We have learning, meeting and gathering spaces in the parish hall. Hooray! The new spaces are already being used heavily, which is wonderful. A few members of the staff were at church on a recent Friday night for an orientation for our Coming of Age program. That same evening, an AA meeting was taking place in the main space of the parish hall and Seacoast Outright was holding a support group gathering in two of the classroom spaces. Our rooms are being deployed for the good of the community in service to our mission, which is wonderful.
This time, a few reminders:
~ Acoustic control for the parish hall, permanent gender-inclusive bathroom signage and furniture for the Emerson Sitting Room (at the bottom of the stairs from the sanctuary) are all in process.
~ The meeting spaces get used heavily day and night, all week long. Please reserve your space early using the online form http://southchurchuu.wufoo.com/forms/m7x3r3/ . If you would like to pre-set the room in advance of your program, please check with Jennifer Leyden to ensure that no one else has the space scheduled.
~ The congregation is in discernment about how to proceed with the remaining potential projects of the Capital Campaign, including the completion of the renovation at the Meetinghouse (73 Court Street) and necessary upgrades to the roof. Cottage conversations have been taking place for two months and are now complete. Feedback from those conversations will be compiled soon and shared with the congregation. And stay tuned for more information about a special congregational meeting on October 28th, which the Board has arranged as an opportunity to learn and share about our capital improvement projects.
~ Our smallest South Church members will be in the Carson Parlor Sunday mornings for the short term, while repairs are made to the nursery. Measures are being taken to address a longstanding leakage problem along the west wall of the building. Plans for this upgrade were already underway when the last vestiges of Hurricane Florence hit the Seacoast.
~ Lastly, a moment of celebration. The changes to our spaces have been incremental, and it’s easy to forget how much we have accomplished.
Fire suppression systems for the sanctuary and parish hall. I was especially grateful for the foresight of leadership in prioritizing this part of the project after the devastating losses at the National Museum in Brazil.
Improved egress at the front and rear of the sanctuary. These changes beautify our space and increase safety in the event of an emergency. The new stairwell linking the church entry to the parish hall is beautiful and functional. It links the worship and fellowship spaces in the building in ways that strengthen our community. It’s almost hard to remember the tiny passageways that used to connect the two levels of our church!
Renewal of learning and gathering spaces. Our meeting and classroom spaces are clean and functional. Our building still has wheelchair-inaccessible meeting and gathering spaces, but we have reduced their number.
Addressing the massive disrepair at Karnan House. Karnan had become an eyesore with extensive maintenance issues. By selling it and purchasing the building at 73 Court Street, we did a substantial upgrade and gained square footage. We also acquired a building with significant upside in the long-term as a fellowship space and a unique asset in the larger community. It’s worth driving by Karnan House as a reminder of how far we’ve come!
Renewal of our historic sanctuary. The crown jewel of our physical space has a fresh coat of paint and repaired plaster.
Asbestos removal. We removed dangerous building materials from our fellowship and religious education spaces.
There’s more, but that’s enough for now. I am so proud of this congregation and all we have done together. We have and continue to do our part as stewards of this enduring institution. The work continues, but this is an appropriate time to pause, reflect and celebrate.
See you in church!