Thanks to the Fellowship's Planning Committee for providing periodic updates on the UUFP Expansion progress via these Pulpit Minutes delivered during Sunday Service and UUFP publications.
This month, our Real Estate Task Force Chair, Jay Joseph, updated the list of properties we have considered over the last two years since we voted to seek a new location for UUFP.
We have considered 21 properties since November of 2019, which were rejected for various reasons. Either they were too small or too large, too wet, with no outdoor/green space, and in one instance no parking.
Two places were worth an onsite visit and sold before we had mounted our successful Capital Campaign.
We hope that members will continue to suggest properties along with our real estate agent, Bob Saunders, who will soon help us look for a new home. I am very excited and encouraged that Bob feels he may find us a place within 18 months!
Last Friday, I saw an empty, beautiful, new building for rent as I was driving down Old Harpersville Rd. It is near the geographic center of our membership.
I emailed Jay, and it turns out that a “Class A Building” rental like that would cost us about $150 K a year to rent so that’s not a good option for us!
But with each property we look at, we become more educated about our local real estate market….and it’s fun to look.
Our committee toured Temple Sinai in December and found it to be the best potential rental we have seen. Our consultant, Mark Ewert, says that many UU churches have had good experiences sharing space with Jewish synagogues, and we need a backup plan for a place to go if we were to sell our building before we find our forever home.
Next month we’ll meet with leaders of Temple Sinai to discuss our needs and get to know each other. Many of us attended a special shabbat service with their Rabbi, Séverine Sokol, last month. It was a pleasure to meet and get to know Rabbi Sokol. She put out a call to the Hampton Roads faith community to express solidarity against antisemitism following the hostage situation last month at a temple in Texas.
It has been a difficult two years for all of us. The pandemic has both kept us apart and brought us together.
We will find our new Home where we can fulfill our vision and adjust to a changing world. Rev. Andrew has reminded us that while we are doing a good job looking for new physical space, we also need to be mindful of the rest of our vision.
Like other churches, we must:
- rebuild our Children and Youth RE program
- become visible to others
- plan for growth, and
- work for social and environmental justice.
Yes, there is much work to do, and we will do it because our community and our world need what Unitarian Universalism has to offer.
Thank you all.
Sandy Burkes-Campbell, UUFP Planning Committee Chair