Blogs

Reflections of the ministers and senior staff.

Almost Done (AV Update part 3)

This complicated project with multiple vendors and many moving parts is finally coming to completion. The new speaker array and retractable projection screen were both installed in the ceiling. Additional electrical work was completed to power all the various components (screen, speakers, window blinds, projector). The Chapel will have a new screen as well. We have begun integrating the new equipment with the current audio-visual systems (camera and soundboard).

This week it was very exciting to see the large screen deployed for the first time and hear sound from the speaker array. We are now working on the fine-tuning part of the installation. The Sanctuary has been a construction zone since mid-August. While lifts were rented to support the AV installation, additional maintenance work was completed in this space utilizing the equipment. Multiple areas of mold on the high ceiling were cleaned, sanded and refinished (see photo below of Edgar Proano working on the ceiling). Most of the room was repainted. A retractable window blind was installed over the large window above the storage area to allow for minimizing light on the new screen/projector. New floor outlets will be installed when the parts arrive. A large platform with a metal door hatch for the projector was built in the ceiling area above the sound desk (see photo below of Chris Egle looking out the projector window). At the same time, insulation that had been falling down is now secured to the roof. The media desk for the Tech Team was moved into the sound closet and linked to the new system.

Please know that safety is a concern throughout the process on multiple levels. Contractors and staff are masked, lift operators are harnessed, and load limits for all the equipment hanging from the ceiling have been certified by a structural engineer. The floors have been covered with ram board and plywood to ensure that the heavy lifts won't crack or scratch the wood floor.

We expect to transform the Sanctuary from a construction zone to a worship space by the end of this week. The large projector installation has been delayed due to supply chain issues, but should be functional in early October.

Once the full system is fully operational, the next step will be orientation and training with the new equipment for the Sound team, Tech Team, and Worship Team. While we are eager to move forward, we may be in learning mode for a bit as we learn how to adjust workflow for Sunday mornings.

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AV Update (part 2)

Even though we are not gathering in person for worship at this time, here is a peek behind the scenes at some of the work in the Sanctuary. Last Sunday you may have noticed we had to switch back to Zoom for live stream worship, which presented a few technical challenges. This is because we discovered during the equipment check that morning that one of the contractors had rewired the camera in preparation to interface with the new systems.

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Sanctuary AV Update (part 1)

Physical construction has begun on the Sanctuary AV upgrade. While this is just one step in a complex process involving multiple contractors, we are hopeful for a mid-September completion date. So please pardon our dust over the next 6 weeks as installation continues in phases. The system includes a new speaker, large retractable screen, long throw projector, additional screen the chapel, hearing accessibility upgrades, and window shade.

This is more than just new equipment. ERUUF is seeking to develop capacity for multi-platform worship. The ability to worship together, both in person and at a distance, is integral to the life of this faith community. The new AV system will help ERUUF build capacity for the community and empower the multimedia worship experience that has developed over the past year of livestream worship.

This project has been in various stages of research and development for quite some time. Conversations have been engaged with the worship team, tech team, Coordinating Team, Board of Trustees, music team, sound team, buildings and grounds team, staff, and more. There have been a variety of ideas and iterations of options for how the project could work within the physical space and enhance worship at ERUUF. We are excited to be moving forward now and grateful for a grant from the Eno River Fellowship Foundation and Board approval for additional ERUUF reserve funds that will make this project possible.

The upgraded AV system will allow ERUUF to take a huge leap forward in technology and connectivity, as well as dynamic worship.
Stay tuned for updates.

 

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Solar Update March 2021

ERUUF has had solar panels for six months now and we’ve learned a lot in this time. The good news is that we have seen a reduction in the energy bill and the system is working well. However, it’s becoming clear that tree shading issues were significantly underestimated by our contractor, and the solar project is now experiencing significantly lower than optimal solar output. In the winter months there is an almost 50% reduction in solar production due to shading, though less in the summer due to sun position, with an annual loss of 30-35% kilowatt hours or about $3,000 per year. This outcome will increase over time as the trees grow.

This brings us to a choice point. In order to live into our ongoing sustainability commitment (read more about ERUUF’s Green Sanctuary Initiative) and to be good stewards of the large solar project (and all the resources it took to build it), we will need to find ways to address the shading issue, both for today and in future years as the trees/shade between the CARE building and the walkway continue to grow.

The Coordinating Team, Garden Team, Earth Justice, Buildings and Grounds, RE, ERUUF staff, Family Preschool and tree experts have all been brought into the conversation. A number of ideas and options have been discussed, all of which have pluses and minuses. The most viable solution involves replacing four large trees with lower growing new trees that grow to a height that does not create future shading issues. While this will create a change, the redesign also opens other opportunities for uses of the area.

Before making a decision, the Coordinating Team would like to hear what our members think about this. And so we invite you to join us to share your thoughts at a special breakout room during zoom Coffee Hour on March 14.

This is one significant way that we can live our values and principles as we help create a sustainable, low carbon future together.

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Sustainable ERUUF (Part 1)

Thank you for helping to expand our compost and recycling efforts on campus. As we continue to live into our commitment to care for the earth, each of us plays a big part in creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. The waste reduction project has made great progress in the past year. Yes, this requires learning new habits and extra planning for events, especially around composting. Please know that your efforts make a difference! The new waste reduction stations in the Fellowship Hall and Care Building are just one part of a larger Green Sanctuary initiative at ERUUF. In addition, we increased our composting collection capacity from 10 gallons a week to 64 gallons a week which we are consistently filling. Furthermore, we have transitioned to compostable dinnerware for large ERUUF sponsored events with food and beverages.

