Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands



Author Avianca Bouchedid, Written Dec 12, 2014


Access Project Update
Things are happening at a very quick pace with the UUCSH Accessibility addition and renovation project. This week, the crew started on framing the classrooms in Fellowship Hall, worked on the roof, and are breaking down the wall between the addition and the existing building.
Parking: The UUCSH rear parking lot is now open. Exercise caution, as it is a construction zone. The side lot is still reserved for people with mobility issues who need close access to the side door. Please save those few spaces for those that need them.
For families with young children: Starting this Sunday, December 14, we are unable to offer an enclosed nursery space for at least the remainder of December.
The rear stairs in Fellowship Hall were removed yesterday. Due to Fire Code regulations, we cannot exceed 49 people on the first level of the building because there is only one exit (the front stairs). We are told this situation will last about 5 weeks.
What does this mean for us?
• The staff can continue to work in their offices. However, due to noise level staff sometimes may be working offsite. We recommend you please call ahead.
• We can continue to hold regularly-scheduled meetings in Fellowship Hall. Access to Fellowship Hall is by the front stairs.
• We will not be able to have Coffee Hour after Sunday services until at least the middle of January. Folks interested in fellowship after services can connect with Elizabeth Schulz, Tammy Ludwigsen, or Jen Kitchen.
• We cannot have our traditional Cider and Cookies event between the 4:30pm and 6:30pm Christmas Eve services.
What will happen this Sunday?
• The pageant rehearsal will be held UPSTAIRS in the Sanctuary. Pageant participants should be on the lookout for an email from Caryn Phillips.
• Our worship service will be held DOWNSTAIRS in Fellowship Hall.
• Adults are asked to meet downstairs for service. If you have mobility concerns navigating the stairs, please ask the board greeter for assistance.
• Children will go directly to the sanctuary. We ask that if you have a young child in the pageant, one parent or guardian should remain with them in the sanctuary.
What about the UUCSH Cookie Covenant?
Our congregation has a long and proud tradition of sharing cookies on Christmas Eve. It represents community, diversity, sharing, and love. We will uphold this tradition, though in a slightly different way this year.
• Members and friends of UUCSH are asked to BRING COOKIES to the December 21 UUCSH Sunday service.
• Bring your cookies on a plate or in a container that you do not care about getting returned to you (i.e., disposable). Please label any cookies that are gluten-free or nut-free.
• There will be a labeled bin in the foyer to gently place your cookies in.
• On Christmas Eve, each family will receive a bag of UUCSH cookies, packed with love by some UUCSH Christmas elves.
Christmas Eve Services
• Two services will be held–at 4:30pm and 6:30pm. The earlier service is designed as a worship experience for all ages; the later service is a traditional meditative service.
• The UUCSH adult choir will perform at the 6:30pm service.
• We will sing Silent Night by candlelight in front of the church following each of the services.
• Between the two services, from 5:45-6:15pm, you are invited and encouraged to join Will Magalio and our guest musicians for both traditional and popular Christmas carol singing in the Sanctuary!
• If possible leave the UUCSH parking lot spaces for those with mobility challenges. Parking may be at a bit of a premium on East Cliff Street an nearby streets on Christmas Eve.
Although we are pleased to report that the Access project is still on budget, the congregation is making two significant expenditures for capital improvements (outside of the scope of the Access project) that we didn’t realize were necessary until the Access project began. The roof needed to be replaced on the church building, and the 35-year old boiler that provides heat to the first floor will need to be replaced as soon as possible. The total cost of these two expenses is just under $22,000. The money is coming from our reserves, what we call Working Capital. Contributions to replenish working capital funds will be greatly appreciated. Please ask a Board Member if you have questions.

As always, please check the Access Project blog and your email before coming to the church, in the event of any disruptions that may occur. Direct any questions to Paul Smith (

Thank you,
Nadine Kadell Sapirman