Outcome of the Special Congregational Meeting, June 12, 2022

 

The vote was unanimous: 50-0!!, when the Building Improvement Steering Committee presented a proposal to proceed with a feasibility study to assess the congregation’s financial capacity to conduct a successful Capital Campaign.  The purpose of the campaign is to fund multiple building improvements that should make our public spaces more accessible, inviting, safe, and flexible for a broader range of potential uses for generations to come.

 

With Council and Spiritual Nurture, the sixteen-member committee identified three priorities that frame this work to: 1). enhance access and safety and foster community, 2). embrace sustainability, and 3). strengthen our technological diversity.  Example projects were identified within these priorities. 

 

With unanimous support, the Steering Committee will hire a consultant from the UCC National Offices to conduct interviews with members and community partners in the Fall.  With the assessment in hand, the congregation will be able to decide at the Annual meeting in January 2023 if we want to undergo a Capital Campaign.  Stay tuned!

 

Respectfully,

Cindy Nottage, Council Chair and Gretchen Smith, Steering Committee member
 
 

 

the Why the Vision the Values the Work
 

WHY DO WE NEED TO DO THIS NOW?  

The list of building renewal needs is growing AND the changing landscape of congregational life and religious life is rapidly changing. This change has been even more dramatic since the start of the pandemic.  We are determined to meet these evolving challenges with creativity and faith and serve the Durham and Seacoast communities with courage.  Ours is a vision of God’s inclusive love, and a community gathered in joy to heal and bless the world! 

 

WHAT IS THE VISION?

We are a resilient community eager to prepare for our future.  We want to:

  • be attractive to all ages and all kinds of seekers & believers. 
  • extend our community beyond our walls and nurture partnerships around common initiatives and concerns.
  • embrace evolving & diverse forms of worship while respecting our traditions and culture. 
  • assure safety and sustainability of our facilities and increase their energy efficiency. 
  • maximize our property asset as a vessel of possibilities that will better serve the future of the church.
  • be place where all ages are deepening their faith and growing in spirit, service, and discipleship

 

WHAT VALUES GUIDE THESE BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS?

  • Connecting to God, to each other, and to a better world
  • Raising the next generations of our church
  • Connecting with Other Communities
  • Cherishing our historic sanctuary and structure
  • Carefully balance being welcoming, open and accessible with church as a safe sanctuary
  • Adapting when uncertainty is likely to be with us going forward

 

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL PROJECTS? (representative projects within three distinct priorities)

  1. The Church will prioritize a WELCOMING, INCLUSIVE SPIRIT:

Because God’s church is a place of beloved and expansive community we must strive to better accommodate all generations and seekers from all walks of life, welcoming friends, new members, and partners working in collaboration with us. The work should make our public spaces more accessible, inviting, safe, and flexible for a broader range of potential uses for generations to come. Carefully consider the experiences of young and not-young-anymore in our building that stimulate creativity, invite interaction, and foster community. 

Examples that enhance access and safety and foster community could include: installing new wayfinding signs to guide visitors, creating a new entrance to the Chapel from the building entrance foyer to make the Chapel more easily accessed for the general public, completing the transformation of the library with new flooring and lighting, improving storage spaces to encourage partnerships with other groups, creating more story telling graphics and displays that convey both our history and our commitments to social justice and equity, replacing the 50 year old carpet in the Sanctuary and refreshing the pews, maybe even adjusting the configuration of some things after more congregational input.  On the outside: refreshing the steeple, renewing pavements and lighting in the parking areas, and improving pathways to the peace garden.

 

  1. The Church will prioritize and embrace SUSTAINABILITY:

Because God’s church should be a beacon of hope as the world addresses climate change and sustainability now and in the future, our building and grounds need to be renewed and made more energy efficient.

Examples of sustaining the building and making it more energy efficient could include: new roofing on the Sanctuary, better insulating the Education Wing, replacing or renewing drafty windows, shoring up the foundation piers, addressing water infiltration, updating fire alarms, electrical wiring and LED lighting in the Sanctuary, and installing solar panels on some roofs.

 

  1. The Church will prioritize TECHNOLOGICAL VERSATILITY:

Because God’s church is learning new ways of connecting with members and friends, we’ve come to realize that online worship is key to ministering to the full range of our community, and we want our programming to be accessible and open to speakers and viewers who cannot be with us in person.  Digital connectivity can also help foster creative and artistic offerings of many kinds and dimensions in each of our public spaces, even enhancing them as incubators of entrepreneurial activism and spiritual courage.

Examples for enhanced technology could include:  Upgrading our current audio-visual capabilities in the Sanctuary, the Chapel and/or the library by installing mounted projectors, dropdown screens, speakers, microphones and related equipment.