Union Chapel Building Project Update, November 2021

Architect rendering of the creation of a new entrance vestibule with glass doors across from the Ferguson window will increase a sense of arrival and welcome.

In March 2021, with our building closed due to COVID, the Trustees decided to tackle a project long-recognized as in need of attention: the remediation of asbestos flooring throughout Union Chapel. The project required packing up everything in the building and even tearing out the kitchen to reach the flooring beneath the cabinets. Once the asbestos had been removed, we discovered another problem: the concrete slab beneath the floor of the office and classroom wing was sagging, having been built on sand instead of gravel. And then in April, our minister of six years, the Rev. Candace Whitman, accepted a new call to a church on Long Island and concluded her ministry on Memorial Day weekend.

The challenges of this transition felt daunting, but our faith tells us that new life is always around the corner and we trusted that to be true. We formed a Building Committee and recruited BD architect Sam Fitzgerald and the team at BD (thank you Jay and Harland and your terrific crews) to help us not only put our building back together again but to consider how to make it better – more welcoming, more light-filled, more functional. With the help of some of the supply preachers who visited us this summer, we also recognized the need to update the Parsonage and make it a more attractive and comfortable home for our next pastor, so we added a Phase 3 to the project plan (2022/23, if funding permits). We pressed hard in September to get a new floor in place and the Sanctuary painted in time to host a memorial service for Frank Burr, a long-time summer member. We are part way through Phase 2 of our project, and we can see both all that we have accomplished and all that lies ahead.

In Phase 1, with the asbestos flooring gone, the BD team injected “flowable fill” beneath the concrete slab to support the classroom and office wing. They then leveled the floors with epoxy; installed new “Marmoleum” tile flooring throughout the building; and painted the Sanctuary. Phase 2 began with a major upgrade to our HVAC system. Next up is the creation of a new entrance vestibule with glass doors across from the Ferguson window, which will increase a sense of arrival and welcome. We will also install a new kitchen; remodel the Fellowship Hall with a large window and window seat and paint the full interior of the building.  The work recognizes that Union Chapel plays many roles, from worship services to community suppers; weddings, and funerals to senior luncheons.  Our intention with this project is to support all of the ways the Chapel contributes to the community.

We are very encouraged by early, generous gifts to support this work from donors who recognize the importance of Union Chapel to the spiritual and relational health of the island community, particularly the year-round population. To date, we have raised over $400,000 toward a goal of $630,000.  We invite gifts of every size and welcome pledges paid over two years.

If you have questions about the project, all members of the Building Committee would be delighted to discuss it with you: Susie Brinckerhoff, David Burnham, Anita Fritze, Louise Burnham Packard (Chair), and Tim Patterson.  Questions about ways of giving (DAF and IRA gifts, gifts of securities, ACH, etc.) can be directed to Louise at 781-405-9350 or louise.packard@gmail.com.

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