On Saturday, September 10, 2022, the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship had a Grand Opening and Dedication of their new building at 2900 Bridges Street, Morehead City. This was indeed a very special occasion, considering this small congregation of only 80 members was able to raise over $1 million (including the sale of their former church building) to finally carry out their vision – of a larger space, a more visible space, to grow and offer more outreach into the community. The process took over five years, locating a suitable property and two separate fund drives to cover costs that continued to increase during the construction.
There were many speakers, including Morehead’s Mayor Jerry Jones, who recalled fondly when the congregation had bought the former church building on Evans and 13th street in 1993, which had previously been his grandmother’s church, and had been empty for a while. He also remembered when Sally White, the first full-time minister, and Ann Odell, the first music director (both recently retired), came to town. The UCF choir debuted a song written by the church’s accompanist, Meganne Smith, called “We Need One Another”.
Another speaker was Susan Fetzer, Board of Trustees President and the only remaining founding member, who recalls seeing an ad in 1980 in the Carteret News-Times, asking if there were any “UU’s” in the area. She responded to the ad, and the rest is history This small congregation has grown to be a strong presence in Carteret County, focusing on many social justice and environmental issues, as well as providing spiritual enrichment. The principles of Unitarian Universalism include the inherent worth and dignity of all; justice, equity, and compassion; the free and responsible search for truth and meaning in our lives; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Marilynn Cullison, Chair of the Worship Committee, was the Emcee for the event and Guerry Willis and Joe Naset, co-chairs of the Building Team gave an overview of all that went into creating our new and beautiful campus.
Following the ribbon-cutting, everyone congregated in the Social Hall for more visiting and sharing refreshments and drinks!