Cleveland staff gets sneak peek at new offices in historic UCC neighborhood
Employees of the United Church of Christ’s national ministries got an early look at their new workplace March 14.
With floor plans in hand, they toured spaces under construction at 1300 E. 9th Street in downtown Cleveland.
The future 11th-floor UCC offices were visible only in outline. Metal studs and drywall formed skeletons of a reception area, offices, conference rooms, “huddle spaces,” a place for worship, and more.
Sunlight from windows on every side illuminated the series of small-group tours. General Minister and President John Dorhauer served as tour guide, as seen in the accompanying video.
Historic UCC district
The decision to sell the national ministries’ 32-year home at 700 Prospect Avenue came in 2021. As a result, the UCC will soon move into leased space in a neighborhood rich in the church’s own history.
Just out the window to the west is the Public Auditorium and Music Hall complex. There the UCC was formed in 1957, when the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church held their Uniting General Synod.
Connected to the “1300” office building is the Westin Cleveland Downtown, the hotel where people will now stay for UCC Board and other meetings. It has plenty of UCC history, too.
Known in the past as the Bond Court, the Sheraton and the Crowne Plaza, it was a key lodging place for delegates to General Synods held in Cleveland in 1987 and 2015. And it hosted simultaneous 1999 meetings of nine UCC governing bodies. That was when directors of former UCC “instrumentalities” voted to combine themselves into four Covenanted Ministries. With the consent of the 1999 General Synod, that structure took effect in 2000 — and since has been even further modified.
Aiming to move in May
In addition to offices on the 11th floor, the national ministries will have space in the basement for UCC Resources and a video studio. Joining the Covenanted Ministries on 11 will be the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries and the Open and Affirming Coalition. The Church Building & Loan Fund and the Cornerstone Fund will be on the 16th floor.
In a construction update during an online staff meeting March 9, Dorhauer tentatively estimated that staff would begin to move in to their new offices sometime in May. On March 13, they and the whole church had a chance to say goodbye to 700 Prospect Avenue in a special online worship service live from the Amistad Chapel.
As Dorhauer noted in a webinar discussing the move, the decision was made for reasons much greater than the “spectacular views” the new offices afford. “The real message here is focus on your mission, and make sure, as good stewards, that every resource you have is currently serving the mission,” he said in the “Ministry on the Move” webinar. “And if it’s not, find a way to repurpose it for the sake of the mission. That’s what this has been about.”
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