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Congregational news: Fall 2011

Brief congregational news items from the Fall 2011 issue.
By Donald E. Skinner And Julia Angley
Fall 2011 8.15.11

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Community Church, Unitarian Universalist, in New Orleans (Andrew Larimer)

Members of the Community Church, Unitarian Universalist, in New Orleans stand in front of their church's new building. (Andrew Larimer)

New Orleans church is home again

Five-and-a-half years after its building was destroyed by the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina, Community Church, Unitarian Universalist, in New Orleans has a new building. On Sunday, April 10, congregants and guests gave it a rousing New Orleans dedication. The new building cost around $1 million. The congregation raised $760,000 from its members. The rest came from other congregations and individuals. “This has been a long journey,” said the Rev. Jim VanderWeele. “So many people worked so hard believing in Community Church, and now we’re back in our own sanctuary. We’re there.” (See UU World’s full report, “‘Bright and Shining Church’ Rises from Katrina’s Floodwaters,” 4.18.11.)

Rhode Island congregation creates ad campaign

First Unitarian Church of Providence, R.I., has created an ad campaign to attract more people to the congregation. The ads, which focus on simple messages about “open minds, helping hands, and loving hearts,” and “a church where children learn values without guilt,” are run via cable TV, posted in bus shelters, printed in a magazine for LGBT people, and appear on Facebook and bumper stickers.

The ads refer people to a church-created website, www.areyouuu.org, where they can watch brief video messages that explain Unitarian Universalism, read about congregational life, and click through to the church’s website. The church budgeted $6,000 for the project and plans to continue the ad campaign in the coming year. Members of First Unitarian’s Outreach Committee reported that while it is difficult to quantify the precise impact of the outreach program, the project has led to many new visitors. (See UU World’s full report, “Ads Spread Message of Unitarian Universalism,” 5.9.11.)

Mass. congregation celebrates 375th anniversary

First Parish in Concord, Mass., will celebrate its 375th anniversary this October with a week of events honoring the historic, 785-member congregation. The celebrations, which will take place from Oct. 14 to 23, will incorporate reenactments, musical services, lectures, walking tours, and a period fashion show titled “No One Wore Prada.”

First Parish is partnering with local organizations such as the Old Manse, the Thoreau society, and the Concord Free Public Library, which will host an exhibit celebrating First Parish’s historical connection to the community. The week of revelry will come to a close with a parish dinner and worship services. A full schedule of events is at www.fp375.firstparish.org. [Edited 8.25.11 to replace url with the event-specific site.]

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