News – September 8, 2023

Cover September 10, 2023
Dear Friends and Members,

My favorite place in our church is the small patch of floor in the Fireside Room where the Spirit Play group has our circle time. Nothing in our congregational life gives me more joy or more fulfillment than spending an hour on a Sunday with our youngest Unitarian Universalists. The most delightful thing about our children is not that they are our future, but that they are our present. Their laughter, their imaginations, and their sense of wonder fill our church and our lives with a special kind of hope and awe that we can all experience right now.  

The time has come to fulfill First Church’s mission of deepening intergenerational community via some long-awaited renovations to our Religious Education (RE) wing. These will include reconfiguring the existing space to create additional classroom and storage space so that we can better meet the needs of different age groups on Sunday mornings. Plans also include moving the RE restroom so that it no longer opens to the hallway, updating our playground equipment with more permanent and durable structures as well as adding shade, and replacing old and/or broken furniture. New paint in the RE classroom areas will also brighten things up for our children, youth and facilitators.  The projected costs to renovate the downstairs RE-adjacent space also include the addition of a first-floor staff conference room, and a shower.

As many of you know, our church building is home to a child day care during the week. This partnership represents a source of both rental income for the congregation, and of safe and affordable child care near the Houston Medical Center. The proposed renovations represent a long-term investment in this income stream. They will also reduce the impact that sharing our space has on our own RE program.

We send a signal to new and prospective families when we care for our RE facilities- a signal that says, “You and your family are an important part of our community- Welcome.” We have the chance to demonstrate that we welcome them not for some tangible benefit that they will bring us in the future, but because we value them here and now, in the present.

Easter Parade2
Not only do we need more families in our widening circle of love, but families need us. Our First Unitarian Universalist community is a safe and welcoming place for children of all ages, abilities, learning styles, ethnicities, gender identities and family backgrounds, at a time when the outside world seems increasingly hostile. This congregation was a lifeline to my family during the pandemic, helping us maintain community and a sense of hope in trying times. It continues to be an important part of how we shape and live out our values, and of how we create meaning in our busy lives.

Once again, I ask you to 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 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