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Wright’s Unity Temple marred

Brief congregational news items from the Winter 2010 issue.
By Jane Greer
Winter 2010 11.1.10

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Thieves removed 58 of 72 bronze letters from the exterior of Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill., the church designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright for what is now Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Con­gregation. The letters, which were removed late September 28 or early September 29, formed the words “For the Worship of God and the Service of Man.” Unity Temple was completed in 1909 and was designated a national historic landmark in 1971. Because of their association with the building, the bronze letters are considered valuable, although they would probably bring little if sold for scrap. The congregation is considering how to replace them. (Chicago Tribune, 10/4/10)

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton, N.Y., received GardenShare’s eighth annual Growing Community Award for the church’s UShare program, which donates 2,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year to 17 food pantries in 14 towns in northern New York. UShare, which was founded in 2005, operates two large community gardens, one in Canton and one in Potsdam, using 140 volunteers from the congregation, other religious groups, local colleges, and the community. “UShare helps to realize GardenShare’s vision of a community where the pleasure of eating delicious, wholesome food can truly belong to everyone,” GardenShare president Heather Sullivan-Catlin said, according to North Country Now. (9/30/10)

Awards for energy reduction

First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Needham, Mass., received a national award of merit from Energy Star for having the second highest score in the country in a recent survey of energy use in houses of worship. The Needham congregation completed a renovation of its building in 2008, expanding its space 25 percent while also reducing its energy consumption by 30 percent. According to Energy Star, the congregation reduced its carbon footprint by 43 percent. Energy Star is a joint program operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, Calif., was notified in Au­gust by the U.S. Green Building Council that they had earned gold-level leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for their building, completed in 2006. leed certification is at four levels: certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

New and improved churches

SouthWest Unitarian Universalist Church moved into its new church home in North Royalton, Ohio, in September. The building, which is over 100 years old, was most recently used as a Masonic Temple. The renovated building has a 2,000-square-foot sanctuary, new tiled lobby with stairs and an elevator, kitchenette, office space, new windows, and classroom space.

Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Seattle, Wash., held its first service in its new building on September 12. In April, the congregation purchased a 60-year-old building that was formerly used as a Baptist church and renovated the structure over the summer. Improvements included electrical and plumbing upgrades, a new sound system, and accessibility upgrades.

The Gloucester, Mass., Unitarian Universalist Church celebrated the completion of the renovations to its 204-year-old building on October 3. The renovations, which cost $800,000 and took nine years to complete, include a new roof, new exterior painting, and upgrades to the steeple. Inside the building the electrical system was updated, a new boiler installed, and the floors refurbished.


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