Updates about the UUA Move
Your gifts to our UUA allow us to support our member congregations, create new programs and initiatives, and lift up our shared values on the national level. And now, you can be part of the UUA’s new building by making a donation to the UUA and naming a part of the new building after yourself, your congregation, or in honor of a UU who has made a difference in your life. You can even choose to honor an important moment in our UU history!
At the moment, you can dedicate a hymnal, a brick, a chapel chair, or one of the steps of our new staircase. There will be additional opportunities as the build-out begins. Become a part of history by adding a name today!
Your UUA Board of Trustees met in Boston from October 17 to October 20. It was an energetic and exciting meeting! You can read more about the meeting in the UU World article and the report from the Board. The move of our UUA offices from Beacon Hill to Boston’s Innovation District provides us with an opportunity to refashion our vision for the future and decide where we, as a religious community, are going and how we get there together. I am inspired every day by the work being done at all levels of our Association, and I look forward to all the work there still is to do.
I have asked the UUA’s Moderator, Jim Key, to share his own reflections on how the Association’s move to a new building will deepen our relationships and build community together.
Over 150 congregations committed to Join the Move Sunday. Many celebrated on October 6. Many more plan to hold their service sometime this year. The date doesn’t matter. The purpose does. When our communities join together to demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to our movement and our Association, we are in turn strengthened. As one of the 150 plus, your combined contributions fuel our movement. We are more vital because of you. For others, I invite you to hold a special Join the Move worship service this church year. Sign up on this page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have resources for you.
I was honored to spend October 6 at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Maryland. My message focused on our moral obligation to reach out in love to the spiritually hungry and religiously homeless and to connect with one another. I challenged this vibrant congregation to think even more innovatively, not only to be even more accessible and welcoming to UUs and seekers, but to really reach out into the community. Our future depends on these relationships. We need to move. Complacency is not an option. Join the Move Sunday is about taking a day to have a deeper conversation about what’s next for your local religious community and to affirm the partnership between you and your national UUA staff.
Here are some photos from my trip to Cedar Lane. Please share your photos and stories of your Join the Move Sunday. Simply write to email@example.com. The staff will talk you through the process. Your story, your photo could be the right thing at the right time to inspire others.
With gratitude for all that you do for Unitarian Universalism,
Rev. Peter Morales
I’ve had many conversations with ministers, members of congregations, lay leaders, staff, and others about our upcoming move to Boston’s Innovation District. Some say it’s just a building. Why should we care? Some say the current buildings are our heritage, our roots. How could we possibly move?
The primary goal of your UUA staff is to serve you and our faith. A new facility opens a new world of possibilities we could only imagine before. Incorporating modern technology that has eluded us for years is now a priority and doable. For our day-to-day work, this is a must. For partnering with you for our future, there is simply no other alternative.
In this monthly update, Mark Steinwinter, the UUA’s director of information technology services, shares his thoughts on deepening our connections through improved technology.
Rev. Peter Morales
Technology at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a means to three primary ends:
- Make it easy and affordable for people to connect with each other.
- Make resources available to congregations and constituents when and where they are needed.
- Amplify staff capacity to better serve our congregations and our movement.
The move to 24 Farnsworth Street has inspired a fresh look at the technology used by our staff, gives us an opportunity to improve how we serve congregations and Unitarian Universalists everywhere.
Consider the phone system. Over 15 years old, it doesn’t fulfill the needs for mobility and flexibility that are hallmarks of a modern workplace. When a lay leader wants to call me with a technology question, they should be able to reach me whether I’m at my desk, elsewhere in the building, or at General Assembly. And if they have the right technology, we can have a video chat that will deepen our connection.
When visitors come to our new hub, they’ll want to access the Internet with their mobile devices using wifi. Today, they have to deal with spotty and unreliable coverage in our three buildings. That often interferes with their ability to connect and interrupts our IT support personnel. At 24 Farnsworth St., we’ll invest in an entirely new wireless network that will offer secure, red hot service everywhere, so visitors can expect to work online, usually with no involvement from the IT folks.
Today, the UUA webcasts weekly worship and “All Staff” meetings from the chapel, intended primarily for off-site staff. Our IT staff spends hours every month running the cobbled-together technology that makes the webcasts possible. The lighting and sound are often sketchy, but it’s better than nothing and we get by. But imagine a rich program of worship and presentations in our chapel, like an exciting workshop at GA or a TED talk. And imagine a seeker finding their way to us online and watching the live stream and tweeting to their friends what the “UUs are up to.”
These are a few of virtually unlimited possibilities that modern, affordable off-the-shelf technology makes available today. I pledge to oversee the upgrade of our telephone, audio/visual, wireless, and other technology systems with an eye toward bringing us into deeper engagement with one another and the world at large.
Director of Information Technology Services
This fall, congregations across the country will celebrate Join the Move Sunday. This is a chance for us to celebrate our Unitarian Universalist community and to strengthen our connections.
If you haven’t already, I invite your congregation to sign up. Our official Join the Move Sunday is October 6, 2013, but you can hold this service any day that works for your congregation’s calendar.
