UUFP—Past/Present/Future: “Vote”

“UUFP—Past/Present/Future”
is a collection of stories
about UUFP’s formative years and
its ensuing perseverance in purpose, mission and ministry.
Grow in Wonder – Connect in Love – Engage in Service – Inspire Generosity

After thirty years of talking about it, we decided to call the question!

With our new Mission on the books and our Vision fleshed out, the Planning Committee recommended to the Policy Board that the time was right, at long last, to make a decision. Could our Vision be realized in our current location, we had to decide, or did we need a new property? Should we love it or list it? Do we stay or do we go? So in November 2019, we started trying to answer those questions.

First, we held a town hall meeting with representatives of the Williamsburg and Virginia Beach congregations. The Williamsburg UUs had made the decision to stay, expanding their existing facilities with new classrooms and offices and a larger social area. The Coastal Virginia UUs (formerly the Unitarian Church of Norfolk) had made the decision to go, considering more than twenty different properties before purchasing an office building which they refurbished with a large Sanctuary. It was helpful to hear what our sibling congregations had experienced along each of the paths that we were considering.

Next, we held quite a number of cottage meetings over the Winter months to bring our members and friends together in small groups and discuss our Vision and the choice ahead of us. Another town hall meeting also allowed further discussion of all of the materials that the Planning Committee and the Real Estate Task Force had extensively compiled and made available on the web site.

Finally, the big day came. On Sunday March 8th 2020, with great fanfare and a lot of excitement, we came together to vote. Following that morning’s service, UUFP President at the time, Jim Sanderson, called to order a Special Membership Meeting with one item of business: Could our Vision best be achieved in the future by: either finding a new location for UUFP facilities; or expanding the facilities at our current location? The meeting was so well attended that we blew past the higher quorum requirement for a “vital issue”, and when the vote was tallied, it was overwhelmingly in favor — 77 to 23 — of moving to a new church property where we could better serve our Mission and save the world!

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