universalism in Uptown?
Help Families with...
Chalice Sparx Family Camp and Retreat features Unitarian Universalist style worship services and multigenerational learning opportunities for all ages. We are an intentionally welcoming space for LGBTQ+ families and particularly for families with a member or members who are Trans* or non-binary. Informal mentoring opportunities are welcome from the Trans and non-binary adults who attend the camp. We are a diverse group ethnically and racially with some of our annual families being transracially adoptees, children raised partially or completely by grandparents, and children being raised in a polyamory family or LGBTQ+ families. At this camp, children and youth are not whisked away to explore with camp counselors; at Chalice Sparx we are an intentional multigenerational environment that is friendly to the many and diverse configurations of families that are Unitarian Universalist.
Support COVID-Relief for Unitarians in North East India
DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately
(NO ALL-OR NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)
Background. India currently has the largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Asia, the 2nd highest in the world. The state of Meghalaya, home of some 10,000 Unitarians, has been experiencing record daily spikes since mid-August. Lack of medicines, improper treatment, and insufficient testing laboratories – on top of a poor public health system – are exacerbating the health crisis.
To make matters worse, many homes of Unitarian families were damaged by the monsoon rains. Seng Kynthei, the Women’s Wing of the Unitarian Union of North East India has taken up social projects to help in the fight against COVID-19, such as distribution of masks in rural areas (see project image), as well as provided limited financial aid for the rebuilding of damaged houses and emergency food supplies. However, more funds are needed to strengthen Seng Kynthei’s initiative to confront the COVID-crisis and help prevent further community spread. The project also intends to address teenage pregnancy and child marriage, which the prolonged government-imposed lockdown has aggravated all over India.
What are the goals of this project? The project will provide COVID-19 awareness programs and care packages for families, stimulate behavioral change toward stigma and discrimination of infected individuals, and address mental health impacts of the pandemic. Awareness programs will also include community education and mobilization to prevent teenage pregnancies and early marriages during the health crisis.
Rev. Nangroi Suting, General Secretary, UUNEI
The Unitarian Union of North East India (UUNEI) is happy to learn of this project of Seng Kynthei, in collaboration with the International Women’s Convocation (IWC). Having witnessed the commitment and resourcefulness of the members, I have a strong conviction that Seng Kynthei will take up the challenge responsibly.
Elgiva Dora Shullai, Seng Kynthei Global Sisters Coordinator and IWC board member
Covid-19 throws a challenge to human sustenance. Seng Kynthei has been trying to reach out to the less privileged in the form of relief efforts and awareness programs, especially for rural women and young adults. I am positive that this project will benefit young women and girls in these difficult times.
This is a project of the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women, dba International Women’s Convocation (IWC), in partnership with Seng Kynthei, the Women’s Wing of the Unitarian Union of North East India. The project benefits Unitarian communities in North East India, contributing to the overall well-being and health of individuals and the entire Khasi society. Through this project, we are living our U*U values, bringing positive change in the world by connection, care, compassion, social justice, and service. IWC and Seng Kynthei have a strong ongoing collaboration – please see more here. Thank you for your support!
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.
Unity Means Community: Not In Our Town
Local organizations are coming together to lift up black voices in Portage County: Unity Means Community: Not In Our Town
Our goal is to raise $3000 to be used by the Portage County NAACP chapter for communications (Zoom conferencing, social media, printing & SWAG, sound amplification for in-person events). This will support efforts to amplify the voices of Black Kent State students, to enfranchise Black neighborhoods with Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns, and will provide seed money for future efforts.
Collaborators: Black United Students, Kent State Undergraduate Student Government, Kent Interfaith Alliance for Racial Reconciliation and Justice, Allies for Racial Reconciliation and Justice, Kent League of Women Voters, along with the primary organization, the Portage County NAACP.
UU community ministers the Rev. Renee Ruchotzke and the Rev. Christie Anderson (affiliated with the UU Church of Kent) are affiliated with the Portage County NAACP chapter.