More About UPC
Last Week's Sermon
Come and See
The Reverend Dr. Margaret Aymer
A Reading from the Gospel of John: The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to …
God’s Plan, Our Hands
God’s Plan, Our Hands…..Building for the Future
UPC’s Master Plan, “God’s Plan, Our Hands….Building for the Future,” focuses on the needs of today, as well as God’s plan for our future. The plan addresses building restoration and maintenance concerns. It also allows for improved ministry to all who enter our doors – through worship, Bible studies, fellowship, Sunday school, and assistance with life in many ways.
Phase 1 Renovation
During the first renovation phase, UPC entered a new era of mission service when we committed to house the Micah 6 Food Pantry. Formerly located at University Baptist Church, Micah 6, supported by twelve university-area congregations, provides food assistance for more than 500 clients each week. The renovation necessary to take on the Micah 6 ministry involved enhancing the lower level of the church to accommodate the pantry and its clients. The project included creating a food storage space, rooms for offices, and a “shopping area” where clients make their food selections. Modifications to an entrance have made for easier food deliveries.
Additionally, the choir room was updated and acoustically improved, and it now includes a new music office. The handbell choir received designated space, and three new adult Sunday School classrooms were created. The nursery and the Sunday School classroom for two-year-olds were updated, and a new room was designated for Bridge to Worship, which ministers to our younger members, three to six years of age.
The largest component of this first phase of work was replacing our HVAC system from a 2-pipe to a 4-pipe system. In doing so, a more efficient heating and cooling system is now in place, with cleaner, fresher air available throughout the facility.
Because mission is central to UPC’s identity, a portion of the money raised in our first capital campaign was sent to our brothers and sisters in the Congo for their own church renovation. Approximately $25,000 needed for repairs to their building was given to the first Presbyterian Church ever built in the Congo, one that was originally completed in 1899.
Phase 2 Renovation
The second phase of renovation began in February 2011. For extensive details on this phase, please view these helpful resources:
During this phase, work was located primarily on the lower level of the church facility, in the kitchen, the Great Hall and North Courtyard.
The original church kitchen was completely restored and updated during this second renovation, and connecting double doors into the Great Hall space were provided. The large kitchen has approximately half of its space designated for “food preparation,” with all new appliances, counter surfaces, and storage areas. The other half of the kitchen was designed for cleaning, with new dishwashers/sinks and a dishwashing system. A stackable washer and dryer as well as storage for mobile food serving tables/stations are also located in this area.
The Great Hall
With one and a half times the space of our current Fellowship Hall, the Great Hall can accommodate the church we are now and the church we hope to become. Acoustics have been improved with the finish-out of the acoustical ceiling, pendant lighting and ceiling fans. The floor was replaced in an effort to create a warm and inviting space for all. Along the east wall of the Great Hall, a large storage area was built out, and three large French window-paned double doors were cut into the north wall of the Great Hall, providing access to the lower level of the North Courtyard space.
An excavated north courtyard allows natural light to flow into the Great Hall, providing an outdoor space for all to enjoy. The “Lower Yard,” which is approximately 37’x36’, connects directly into the Great Hall. This yard provides seating areas and wonderful communal space. The “Upper Yard” features a garden area on the north wall of the courtyard and has a large grassy space and nicely shaded area under the large pecan tree. An integrated sidewalk and ramping system allows full accessibility, so that everyone can enjoy both the upper and lower courtyard spaces.
Construction of an exterior fire escape stair tower connecting from the upper level youth room all the way to the street level was completed in this renovation phase. Also, construction of the accessible ramp and stairs from the main level into the North Courtyard; installation of a chairlift at the main level sanctuary entrance; and finish-out of the lower level north-south corridor were completed.
Additional Renovation Phases
As stewards of a wonderful building located in a growing student and downtown community, we have a responsibility to keep our facility fresh and updated. At the same time, it is important to anticipate the needs of our community, and to make an investment on behalf of those who will come after us. Our future is bright, and more renovation phases will lead us to a completed Master Plan as we obey God’s current calling for us!
Main Level – Lecture Hall/Chapel, Fellowship Center & Library
The Master Plan shows for the current Fellowship Hall to be divided into two distinct areas to more efficiently meet our worship, education, hospitality, and fellowship needs. The revitalized Lecture Hall/Chapel and Fellowship Center, with access to both the central courtyard and the north courtyard, will provide a comfortable, convenient, and well utilized area of the church.
The west side of the current Fellowship Hall, which is most visible to the street, functions as a large adult lecture hall on Sunday mornings, seating up to ninety people. It also serves as a small chapel for more intimate gatherings and Sunday evening worship.
The mid-section of this space remains a Fellowship Center, the logical gathering place for coffee and conversation. Sofas, tables, chairs, and a small kitchen area make the Fellowship Center an attractive and functional space on Sunday mornings and during the week for study, gatherings and small receptions.
UPC is at the center of an increasingly concentrated university population, placing us in a unique position to offer hospitality and to meet the spiritual needs of these students. By creating distinct areas, a chapel for evening service, a fellowship area for studying, and a renovated kitchen for Sunday dinners, UPC will bolster its commitment to “serving Christ at the University of Texas.”
The most eastern side of this space (and behind the kitchen space of the Fellowship Center) will be the new UParlor, a more intimate gathering space for college students to study and relax.
Main Level – Staff Offices – Future Plans
Other changes on the main level include opening all staff members’ offices directly into the hallway. The office manager will be provided with valuable work and storage space, as the current library will be renovated into a work room. The bathrooms will be updated, with the women’s restroom connecting to a “bride’s room.”
Upper Level – Updated & Additional Children’s Classrooms
Building for the future also allows for the “younger church” to be together on the same floor. Beginning with the three- and four-year-old class through the high school class, all youth enjoy enhanced classroom space as well as a place for youth group gatherings. One of these enhancements will be a small kitchen located between the middle and high school rooms at the north end of the upper level, for use by all ages during Sunday School, or to prepare dinner before youth group on Sunday evenings.
An updated performance space, which will be equipped with a large screen, new sound system, and video projector is located in the newly renovated Youth Room on the second level. Youth, college, church and community groups of all ages are able to enjoy movie nights, special video presentations, and drama productions here.
Lower Level – Final Renovations
The last stages of the Master Plan renovation call for an elevator in the south end of the church, accessible from the end of the south hall on the lower level to the narthex and the sanctuary on the main level. This elevator will allow access to the sanctuary via the south entrance; it will give parents easy access to the nursery; and it will alleviate overloading the north elevator when there are events in the Great Hall.
Installation of a small coffee bar and updated bathrooms will complete this space.