Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Woodstock Unitarian Universalists OK Move to McHenry

The church home of congregation since 1905
Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Woodstock (CUCW) overwhelmingly voted on Sunday to approve a planned move from the city to property on Bull Valley Road near Rt. 31 in the City of McHenry.  They also approved the sale of their current church building to the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple.

Gathered as the First Congregational Church of Woodstock in 1865, the congregation became affiliated with the Universalist Church in America in the 1930’s and is now a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA.

The church building at Dean and South Streets, the congregation’s second on that site, has been a Woodstock landmark since its construction in 1905-06.

The new church property, which has been donated to the congregation by a generous member, is the former Haystacks Manor Restaurant sitting on about three and a half acres.  The congregation voted in July to accept the donation of the property and assess how best to use it.  The building has been inspected, volunteers have been cleaning up the property which has been vacant for some years, and repairs are either underway or being planned.

The congregational vote was contingent upon receiving special use zoning by the McHenry City Council.  Church President Kathe Lacy-Anderson represented the congregation on Monday night as the Council approved the variance.  The donor will now complete the transfer of title to the church.

The Blue Lotus Temple has long been associated with the church and has held weekly meditation services there for several years.  The congregation is pleased to see that old friends will continue to use their beloved building.  The sale is expected to close by December 31.  Under the terms of the agreement, the UU congregation will be able to continue to hold worship services at the Dean Street building until they can physically complete the move to McHenry sometime next year.

Meanwhile repairs to the building and ground, parking lot striping, and landscaping at the new property are on-going.  Architects are being interviewed to plan the renovation of the building into a worship space and an active church building. 

The congregation will be consulting with its many community partners to help find accommodations for programs and activities that have used the church building in Woodstock.

Worship services, religious education, and church programs will continue at Dean Street until the final move.

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