The three Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations in New Orleans, like the city itself, were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. However that devastation became an inspiration, not an obstacle, to the members of all three churches. Their resilience and determination have been in evidence every day of the last five years as they rebuild not only their churches, but the city of New Orleans itself.
Posted: June 4, 2011
FUUNO Community Kitchen Renovation
We continue to work toward creating a vibrant food ministry.
Renovation of the church building to support this work is ongoing. Contact the church office to learn how you can help in this effort.
This includes our plan to share the First Church Community Kitchen with our partner The New Orleans AIDS Task Force's Food For Friends Program. The NO/AIDS program provides healthy meals each week to homebound persons living with HIV/AIDS. First Church is proud of its efforts to rebuild the old church kitchen into a commercial kitchen in partnership with NO/AIDS.
The commitment to this project was made by congregational vote after Katrina. We have the plans and a gutted area prepared. Contractors are lined up and the bids have been reviewed (multiple times and with many changes and challenges)!
Renovation of the church building to support this work is ongoing. Contact the church office to learn how you can help in this effort. Final work to get the chruch facility up to code is progressing. December 2011 is now the expected date of project completion.
We are building a sacred place.
When we spend our money to convert our undersized, flooded out kitchen into a commercial kitchen to serve hundreds of meals a week to the most fragile, lonely and scared members of our society, we are creating a sacred place.
In the sanctuary, you once looked up to see stained, missing and falling tiles, which made it challenging to contemplate the big questions of life. Now you see sweeping expanses of fabric that creates a beautiful canopy instead of a distraction. The wainscoting is nearly completed. It both hides the damage of the flood and serves as a reminder of just how high the water came. The sanctuary is becoming a sacred place.
The labyrinth is turning the floor, long an ugly, uncleanable reminder of Katrina into one of the finest examples of a meditative space in the world. It will serve as a healing space within a sacred space for generations to come.
The Gordon window is now the backdrop for the pulpit, and will soon be properly lighted. As a connection with our past, it is sacred. As a reminder of what dedicated human effort can accomplish for the common good, it is a celebration.
All of these projects are underway. Most are being totally done by church members and friends volunteering their time and talent. If you have not been in the sanctuary during the summer, you will be amazed by the transformation. As we heal the building we are also healing and growing our selves.
hUUgs, Reese Brewer
A few slides to remember what the year was like in the First UU Sanctuary. With thanks to the special people who volunteered their time and expertise.
Thanks to our Labyrinth Artisan, to all the volunteers, and especially the Building and Grounds Team.
There are still lots of jobs. You don't have to be a skilled crafts-person, as we have work available for every skill level. What we do ask for is a willing heart to go with your helping hands. The best part is, it's fun too! You get great fellowship with the others and get to know more about each other. I'm leaving my mark on this building, I like to think the rest of the congregation will want to also. I derive great satisfaction when I look back at past projects and know we turned ugly into beautiful. I feel so grateful and blessed when people help me and I love the interactions.-- Marcie
The OFFICIAL Building and Grounds Workday is held monthly on the third Saturday! Many other days folk from Building and Grounds Team and Volunteers are currently working. There is more progress every week! We now have the old entrance doors which have been restored and hung, thanks to Marcie Brennan's gift. The accessible entrance on Soniat has a new ramp built by our volunteers.
Thank you to Mary Jo, Marcie & Reese for the many hours they have put in supervising and planning this process!
The Restoration Story of the Gordon Sisters' Window by Mary Jo Day (August 2009)
The Gordon Sisters' Window -The ongoing story, 2001-2009 ...
There she stands, surrounded by injured children and a dog. She is a beauty who has survived much and is an outstanding choice for honoring the Gordon Sisters, icons in New Orleans’s history. My adventures with this spectacular window started way back in 2001 when I was co-president of the board. Naturally, the church was strapped for money, and I knew from climbing around in the nooks and crannies that we had some stained glass windows in storage. With help they were brought down and unwrapped and we discovered that there were some beautiful ones representing the Zodiac. Should we sell them to help with our budget issues?