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Sheltering the faith

Brief news items about congregational building programs.
By Julia Angley
Spring 2012 2.15.12

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More congregations are going green

The Unitarian Universalist Society: East in Manchester, Conn. (shown above), recently earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star certification for renovations completed in 2010, becoming the first house of worship in Connecticut to receive such a certification. The congregation has been a UUA-accredited Green Sanctuary since 2006 and remained dedicated to improving the church’s energy efficiency while planning the renovations. The original building, constructed in 1979 and last updated in 1989, got a complete overhaul. New energy saving measures include geo­thermal heating and cooling, high efficiency windows and lighting, and multi-use spaces to maximize the use of the building.

First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, Calif., began construction in September on a new building and campus improvement project. With an expected completion date of Spring 2012, the project will involve landscape, irrigation, and utility upgrades and a new building that will house a main hall, library, kitchen, meeting rooms, and offices. The building is based on sustainable design principles in keeping with the congregation’s desire for environmental consciousness.

First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Tex., completed an architecturally significant building project in the fall of 2010. The building was dedicated on Sept. 10, 2011, after 18 months of construction and six years of planning. The new eco-friendly building is Silver LEED certified and cost $7.8 million to complete.

Michigan UUs extend welcome

The Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church in Grosse Pointe, Mich., recently completed a yearlong effort to become a more welcoming congregation.

As part of the effort spanning from February 2010 to March 2011, the congregation added an ADA-compatible unisex restroom, complete with a touch-free entry and exit system, to be more accessible for all congregants and visitors. Members of the church also commissioned a new piece of welcoming artwork. The four-foot-wide handcrafted metal sculpture, by Joshua Andres of Benton Harbor, Mich., depicts the flaming chalice and welcomes churchgoers in the foyer.

Photo of the Unitarian Universalist Society: East in Manchester, Conn., by Joe Madar. Send news about your congregation’s building initiatives to world@uua.org.

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