Join the Move Sunday is about more than just the UUA’s new headquarters. Money raised by your congregation for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will support our efforts to create more collaborative, efficient and effective space that will allow us to serve you better. And your gifts will also help create something crucial to who we are, what we do and why we matter. Together we will build the new Heritage and Vision Center, an innovative and cutting edge space dedicated both to our Unitarian Universalist history and to the future we are creating together.
See if your congregation is signed up by visiting our blog, or sign up by commenting on that page.
The Join the Move blog has resources for planning your worship service and information on how to hold a special collection in honor of the UUA, our new headquarters, and our bright future.
I am grateful for all you do to support Unitarian Universalism. Our movement has so much potential; together, we are doing great things! Thank you for making this commitment.
Rev. Peter Morales
Our current headquarters at 25 Beacon Street is steeped in rich history and fond memories. We will take those memories with us to our new headquarters at 24 Farnsworth, but we must do more than merely remember our past. We need to embrace our future by telling our story in new, dynamic, and engaging ways. That is why I am thrilled that the Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, Program and Strategy Officer of the UUA, is overseeing the development of our new Heritage and Vision Center at 24 Farnsworth. I have asked Terasa to share her reflections on this important project. And I can’t wait to welcome UUs from around the country — and the world — to the new Heritage and Vision Center.
Rev. Peter Morales
It is our vision for 24 Farnsworth Street, the UUA’s new headquarters, that its design embody certain core values: sustainability, connectedness, inclusion, and hospitality. We are now beginning to discuss specific design elements for the new building, and I wanted to share with you some of the ideas for one small part of it: our lobby. In order to embody the radical hospitality at the center of our faith, the lobby will be accessible to everyone regardless of mobility. We envision a space from which we can reach out in love and support to a wider UU community.
Jean Carroon, our principal architect from Goody Clancy, describes it this way: “We envision for the first time that the UUA will have a large welcoming lobby that is just for the UUA, and separate from the building lobby. And within that large space there’s an opportunity for electronic displays that are very interactive, there’s an opportunity for more display of books and memorabilia, there’s an opportunity for different kinds of storytelling. The lobby also has the potential for groups to gather before they start tours, before they have events. We see that space and the space above, which is a stair that goes directly up to where the new chapel will be, as having a tremendous potential for receptions, for gatherings, for events that are part of the community of the UUA.”
The welcoming lobby is just the beginning! Many of our new spaces will provide opportunities to tell our story and engage with all of you in a deeper and more meaningful way. Jean Carroon will be guiding many of these design decisions, so I’d like to introduce her to you. In this brief video, she describes some of her thoughts on the new UUA headquarters. She’ll also be sharing more of her thoughts and ideas with you as we go through this transition. Welcome, Jean!
Jean and her team have begun to create design ideas and sample drawings for the new building. If you’d like to check them out, please visit our Join the Move blog! These are preliminary drawings only, and most likely will not reflect the finished product, but they are an introduction to some of the possibilities of our new home.
There are some very exciting conversations happening right now between our design team and the architects, and I will let you know as we learn more about the shape of our new space. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
Rev. Peter Morales
One of the reasons I’m so excited about the UUA’s move to our new headquarters at 24 Farnsworth Street is the potential for enhanced collaboration that our new space will afford us. In that spirit, I am delighted to invite you to share your vision for how our new UUA headquarters will look and feel.
Goody Clancy, our architecture firm, designed this “blink” exercise to help gather your ideas about new design possibilities. Would you like our new headquarters to feel more modern or traditional? Would you like to see rougher, more natural materials or should they be more refined? Do you favor neutral colors, bold swaths of color, or a more neutral palette with pops of color here and there? Note that none of the images are actual choices. They’re meant to represent and suggest ideas, concepts, colors, shapes, and moods.
The “blink” exercise is designed to be quick. What is your immediate, gut reaction? What is your instinctual response to each of the photographs presented? Do you love it or do you hate it? Or do you fall somewhere in between? There are even spaces in the survey for comments should you feel inclined. This is an opportunity for all of us to go with our instincts and have fun in imagining our new religious home.
Your input will be incredibly valuable as we move forward in designing our new space. If possible, please respond by Monday, July 15. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Rev. Peter Morales
On behalf of Goody Clancy, the UUA architects for our new headquarters offices at 24 Farnsworth Street in Boston, I’m thrilled to share with you a “blink” exercise in the form of a Survey Monkey questionnaire.
Goody Clancy designed the “blink” exercise to help gather information on how we want our new headquarters space to feel. As constituents of the UUA, we welcome your input. Note that none of the images are actual choices. They’re meant to represent and suggest ideas, concepts, colors, shapes, and moods.
The “blink” exercise will take you about 20 minutes to complete. Offer your immediate, gut reaction to each image. Do you love it or do you hate it? Or do you fall somewhere in between? There are even spaces in the survey for comments should you feel inclined. The link is live through the end of July.
Have fun! Don’t overanalyze. Imagine.