Moving Forward For Our Faith

Dear Friend,

Our move off of Beacon Hill to 24 Farnsworth Street in Boston’s Innovation District has been an incredible journey. I am grateful to the extraordinary team who made this move possible, managing a complicated project in a very short time. And I offer a special thank you to you and everyone who embraced this vision of a more efficient, sustainable, accessible, and welcoming UUA. It is amazing to see this become a reality. As we settle in, we will be continuing to make improvements to our new home. One of our upcoming projects is to rework the building’s main entrance to co-locate an accessible and prominent lift with the main entrance path to offer dignified access.

I hope you will come visit us. Until then, please watch this video celebrating our new spiritual home. Thank you.

move video splash image

In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales

UUA President

Accessibility and Sustainability at 24

Dear friend,

With just over a month in our new space at 24 Farnsworth, I can say confidently that it’s feeling like home, a Unitarian Universalist home. It’s welcome and inviting. It’s accessible and sustainable.

Our seven principles are proudly reflected in many ways throughout the building, including many of the systems that are at work behind the scenes. I am confident that our commitment to sustainability will earn us a strong Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the near future. LEED certification, which is awarded by the US Green Building Council, is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building.

As Unitarian Universalists, environmental justice is of primary importance to us. I’ve asked our Chief Operating Officer, Rev. Harlan Limpert, to share some of the ways that our new space is contributing to that cause.

In faith,


Rev. Peter Morales

UUA President


As we designed our new building at 24 Farnsworth Street, it was very important to us that we visibly incorporate our principles into the space. We particularly wanted to ensure that our new faith home was healthy, sustainable, and accessible. The building features multiple pathways throughout the work areas to make it easy to access all spaces, Braille signage, hearing amplification systems in the Chapel and Multipurpose Room, gender-neutral bathrooms on all floors, and floor-specific color schemes for easier orientation.To accomplish a green workspace, we enlisted one of the foremost experts on sustainable building, Jean Carroon of Goody Clancy. Under her guidance, we have moved into a space that is beautiful, inviting, and efficient. I would like to share with you just some of the sustainable practices that were implemented in the design and operation of 24 Farnsworth Street.

  • By reusing an existing building, we realized a tremendous reduction in the need for virgin materials, embodied energy, and environmental pollution.
  • Over 35% of the materials and furnishings installed contain recycled content.
  • Over 20% of the materials and furnishings installed were manufactured within 500 miles of Boston.
  • A sophisticated lighting control system dims electric lights in response to the presence of daylight, and turns lights on and off based on occupancy.
  • The use of energy-efficient light fixtures and a carefully designed lighting plan will reduce ongoing energy consumption for lighting by over 40%.
  • We have worked with the current owners of the building to update toilet room fixtures to water efficient models. This will reduce ongoing water consumption by 35%.
  • Over 90% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill by incorporating material recycling strategies.
  • Having spent 87 years at 25 Beacon, first the American Unitarian Association, and then our UUA has a long history in buildings built for them. Infrequent moves help to conserve resources, reduce waste, and eliminate negative environmental impacts. We have invested wisely in the build-out of 24 Farnsworth, and we plan to be here for a long time.
  • We have implemented a Green Cleaning Program to reduce the exposure of potentially hazardous products, equipment, or procedures associated with the cleaning and maintenance of the space.
  • In order to ensure the best possible indoor air quality, all adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, flooring materials, composite wood products, and furniture used within the space meet strict volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions limits.
  • We have implemented an Energy Star Equipment Purchasing Policy that applies to the ongoing purchase of appliances, office equipment, and electronics. This policy has resulted in an over 90% Energy Star Equipment compliance rate.

I am proud of our sustainable, inviting space, and the impact that it will have for our staff, visitors, and the earth.

As we kick off General Assembly (GA) in Providence, I also want to commend our GA planning team on their extraordinary sustainability efforts. They have been nationally recognized for their work in green conference planning, and help to provide a positive and healthy experience for all who attend. You can learn more about their efforts on the Greening General Assembly page of

In faith,

Harlan Limpert 2

Rev. Harlan Limpert

Chief Operating Officer




Love Reaches Out

Dear friend,

We’ve settled very quickly into our new offices at 24 Farnsworth. Now, all under one roof, we are in the thick of General Assembly (GA) preparations.

The theme of our upcoming GA is Love Reaches Out. In person and online, we will have many opportunities to reach out in love – to demonstrate that love does more than take a stand. Most visibly, this theme will be embodied by our Public Witness event at WaterFire Providence. With 4,500 UUs and approximately 10,000 attendees expected, this will be a terrific opportunity to introduce our faith to the local community and reach out in love in visible ways.

I have asked Alex Kapitan, who is overseeing our WaterFire Public Witness event, to share insights with you.

