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UU Fellowship of the Rappahannock (Robert Weekly)

A beacon for the questioning

Fellowship's lighthouse motif evokes 'free and responsible search for truth and meaning.'
By Julia Angley
Spring 2012 2.15.12

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The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Rappahannock in White Stone, Virginia, is built in the style of a Chesapeake Bay “screwpile” lighthouse, complete with a rooftop lantern room. The style is named for the construction method of screwing the supporting iron piles into the sea floor.

The fellowship is the only Unitarian Universalist congregation in Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula region. Members met on back porches and in rented spaces for twelve years before acquiring two acres of land donated by founding members of the lay-led congregation. The members worked to clear and landscape the grounds and to design and construct the fellowship building, taking special care to make the structure accessible. After years of hard work, the building was dedicated in November 2008. The grounds also include a butterfly garden, a labyrinth, and a nature walk, with plans for a memorial grove.

Fellowship president Bob Weekley says the lighthouse-inspired design was molded around the “enlightenment ideas of Unitarian Universalist principles,” specifically highlighting the allusion to a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”

The lighthouse is already attracting people to the fellowship. Since its move to a formal home, the congregation has seen a thirty-eight percent growth in membership.

Photo of the UU Fellowship of the Rappahannock by Robert Weekley. See sidebar for links to related resources.

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