The South Lake Union neighborhood is changing all around us. How does Seattle Unity want to meet these changes?
In 2012, we began a serious look at this topic.
This was then discussed at our annual meeting on February 10th.
The Seattle Unity Visioning Group spent much time, thought, discussion, and work on the project over the year.
At our final 2013 congregational meeting on December 8th (nobly led by long-time congregant and former Board member Scott Caldwell), the Board and Seattle Unity Visioning Group presented a proposal which, in their determination, provides us the maximum benefit and control in regards to our new facility. It gives us direct control in the decision-making for its design and construction. This proposal was for Seattle Unity to sell the north portion of our property outright, retaining about a third of the land bordering on Denny Park, on which to construct our new church facility.
We are beginning a journey as a congregation to re-imagining Seattle Unity. Our beloved and aging building no longer quite fits who we are now as a congregation, and its ongoing maintenance is becoming prohibitive. Over the last year, the Board asked you what was important to you; what you preferred to do for the future. The majority choice was overwhelmingly to stay in this location and redevelop the property. The proposed new building will be a manifestation of what we envision we are called to be [echoing Rev Karen’s year-long theme]. We are building Seattle Unity for the 21st century.
This will involve not just conceptual visioning, but very careful, thoughtful and concrete planning–we all will need to step up and perform in ways we haven’t been called to do before. It is a once-in-a-century opportunity.
This is major – to ensure the work entailed happens efficiently, there will need to be a mix of high-level decision-making [Board, Staff and Seattle Unity Visioning group] along with a lot of congregational input at key points along the way.
Ultimate decisions about how we move forward regarding our property and our new building will be made by the voting members of the congregation.
The key next step: members of the congregation will vote at February’s Annual Meeting (Feb. 9th, 2014) on whether to proceed with the proposal to split our property, putting the north portion up for sale in order to finance the building of a new Seattle Unity facility on the southernmost portion. Funding for the new building will NOT be coming from a bank loan or from the congregation – it will come from the sale of the north portion. Look for additional information about why the Board and SUV have proposed to split the property in advance of the vote at the Annual Meeting.
If that is approved, congregation will be invited to provide input, ideas and good thinking about what the building should look like, feel like, and have room for. There will be a dynamic discussion with architects about this over the next year or more.
Change like this can be unsettling and can lead to conflict between well-intentioned people. It might be useful for us all to remember the essence of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ángel Ruiz as we go through this process:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions [assume good intentions on the part of someone you are disagreeing with].
- Always do your best.
Over the next month or so, the Board and Seattle Unity Visioning Group will be working on a more comprehensive way to keep the congregation informed of what is happening, (this blog is a part of that) and we will let you know more about this as they develop it.