News – August 11, 2023

Cover August 13, 2023
Dear Members and Friends,

One of the best things about living in Houston (besides being able to attend First UU, of course!) is the food. I love to experience the beautiful diversity of our city as it’s reflected in the sights and aromas of our markets and eateries. Within a few miles of my house, I can experience cuisines from Peruvian to Liberian to Vietnamese, or even walk down the street to an urban farm growing produce like shiso and roselle. Houston is a constant and hopeful reminder of how easily people of all different backgrounds and walks of life can still come together over a good meal.

Our church kitchen is also such a place. The ability to cook and serve food together provides us with countless ways to build community through hospitality. This, to me, is why the proposed capital improvements to our church kitchen are so important. These renovations, as part of a set of building projects funded by the upcoming capital campaign, are not just about new cabinets or an icemaker. They’re about living out our vision of widening love’s circle by creating a space where people can gather together and become part of something larger.

Many of you are already seeing the ways that we use our kitchen and dining spaces to widen love’s circle. For example:

-A dedicated group of church members committed to climate justice have organized a regular series of plant-based potlucks to build community and to showcase a variety of delicious plant-based recipes. These gatherings have been popular not only with church members, but with visitors from the community.

-Through a small grant from the UU Funding Program, we have organized both a Venezuelan and a Salvadorean cooking class at the church. Both were designed to build connections between recent immigrants and long-standing residents, and raise awareness of social justice issues facing asylum-seekers in Texas.

-Our Care Team regularly organizes receptions following memorial services at the church, honoring the lives of those congregants who have left us.

Our proposed kitchen improvements include improving its safety and appearance, adding an ice maker, installing new cabinets, and finally, adding a dishwasher! As anyone who’s ever been elbow-deep in dishwater after a church event can tell you, a dishwasher is absolutely essential to allowing us to host large gatherings without relying on single-use dishes and cutlery. The campaign also includes funds to replace worn and broken furniture in Channing Hall and other gathering spaces.

Community-building will become increasingly important as we widen the circle to include more and more new members from all different backgrounds. Please consider the meaning that this beloved community holds in your own life, and how you might feel called upon to support it by making a financial commitment during the upcoming capital campaign. To learn more, you may attend an upcoming house meeting, visit the Stewardship table in Channing Hall on Sundays, or email Congregants will have the opportunity to meet with visiting stewards starting this October.

In gratitude,
Sheryl Abrahams,
Board Vice President and Member of the Capital Campaign Team