New church opens in downtown Grand Junction
Special to the Free Press
After 55 years of inhabiting homes, other churches, and even the desert, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley (UU) will open the doors of its new church to the community on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7. The completely renovated building (536 Ouray Ave.) was last known as the Rio Grande Credit Union, located just north of the downtown library.
“It’s like we’ve been wandering in the desert for 40 years and finally found an oasis — our home,” said Shari Daly-Miller, the church’s children’s religious education director. “I’ve been with this congregation since 1996, and I am so glad that we finally have a place to call our own.”
On Saturday, a UU Open House with a barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. offers building tours, children’s crafts, a popcorn machine and a Bump ‘n Jump. On Sunday, the community is invited to the traditional fall in-gathering service, with a water ceremony, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Child care will be provided.
“Every Sunday morning we begin our worship service with the words, ‘You are welcome here, no matter your age, your size, how you speak or whom you love,” said Rev. Wendy Jones, UU’s congregational minister. “As a faith community we really value our inclusiveness of race, gender, and theological creed.
“Now, what I’m truly excited about is that with our new building we can bring those words to life through action. Not only can we open our hearts, but we can also literally open our doors to the community and say, ‘You are welcome here!’”
In fall, 2013, Mesa County Public Libraries sold the building, originally built over 30 years ago as a teachers’ credit union, to the church. UU member Gary Poush, head of a local green building company, Serra Construction, Inc., spearheaded the project.
“We put together a design build team, an aesthetics and functionality team in September, and our demolition team started almost immediately,” he explained. “By the end of December the plans were ready to go, and construction began in early January.”
The new building will host a wide variety of both UU and community events, and is also available for rent. Peg Oswald, UU choir director, and Kathleen Kuh will host two music series open to the community in 2014-2015.
The UU church hosts sermons by the Rev. Wendy Jones twice a month, and also opens the pulpit to a wide range of lay sermons from members as well as guest speakers from the community and further afield.
For information about the new UU church, contact Rev. Wendy Jones, email@example.com, or call the UUs at 970-257-0772.
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Tucked into an overgrowth of sage south of Sopris Elementary School along Airport Road, two dilapidated, concrete walls raise new questions about the Cardiff town site.