Continuing to Plan for Our Future

Dear friends,

It seems as if the world has stopped for many of us. The pandemic has affected us all and in different ways.

As we have necessarily sheltered in place, Rev. Andrew, with the help of Kirsha, our office manager, and Joanne, our DRE, quickly put UUFP services and committees online via Zoom and Mason Mosley built a daily zoom check-in to keep us all connected. I know we are all grateful for their efforts to keep us together, and for the community warmth and connection we are able to enjoy.
Before the pandemic so shifted the rhythms of our lives, we had worked toward and made important decisions to deepen our congregational life and mission. The congregational vote in March to “stay or go” created excitement and anticipation as our search for new sacred space was about to begin. We were looking forward to our first visit with congregational consultant Mark Ewert from Stewardship for Us at March’s end. Of course, that meeting and other events were postponed.

During the past couple of months, the Planning Committee has continued to work to find a way forward. We have been making progress and discerning the next steps in our journey towards a new location for UUFP. Thus, the real estate task force continues to evaluate properties that members bring to its attention. And we seek your ideas and inspiration for what appeals to you in a new-to-us building and location. To help, Jerry Dingus has just established a lively Facebook group – “What does our new UUFP space look like?” We welcome members to join in the envisioning, sharing, and discussion. And Lin Chambers has set up a Pinterest site for sharing images and inspirations. There will also be a physical bulletin board in the sanctuary as well where you can post paper images when we are able to come back together in person.

In thinking about moving forward, we remember what you resoundingly affirmed in our vision work last summer:

  • Larger, flexible, inspirational spaces in a natural setting
  • An environmentally friendly, accessible building
  • Expanded religious education
  • A more diverse congregation with increased social justice work.

Now ready to reprise our forward momentum we have reached out again to Mark Ewert and he has agreed to a virtual Next Step “weekend” with us beginning June 7! However, instead of an in-person weekend of meetings and engagements, we will spread out our sharing and learning with Mark in a number of one-hour zooms across a two-week period, so nobody suffers undue "Zoom-fatigue."

Meeting with Mark represents our first step in drawing upon the expertise of a church consultant to support our congregational goals and aspirations. It will let him get to know us as foundation for future collaboration. Importantly, it will provide our leadership insight into the options before us, i.e., capital drives, strategic planning and other areas determined after our initial work with Mark. Both of our sister congregations in Williamsburg and Norfolk began their expansion process in much the same way.

So, welcome virtually back to the next steps as we find a new home for UUFP. Let us look to our future together as we grow in wonder, connect in love, engage in service and inspire generosity.

UUFP Planning Committee

Sandy Burkes-Campbell
Lin Chambers
Parker Stokes
Rebecca Wheeler
Scott Kasmire

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