In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales

UUA President


“When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.” —The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the greatest justice cause and spiritual imperative of our time. It is what makes me a person of faith. When people meet me, I want them to feel that love and sense that I am someone different, that I am a “love person.” I don’t have to see eye to eye with someone to wish the best for them and practice unconditional love toward them. It is not always easy— in fact, sometimes it can be very difficult—but that is what makes love a spiritual practice.

As we have settled into our new space at 24 Farnsworth Street, staff and visitors have had the opportunity to practice love and compassion in all of our interactions. We have adjusted to each other’s work styles, helped each other to learn about our new neighborhood, and counseled each other on the struggles of adapting to a new work environment. There is a feeling of love throughout the building that is carrying over into our work, and it is awesome.

Next week, we begin our 2014 General Assembly in Providence, RI. There, we will engage in the power of love in workshops, worship, and witness, building toward our public witness event at the riverfront WaterFire festival, where we will witness for the power of love to create a better world and get a chance to practice publicly reaching out in love.

Recently, I had the honor of working with our UUA president, the Rev. Peter Morales, to create a video about the power of reaching out in love. I am proud of this work. I hope you will enjoy it, and that it will inspire you to think about ways that you can reach out in love.


In loving faith,

Alex Kapitan photo 1

Alex Kapitan

Congregational Advocacy & Witness Program

Coordinator Unitarian Universalist Association




Welcome to 24 Farnsworth Street

Dear friend,

Last Thursday, your UUA staff moved into our new offices at 24 Farnsworth Street in Boston’s Innovation District. Unpacking was a breeze. IT staff made the rounds and we were off and running.

We hoped and planned for a collaborative space, and we have it. It’s beautiful and functional. And we’re already reaping the benefits of its design. Nicole McConvery, International Office Programs Associate, remarked, “I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of colleagues from 25 (Beacon St.) whom I’ve never seen or spoken with face-to-face in the seven years I’ve worked for the UUA.”

Our first visitors were Unitarian Universalists from Canada. As I showed them around, my pride in your UUA staff, my gratitude for your generosity, and our shared awareness of opportunity and possibility grew.

We’re ready for you to come for a visit. This is your home. Enjoy these photos as a first step of our journey.

In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales
UUA President


The Move is Here!

Our physical move will take place the weekend of May 16-18, 2014. To facilitate moving our technology, our offices will be closed on Friday, May 16, and email and phone service may be sporadic from Friday, May 16 through Monday, May 19.

Thank you in advance for your patience as we prepare to continue our service to you and to our movement.

As of Monday, May 19, the UUA’s mailing address will change to:

24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210-1409

We look forward to sharing more photos and stories about the new building and all the ways it allows us to serve you better.

Sustainability and Spirituality

Dear friends,

The move to our new building is closer than ever! We have begun to pack our boxes and put the final touches on our new space. We expect to move May 16-May 18.

Throughout this process, Jean Carroon, our principal architect, has been a steady and purposeful guiding hand in our efforts to create a sustainable, healthy workplace. Jean has an outstanding record in green architecture (she actually wrote the book: Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings) and her efforts on our behalf are leading us to seek a strong LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. As Jean says, “It is typical of what the UUA is, that you are part of what will change the world.” The LEED certification will be an acknowledgement of the importance we placed on creating a green workplace, and we hope that our efforts will be a model that other organizations and architects will follow.

As Unitarian Universalists, environmental justice is of primary importance to us. I’ve asked the Rev. Sarah Lammert, our Director of Ministries and Faith Development, to share her thoughts on the connection between sustainability and our UU faith.

Thank you for joining us on this journey to our new faith home. I look forward to sharing pictures and additional updates with you in the coming weeks as we move to our newly-renovated green building.

In faith,
Morales Peter 24 Farnsworth
Rev. Peter Morales
UUA President


Back in 1992 I attended my first General Assembly in Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. I was a twenty-eight year old seminarian, and I was invited to join the board of the 7th Principle Project, the precursor to today’s UU Ministry for Earth. That small, dedicated band came up with the Green Sanctuary program, which is our Unitarian Universalist version of LEED for congregations, as well as many environmental justice resolutions. It was my first taste of denominational leadership. More importantly, it helped form me as a minister because it provided a bridge between justice advocacy and spirituality.

As Unitarian Universalists, we know that the life of the spirit cannot be separated from our physical existence here on earth. Our UU faith is bookended by two principles, the first declaring the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the seventh declaring that we are interdependent with all life.

What this means is that we hold an expanded definition of the self, one that values the preciousness of every unique person while also recognizing that none of us is a self alone.

Our UUA has a proud history of leadership in environmental justice. Over and over again, I have seen us affirm sustainable, healthy ways of living with our Earth. And today, I would like to challenge every one of us to consider the ways we can live out our commitment to our world in our homes, our offices, and our congregations.

