First Parish of Watertown

Opening Doors Campaign

Opening Doors

In 2015, we launch the Opening Doors Capital Campaign, an effort which embodies hopefulness by emphasizing Comfort, Community and Commemoration.  This Campaign, funded with a capital drive by our members, owes a great debt to seed money left to us by members and fundraising efforts begun in 2014.

Group Singing in SanctuaryComfort is what results from a modern, more efficient heating system, so that everyone who uses our building can feel warm when it is cold outside, but also they can know that we expect to be here for many years to come, so that our sanctuary is a continuing symbol of our aspirations.  We want to be a community that comes together in friendship with a broad compassion. We want programs that affirm the children in beautiful classrooms and the adults in a welcoming parish hall and bring our faith outside our doors, too, to a welcoming outdoor space.  The larger vision is that we will empower our youth and our adults to share our faith with others, and that together we will make our expression of liberal faith more prominent in the community.

Finally, we want to commemorate those who have gone before.  We give thanks for those who worked so hard to give us this warm loving community and its beautiful building.  Moreover, we commit ourselves to embodying all that they held sacred. We want to reflect their open spirit in our worship services and programs. UU ChaliceWe want to be stewards of the building as symbols of how we are committed to renewed environmental awareness.  We want to remember their strong voices for social service and action, so that together we can always offer spiritual growth and community action to all who will enter what we hope will always be the open doors of our church community.

Origins

This project has roots beginning two decades ago, when members expressed wishes to be memorialized here and a Memorial Garden fund was created.  In 2013, the congregation engaged in a comprehensive assessment of what we value and wish for our building and our community.

The next milestone came not from discussion, but from our aging infrastructure – throughout the fall and winter of 2013-14, we suffered through a series of heating system malfunctions and frigid Sunday services, making it clear our old steam system needed immediate replacement.  We opted for a gas-fired hot water system designed to heat the building quickly and evenly.  The new heating system is also much more efficient, each room and space is its own heating zone, allowing the building to economically accommodate meetings both large and small.  The congregation approved the project early in 2014 and voted to fund it, temporarily, with a home equity (HELOC) loan.  Installation took place in the summer of 2014.  Parishioners and staff alike report that the system is working perfectly.  In spring 2014, we hired Karen Sebastian, landscape architect, and David Nauss, design-builder to help us plan a Memorial Garden/outdoor gathering space and interior improvements to the religious education classrooms and the social hall.  

Outdoor Spaces

Imagine some future day looking out from the downstairs social hall, through new French doors, to a round terrace with a chalice sculpture outside.  The scene includes walkways and places to meditate, enjoy fresh air during social hour, see an outdoor concert, and join in summer worship services.  Imagine also walking along a low wall, a “ribbon of remembrance”, honoring past members of our congregation.  On that day, we’ll recall this scene had its  origins in 2015, when we expanded our view – literally – beyond our doors and provided our community and ourselves with welcoming and contemplative exterior spaces; the Memorial Garden/outdoor gathering space.

Interior Spaces

Our Religious Education program shares rooms with a preschool, yet serves a much wider student age range (2-18).  We need flexible classrooms that reflect our UU identity and display our chalice on Sundays, yet easily “flip” back to accommodate our preschool tenant after RE classes are done.

Want to help? Find out how we can make these projects a reality!