In 2019, results from our composting vendor, Compost Now:

This project addressed the goal of waste reduction identified in the Green Sanctuary initiative with a specific target to reduce our congregational waste by at least 20% by December 2021. In following through on ERUUF's strategic plan, we committed to making an initial investment in critical infrastructure (i.e., a permanent, attractive, commercial collection station, compost collection and signage for the Fellowship Hall), to increase waste diversion through increased composting and recycling. The new waste reduction stations were made possible by a grant from Eno River Fellowship Foundation!

 
Many thanks to Kim Swain, Denise Frizzell, Barbara Welanetz, Daniel Trollinger, Shawn Trimble, and Michele Sager.

Check out upcoming Earth Justice events for Earth and Climate Justice Month 2020.

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Pardon Our Dust

As we roll into the new year you may notice a few improvements on campus. In the past two years almost every roof on campus has been replaced, including half the Care bldg. with a metal roof in preparation for a major solar installation this spring (more info coming soon). There is a new system to support composting and recycling at ERUUF on a larger scale (see revised room use guidelines). There are new low-flow toilets in the Sanctuary bathrooms. Much of the non-routine facilities work is made possible by the Campus Needs Fund which is a result of a special campaign two years ago. 
 
Here is a shout out of appreciation to some the folks responsible for larger projects:
  • New waste stations for Fellowship Hall and Care bldg. (Denise Frizzell, Kim Swain, Barbara Welanetz, Shawn Trimble with funding support from the Foundation)
  • New doors for rear of Commons Room (Peter Romeyn)
  • New window blinds in Rooms 4/5 & 1 (Jean O'Barr)
  • Clean gutters (Glen Jackson)
  • Tree/limb pruning (Jack Romeyn)
  • Redesigned Sanctuary front garden (Beth Harvat, Barbara Beaman, Nancy Henley, Jean O'Barr)
  • Clear sidewalks and lawn mowing (Rick Searles, David Scheidt)
  • New wall coverings for Fellowship Hall (Peter Romeyn, Ed Hoefle, Steve Edgerton, Karli Rabe)
  • New dishwasher in Care bldg. (Chris Egle)
  • New chairs/tables for Sanctuary floor (Jean O'Barr, with funding support from Gallery Committee)
  • New carpet in Sanctuary, Rooms 4/5 & 3 (Peter Romeyn)
Much appreciation to all the hard work of individuals and teams behind the scenes (Buildings and Grounds Team, Garden Team, Janitorial staff, Office staff) in keeping the campus facilities in good shape. It takes a village of volunteers and staff (and even contractors at times) to make this happen. Thank you!
 
If you want to join the fun, the Garden Team usually gathers on the second Saturday of every month from 9-12, and the Buildings and Grounds Team could always use an extra hand for upcoming projects. Contact:

Introducing the New Web Site

Welcome to a new version of the ERUUF web site!

The primary intention is to show the ERUUF community in action, with a focus on the shared ministry teams and values of the fellowship. The invitation is to explore and find your way on the site and in this beloved community.

By design, it is set up to encourage exploration instead of linear mapping. It is searchable, mobile friendly and hopefully more accessible to people who are new to UU and ERUUF.
The site is built with a visual language of pictures and images in addition to text and links. Menus introduce new headings and categories. Pretty much everything on the old site is also on the new site, just in a different organizational pattern. In the future, we plan to add more video components and interactivity with social media.

Features:

  • Visual language (we are always looking for high quality photographs of ERUUF groups and activities)
  • New blog page (reflections from ministers and staff)
  • Emphasis on shared ministries in action
  • Searchable calendar
  • New auto-draft giving portal
  • Mobile friendly

The layout, design, and focus of the new site are all the result of conversations with staff, leaders, and members, combined with ERUUF site analytics and evaluation of web sites of UU congregations and other spiritual communities. In all our research, we could not find any congregation anywhere with as much emphasis on governance and policies as ERUUF seems to hold. As a result, any information in this area, that focuses on "how we organize ourselves," has all been pushed down to the bottom menu. If you are a leader or just policy curious, scroll down to the bottom of any page to find numbers, reports, and governance.
Feedback welcome -  Give Feedback

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Green Sanctuary

Through the fall and early winter ERUUFians took the initial steps toward Green Sanctuary accreditation. Green Sanctuary is a program offered by the UUA to give congregations a pathway of study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges, most notably climate change. It provides a structure for congregations to examine their cur...
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Update on Special Campaign for Facilities Maintenance

The Special Campaign for facilities maintenance concluded Jan 31, 2018 and raised $320,768. The match grant challenge of $250,000 will bring the total to $570,768. The remarkable generosity of the Fellowship will enable ERUUF to care for the campus well into the future. The immediate plan is to pay off the remaining mortgage ($104,000 paid Feb 2018...
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Eno River Fellowship Foundation

Each year, the Eno River Fellowship Foundation (ERFF) awards grants from the endowment for projects that make a significant difference in supporting our ERUUF mission and priorities. We fund creative, seminal initiatives and enrichment of our facilities to fulfill our promises. We request that proposals have a direct link to ERUUF's Strategic Plan ...
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