Building a Home Takes Many Hands

UUs of Southern Delaware SanctuaryA dream that began in 2012 became true on Sunday, October 18, 2015 for the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, as they dedicated their new Church Home in Lewes, Delaware.  The congregation moved this fall from their small rental space to this spacious converted home, which they had remodeled and added a beautiful new sanctuary and gathering spaces.  This new home was made possible with the support of a group of members, known as the “Pioneers”, who purchased the property while the congregation decided whether or not to make the commitment of a new church home, and conducted a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds.  The building of the sanctuary and remodel of the property was also supported by the JPD Chalice Lighter Program, as well as by offering collections and other support from the other Unitarian Universalist congregations of the Delmarva Peninsula, including the longstanding support for the congregation by the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, Delaware.

The dedication service included Rev. David Pyle, District Executive for the Joseph Priestley District, as well as a video message from the Rev. Peter Morales, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.   Rev. Morales pointed out that the congregation is one of the engaging congregations in the country, with many programs and with exceptional growth during its sixteen years.  The new location and size of the congregational home is sure to help the congregation to continue to grow Unitarian Universalism in Southern Delaware.

UUs of Southern Delaware BuildingThe congregation completed this building project while also beginning an Interim Ministry with the Rev. Paula Maiorano, as well as continuing many interfaith and justice ministries programs.  The congregation is now planning for this new space to allow them to revitalize their lifespan religious education programs, as well as a hope that the beautiful new space can become a center for Unitarian Universalists from across the region to come on retreat or for other events.  The church property is right next to a protected wetlands, and the congregation has a desire to share their new home with others of our faith tradition who wish to meet in their community at the Delaware Beaches.

While it is a wonderful story when a Unitarian Universalist congregation finds and builds a new church home, it is a special story when so many other congregations have played a role in making this dream become a reality.  We offer congratulations to the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, and a hearty thank you for all of the congregations of the Delmarva Peninsula for your commitment to growing Unitarian Universalism!

Check out all the photos taken of the new building by Rev. David Pyle on his facebook page.

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Working for Change

UU Congregation of Sterling has been working towards change and understanding of racial issues. Here is what they’ve done from their October Newsletter article – Spare Any Change?

Rev. Anya Sammler-MichaelRev. Jacquelline Hollingsworth of Christ Chapel AME and Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael lead the Forum on Race, Safety and Relationships in Loudoun County, Sept. 17th, at the Christ Chapel AME congregation.  The forum invited participants into a deep discussion of our different experiences in our county, and our desire to reach across diversity for the sake of our community and especially our children.  Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling were in attendance with faith leaders and members from all across Loudoun County.

Rev. Jacquelline HollingsworthThe conviction that rose from our gathering was: “If you are not safe, I am not safe.” or said another way: “I am my brothers, I am my sister’s keeper.”

This sort of a dialogue spurs change for our community that will serve us all – a way for us to build relationships around a common hope – safety for all.

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Lessons from Congregations on #BLM

Image from UU World. Courtesy of Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd

Many CERG congregations are choosing to respond to the events of the Black Lives Matter movement by posting “Black Lives Matter” signs in front of their congregations.  And, unfortunately, many of those signs are being desecrated. (read the UUWorld Coverage of these incidents)

 

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland erected a Black Lives Matter banner last summer that was vandalized twice and stolen once (read the Washington Post coverage). After replacing the banner each time and working with police to develop a thus-far-unsuccessful plan to catch the perpetrator(s), the congregation turned to consider what this destruction meant to their witness to the racism and violence that permeates American culture.

 

River Road decided to begin weekly vigils at the roadside by the reinstated banner.  Their first vigil, on September 25th, was attended by more than 50 congregants and guests.  It began with a worship service that centered and connected the group with prayer, readings and song.  The vigil participants then lit candles and processed to the roadside, singing and drumming for 20 minutes.  They plan to continue the Friday evening vigils into the foreseeable future.

 

Senior minister Rev. Nancy MacDonald Ladd says, “We think of our weekly vigils as a Living Witness for black lives.  By holding the signs along a busy thoroughfare in front of our congregational home, we signal to ourselves and others that we have a personal stake in the work of dismantling racism. It’s not just an institution, but individual people committed enough to bear that message and all it entails in their own two hands.  Every witness is important, and this Living Witness feeds our spirits for the action ahead.”

 

If your congregation is considering posting a sign please read last week’s post about what the Central East Regional Staff feel you should do to be prepared for this sort of activity. If posting a sign doesn’t work for your congregation, that’s okay too.  There are other things your congregation can do.  More on that soon.

 

Rev. Megan Foley
Central East Region Staff

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