Give to First Parish of Watertown
Please consider making a generous donation to our Annual Fund. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
Pledges to the Open Doors Capital Campaign are in addition to annual pledges; please give as generously as you are able. However, if your circumstances dictate, please prioritize annual giving to sustain the programs and staff of our church.
Thank you! Your generous contribution will ensure that future generations enjoy the spiritual community of First Parish.
Open Doors Campaign Overview
In 2015, we launched 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.
Comfort 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. We 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.
New Heating System
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.
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.
We thank members who planted the seed for the Memorial Garden by expressing wishes to be memorialized here over two decades ago.
The current plan was designed by Karen Sebastian, landscape architect, with input from parishioners through design meetings held in 2014.
The cost of the memorial garden and gathering space is projected to be: $164K; which we will pay by pledges to the Opening Doors Campaign.
In spring 2014, we hired David Nauss, design-builder, to help us plan interior improvements to the religious education classrooms and the social hall.
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.
These units could be constructed easily to fit our space, and the front panel customized for church school use or preschool use.
Additionally, lighting changes to the classroom hallway (installed during the heating work) and to the social hall (proposed) will brighten the lower level areas. Dim-able lights will augment the existing fluorescents in the social hall, allowing for a variety of uses.
Our goal of $475,000 was set following the conclusion of the Feasibility Study conducted by UU fundraising consultant, Tricia Hart.
Tricia interviewed 39 members, comprising 60% of the congregation.
Tricia reported that members showed strong commitment to the proposed projects, with some motivated by the heating system, others by the religious education classroom improvement, and others by the outdoor space/memorial garden.
Tricia was impressed by our dedication to First Parish, and our readiness to begin the capital fund drive.