Jesse B. Coon Stewardship Award is presented with great appreciation for commitment, dedication, and loving contributions to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley.
"Church is a place where you get to practice what it means to be human," James Luther Adams.
From the acquisition settlement with the Texas Department of Transportation on our former church facility on Wellborn Road, through the long search for the right location, and then through the time-consuming process of designing a new facility that expresses our UU values while meeting our physical requirements, a group of members has worked tirelessly to shepherd us in this quest for a new sacred space.
It started in November, 2016 when the Board of Trustees charged a team to act on behalf of the congregation to secure a property and to design or reconfigure a structure to meet our present and future needs. At first, with all the commercial real estate “For Sale” signs in the area, as well as other properties listed on commercial websites, it seemed like an easy enough task. Upon further investigation, many sites were too small, unaffordable, too distant, had utility or easement problems, or a host of other drawbacks. There was also the question of which general location, Bryan, College Station, or in outer Brazos County, would work best for us.
Over a period of two years, team members traipsed through overgrown fields and thick jungle-like growth, visited abandoned buildings, scanned satellite maps, queried engineers and local officials, and deliberated among themselves as they considered literally dozens of potential properties. Several prospective sites were promising enough to investigate much more deeply, including a dentist office, a tract on the far south side of College Station, a former bank and others that were either found to have serious hidden problems or were withdrawn from sale.
Finally, a wooded site on 29th Street in Bryan was purchased and the difficult process of planning a building and landscaping began. As the design process with our architectural partner geared up, contingencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and the team had to learn new ways of working together remotely. Once designs were near finalization, material availability and price issues, again caused by the international health emergency, sent everyone back to the drawing board.
While over time the composition of the Sacred Space Team has varied slightly, most have been on the committee since the beginning while others contributed a great deal to this mission.
We are forever indebted to the congregants who have worked tirelessly, given their time generously, and applied their talents liberally to this ongoing project. For these reasons and many more, the Board of Trustees presents the Jesse Coon Award to the entire Sacred Space Team – current and former members:
Kathy Wheeler, Chair
Mary Bryan, realtor and former member
Sue Bloomfield, former member