After years of looking for a place we could call our own, our new home is shaping up -- from the ground up! The walls are in place, the roof is going on, and you can finally feel the spaces. We expect to move into our building on Skyline Ranch Road in January, 2015.
It has been exactly three years since our New Home Project emerged as a glimmer of possibilities. A family wishing to remain anonymous approached the board in early September, 2011, with the possibility of a gift that would enable our fellowship to build a building that would reflect our congregation's values—our reason for being. Over the next months, the congregation worked together to develop a shared vision and explored our needs, wishes, and dreams.
We accepted a planning grant in the fall of 2011, conducted a visioning workshop with the help of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), launched a financial feasibility study, formed a Steering Committee and subcommittees, and hired a consulting architect to see if we could bring our dreams to reality. After an extensive search for suitable land, we found our current 22-acre site on the west edge of Bend, and were fortunate to be offered it as a gift. In the spring, we held a congregation sustainability workshop and decided to follow Earth Advantage standards. A successful capital campaign raised sufficient funds to meet the donor family’s challenge, and the project went forward.
With the help of various workgroups and the whole congregation, we compiled a 45-page document outlining our dreams and desires for the building as a whole, as well as each space. Compromises followed as reality set in, and spaces became smaller and more flexible as we focused on multiple uses. Having our own space will allow our fellowship to grow and develop in ways we can't fully imagine, and will enable us to better serve the greater community as well.
We have held true to our vision:
Our new home will embody the spirit and values of UUFCO. As an intergenerational liberal religious community open to all, we value life-long learning, freedom of belief, caring fellowship, spiritually meaningful services, and engaged social action. Guided by a careful listening to the natural world around us, our new home will support genuine and warm interaction among the people who cross its threshold.
We envision our new spiritual home as being respectful of the land with a strong connection with nature, full of natural light and fresh air. It will be a green, sustainable, energy-efficient, low maintenance, perhaps LEED-certified building—a model for the community. We will create a building that allows for flexibility and growth and is universally accessible. We see it being simple, but well done, aesthetically pleasing, and of a timeless quality.
This will be an inviting, welcoming space. There will be outside areas for gatherings, gardens, meditation, and play. Most importantly, we are building a home that allows us to provide fully for the programs that are our reasons for being. This home will include space for religious education programs for young people and adults that inspire curiosity and lifelong learning. It will be alive—not just on Sundays, but throughout the week, and will be an asset not only to our own congregation, but also to the greater community.