May we live knowing our fundamental relatedness to all beings. May our new building be a beacon as we take up the mantle of the leadership for a greener, more just, more sustainable way of living as people of faith.

In hope,
Sarah Lammert
Rev. Sarah Lammert
Director of Ministries and Faith Development

Our Brand New Bookstore

Dear friends,

There are so many things I am looking forward to in our new space at 24 Farnsworth Street: enhanced services for congregations, a more welcoming and accessible space, the Heritage and Vision Center.

I’m also excited that we will have a new brand-new space for our UUA Bookstore. This is an opportunity for us to branch out and begin to include other kinds of merchandise in our Bookstore, as well as providing a welcoming place where visitors can learn more about our movement.

For more details, I’ve asked Rose Hanig, our Bookstore Manager, to tell us more about what she’s looking forward to in the new building.

In faith,
Morales Peter 24 Farnsworth
Rev. Peter Morales
UUA President


After 15 years managing your UUA Bookstore just off the lobby in our 25 Beacon Street headquarters, I’m excited about the possibilities of the new Bookstore space at 24 Farnsworth St. For those of you who have visited our 25 Beacon store, some things will seem familiar. At our new space, we will still be located just inside the main entrance adjacent to the welcoming area for visitors in the lobby. We will still be selling many wonderful titles about Unitarian Universalism from Skinner House Books. You’ll still be able to find superb publications from Beacon Press. There will still be excellent titles from other publishers that I’ve selected with you in mind. And our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be ready to help you select books and gifts when you come in—just as they always have.

But there will be changes, too.

Our inventory is expanding to include new items of beauty produced by companies we believe in. I’m incredibly excited about the unique jewelry made by Mayan women in Guatemala who work in clean, safe conditions and earn fair wages. We’ve found several companies that produce vibrant and fun products—key chains, cups, and jewelry—made from sustainable materials. I can’t wait to show them to you.

We are also upgrading our inventory of Standing on the Side of Love and UUA identity merchandise. You’ll be able to shop for new t-shirts, tote bags, and even onesies for babies. We will also be selling many of these items at our UUA Bookstore booth in the exhibit hall at General Assembly in Providence this year, so please be sure to visit us while you are there.

And one thing will never change. We remain steadfast in our commitment to offer merchandise that is produced in accordance with our UU values of equity and compassion for workers and respect for the environment.

I look forward to seeing you in our brand new store this Spring.

Hanig, Rose
Rose Hanig
Bookstore Manager

Stewarding Our Resources

Dear friends,
Our move from 25 Beacon to 24 Farnsworth in Boston is an exciting opportunity to shape the future of our Association and our movement. The new offices will allow us to better serve our congregations and to lift our shared moral values in the world.

The move is also an important means by which we can steward our resources. I’ve asked Tim Brennan, UUA Treasurer/CFO, to share some of his thoughts on the importance of stewardship to the future of our UU movement.

As always, thank you for your encouragement and your gifts of time, talent, and treasure.

In faith,
Morales Peter 24 Farnsworth
Rev. Peter Morales
UUA President


Cherishing the Past at our Beacon Benediction

Dear Friends,

On Friday, February 21, 2014, we celebrated the history of our Boston home at 25 Beacon St. in in a special Beacon Benediction. One hundred friends from across the country attended in person, and 300 additional people joined us online. The service was funny, poignant, and reflective, and looked forward to our future while honoring our past.

As part of the service, the portraits in Eliot Chapel came to life. In skits, Samuel Eliot, Mary Livermore and others relived events that they witnessed during their years on the walls of 25 Beacon. I shared some items from the 1926 time capsule found in our cornerstone, including newspapers, Unitarian and Beacon Press publications, letters, notes, invitations and, amazingly, items from the 1884 sealed time capsule from our first headquarters. We encouraged guests both online and in person to make a donation to our Association or to name part of our new building after themselves, their congregation, or a meaningful UU in their life.

People gave generously from their hearts. And those joining us online told us: “Who knew this small chapel could hold so many hearts. — So glad I could join you without traveling. What a splendid way to end a week and begin a new journey. Blessings all!” “My heart-space is happy and at peace—thank you, thank you!” “What a beautiful, creative, and moving service…wonderful to be part of!” and “Wonderful to share this moment with all of you.” For more information about the Beacon Benediction, check out the UU World’s coverage.

Pictures and a video of the Beacon Benediction are available on our blog for anyone who wasn’t able to join our celebration on the 21st.

We’re looking forward gathering again at the Farnsworth Dedication on October 4, 2014, which will mark our new headquarters as a spiritual home and important location in UU history. As we continue to embrace the dawning future, I hope you will also consider making a gift to the Join the Move Fund or naming an item in our new building!

In faith,

The Rev. Peter Morales

Photos and Video from the Beacon Benediction

Check out some of the photos from our Beacon Benediction!

A recording of this moving service is available on YouTube.